Lesle-Ann George stepped off the plane and into action in Dublin Wednesday, as SA lost 0-5 to a dominent London 2012-primed Australian outfit. Photo: Afsar Beg

Exactly 24 hours after their 2-2 draw in a practice match against India, the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team went down 5-0 to Australia Wednesday night in another warm-up match ahead of the Champions Challenge tournament which starts in Dublin Saturday.

“All field goals, Australia were deserved winners,” said SA head coach Giles Bonnet. “They have a very similar team to London

[Olympics] and have been preparing for four weeks for this event; should be the team to watch here.”

SA drew with India against a full 18-player complement of 11 on the field plus seven rolling subs, while the girls in green and gold only had 13 to rely on, so fatigue was a factor against Australia, plus the vastly experienced Tarryn Bright and Lenise Marais have still to arrive (Thursday and Friday) while Lesle-Ann George and Jade Mayne stepped off the plane straight into the fray against the Hockeyroos of Oz.

“We could have made more of the scoring opportunities we had,” said Bonnet. “Their goals came from our errors; three times possession was lost in the 23-metre defensive zone and punished with goals, and two rebound goals from errors in clearing.”

“We are busy with the structures and the implementation; particularly defensive pressure, counters from this position, deep defence and out-letting. With so many changes, this is a fast-track process to get the group understanding what is required. We expect these areas to be better understood and implemented this morning against Scotland today [Thursday].”

Bonnet said the learning curve is sharp and once the structures have improved there would be a marked improvement in performance.

The atmosphere is excellent and the energy in the team very positive, and the team is hungry to put in place these important structures,” the former SA men’s captain and coach added.

 

Warm-Up Matches Fixtures and Results:
Tue 25 Sep: SA 2-2 India
Wed 26 Sep: SA 0-5 Australia
Thu 27 Sep: SA vs Scotland