Giles Bonnet’s Investec South Africa women’s hockey team take on world number 2 Argentina in a five-Test series in Mar del Plata, 400km from Buenos Aires, offering the world no. 11 team another stage in their build-up to a much-coveted medal placing at the Commonwealth Games, which takes place in Glasgow from 24 July to 3 August.
In their recent home series against the world number 16 European team, where Scotland had five of their Great Britain players missing in the recent 5-0 series blank at the hands of the SA women in Pretoria, SA were also without several big names, a total of eight players who would have challenged strongly for inclusion.
The players missing effectively cancelled each other out and much of the interest in that series was in seeing how those selected would step up to the plate – and in this South Africa were markedly better.[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]
The Scots’ coach Gordon Shepherd was impressed with what he saw. “It’s the best South African team I have seen. Some tremendous players, a very fast team,” he said of a side he had last encountered in a series in Edinburgh some time ago.
“South Africa’s number seven has been absolutely outstanding in midfield,” Shepherd said of Western Province’s Illse Davids.
Among a host of other SA players who distinguished themselves against Scotland, young striker Lilian du Plessis and high-energy attacking defender/midfielder Nicolene Terblanche caught the eye.
Superstar SA leader and midfield general Marsha Cox is back for the Mar del Plata series, but other big names are sitting out, including triple Olympian and world record Test match goalscorer, Pietie Coetzee.
Argentina’s Las Leonas (Lionesses) are studded with world-class players in multiple World Player of the Year Luciana Aymar; as well as pacy, exciting young striker Agustina Albertario; experienced penalty corner drag-flicker Noel Barrionuevo and the likes of Silvina D’elia; Carla Rebecchi and Daniela Sruoga.
Fixtures of the Argentina vs South Africa 5-Test Match series (SA times): 23 Feb 01:40am: Argentina vs Investec South Africa 24 Feb 01:40am: Argentina vs Investec South Africa 25 Feb: Rest Day 26 Feb 01:40am: Argentina vs Investec South Africa 27 Feb: Rest Day 28 Feb 01:40am: Argentina vs Investec South Africa 29 Feb 01:40am: Argentina vs Investec South Africa Las Leonas Squad: Luciana Aymar Laura Aladro Agustina Albertario Noel Barrionuevo Martina Cavallero Silvina D’elia Julia Gomes Fantasia Agustina Habif Florencia Habif Giselle Juarez Rosario Luchetti Delfina Merino Florencia Mutio Carla Rebecchi Macarena Rodriguez Pilar Romang Mariana Rossi Rocio Sanchez Mariela Scarone Daniela Sruoga Josefina Sruoga Belen Succi Investec South Africa: Phumelela Mbande Anelle van Deventer Lisa Deetlefs Marcelle Manson Quanita Bobbs Nicolene Terblanche Marsha Cox Shelley Russell Tarryn Bright Bernie Coston Kathleen Taylor Illse Davids Jade Mayne Dirkie Chamberlain Lilian du Plessis Celia Evans Tanya Britz Sulette Damons Candice Manuel Kelly Madsen
Main photo caption: The Investec SA women’s hockey team have arrived in Mar del Plata, Argentina, for their 5-Test series against world no.2 Las Leonas, ahead of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July. In this file photo, Illse Davids drew high praise from Scotland head coach Gordon Shepherd, during South Africa’s five-Test series whitewash of the Scots in Pretoria. Photo: Lucas Jansen van Vuuren
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