Hot on the heels of their 2-1 series victory over Belgium in Cape Town, the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team take on Scotland in five Test matches from Friday to next Wednesday at Tshwane University of Technology hockey stadium in Pretoria.
With the need to strengthen the player base, several of South Africa’s most seasoned players have been left out of this leg of head coach Giles Bonnet’s 2014 campaign that has as its highlights the World Cup and Commonwealth Games.
“This stage is to be in two parts,” said Bonnet. “The first four days, and two unofficial matches, are a selection for the five-Test series that follows. In turn, the players who perform in the five Test matches against Scotland will give themselves a good chance of being selected for the Argentina tour that follows Scotland.”
Directly after the fifth Test against the Scots next Wednesday, February 19, the South Africans fly out to Argentina to play a five-Test series against the world’s second-ranked team in Mar del Plata before returning home on March 2.
Scotland head coach Gordon Shepherd will be without Ali Bell, Amy Gibson, Nikki Kidd, Emily Maguire and Morag McLellan, who are unavailable due to commitments with the Great Britain squad.
This should offset SA being without triple Olympians in captain Marsha Cox and world record Test match goalscorer Pietie Coetzee, as well as the likes of double Olympians Tarryn Bright, Shelley Russell, Lenise Marais and Sanani Mangisa.
Shepherd said he is looking forward to seeing his side, “tested against a top world nation. However, I have no doubt we will test them in equal measure, and I’m looking forward to the matches.”
Investec South Afriva vs Scotland International Series: Tue 11 Feb (7pm): First Unofficial test match (HPC, Pretoria) Wed 12 Feb (3pm): First Unofficial test match (HPC, Pretoria) Official Test matches: Fri 14 Feb (6.30pm): 1st Test (TUT, Pretoria) Sat 15 Feb (3pm): 2nd Test (TUT, Pretoria) Sun 16 Feb (3pm): 3rd Test (TUT, Pretoria) Tue 18 Feb (6.30pm): 4th Test (TUT, Pretoria) Wed 19 Feb (1.30pm): 5th Test (TUT, Pretoria) The Investec South Africa Squad: Phume Mbande Anelle van Deventer Hanli Hattingh Nicolene Terblanche Erin Hunter (subject to medical clearance) Kaila Flemming Christine Roos Kelly Madsen Illse Davids Jade Mayne Toni Marks Tarryn Glasby (subject to medical clearance) Candice Manuel Sam Prost Tanya Britz Izelle Lategan Lisa Deetlefs Sulette Damons Lilian du Plessis Celia Evans Kathleen Taylor (last 4 Test matches) Marcelle Manson (last 4 Test matches) Carmen Smith (awaiting clearance from university) Scotland: Jennifer Eadie Nicola Cochrane Vikki Bunce Becky Ward Amy Brodie Catriona Ralph Samantha Judge Sarah Robertson Holly Cram Linda Clement Ailsa Wyllie Kareena Marshall Leigh Fawcett Rebecca Merchant Susan McGilveray Nicola Lloyd Maisie Morris Alison Howie Nicola Skrastin Aileen Davis Kirsten McIntosh Robyn Collins Heather Elder
Photo caption: Goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande, standing up to the challenge in the absence of first-choice keeper Sanani Mangisa, is in the SA squad to face Scotland. Photo: Plate Pictures
(With editing by gsport)