The world number 12 Investec South Africa women’s hockey team’s Investec London Cup matches against world number four Great Britain and world number three Germany will be broadcast televised live on SuperSport 6, on Tuesday (5.30 pm) and Wednesday (9 pm) (SA times).
Great Britain are regarded by SA head coach Giles Bonnet as a serious contender for the London 2012 Olympic Games gold medal.
SA played friendlies against GB at the splendid 16 000-seater Riverbank Arena in Olympic Park as well as at the hosts’ state-of-the art Bisham Abbey training centre in London last week and Bonnet was generally impressed. “GB are in very good physical condition and if they put it together sufficiently well I think they could play in the final,” said Bonnet.
Germany, a similarly well-organised team, are not ranked third in the world for nothing and will present an interesting challenge for SA, as the Germans are in South Africa’s pool at the Olympics.
SA were without superstars and double Olympians, the world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee (238 goals in 241 Test matches), and Kate Woods, while GB were resting stellar players in forward Alex Danson and penalty corner star Crista Cullen. GB won the matches 5-1 and 3-0 after SA had had an uncomfortable journey to London. Even so, the scores were not a fair reflection of the matches as SA had as many goalscoring opportunities as the British.
SA then travelled to Glasgow and a five-Test series against world number 18 Scotland that was incorporated into a punishing week of training ahead of London 2012, which starts in less than two months’ time. Coetzee and Woods missed the first three matches, where SA drew 2-2 with the competitive Scots before beating them 2-1 and 4-2.
Coetzee (four goals in the fourth Test) and Woods made a big impression in the last two matches, which SA won and 5-2 and 4-1. Scotland head coach Gordon Shepherd was impressed with the overall speed of the SA players. Scotland were missing their four GB squad members.
Bonnet was similarly enthused by the overall play of the South Africans. “The style of play we are working on is starting to bear fruit and it is heartening to see the number of goal shots we are creating, as well as the limited number of chances the opposition are getting.”
The Investec London Cup, a six-nation event that also includes world number one Holland, Australia and Ireland, takes place at the Old Memorial Ground in Chiswick, London.
SuperSport also indicated that if SA reached the semi-finals, room would be made to accommodate the match, albeit, a few hours after the actual match would take place. The final, whether SA get there or not, will be live on SuperSport 6 next Sunday, June 12 at 5 pm.
Investec London Cup Fixtures: Tuesday 5 June: 14:00 Netherlands v Australia 16:30 Great Britain v South Africa (Televised SS6 live 5.30 pm) (SA times) Wednesday 6 June: 17:30 Australia v Ireland 20:00 South Africa v Germany (Televised SS6 live 9 pm) Thursday 7 June: 17:30 Ireland v Netherlands 20:00 Germany v Great Britain Saturday 9 June: 14:30 Semi Final 1 17:00 Semi Final 2 Sunday 10 June: 10:30 Fifth/Sixth Playoff 13:30 Bronze Medal Playoff 16:00 Final (Televised SS6 live 5pm)
South Africa: Sanani Mangisa Mariette Rix Illse Davids Marsha Marescia (capt) Shelley Russell Dirkie Chamberlain Lisa Deetlefs Jen Wilson Lesle-Ann George Nicolene Terblanche Lenise Marais Kathleen Taylor Bernie Coston Tarryn Bright Sulette Damons Kate Woods Pietie Coetzee Lauren Penny