The South Africa women’s hockey team’s head coach Giles Bonnet will be looking to the final tour ahead of London 2012 to perfect the side’s direct game plan.
Captain Marsha Marescia’s team play unofficial Tests against world number one and reigning Olympic Games champions Holland in Arnhem beginning Thursday, before taking on world number four Great Britain in London and then heading to Bremen in Germany, to play the hosts, New Zealand and Belgium – who will all be at London 2012 – in a Four Nations event.
“We introduced a very direct style of play in the five-Test series against Scotland in Glasgow last time out and continued at the Investec London Cup,” said Bonnet ahead of the team flying to Amsterdam late Tuesday night.
“This brought many scoring chances and penalty corners. We will be working hard to perfect this style. Linked to this will be a control game, which we will introduce on this tour in July.
“This we have not shown yet. The control game still allows us to manage offensive pressure and guide teams into areas we are confident of playing in, and this is a key approach from us as a team; we wish to counter at all times pressure with pressure.”
Bonnet said that in the games against GB and Holland (four unofficial Test matches in all) the team will introduce new tactics and test these, as both teams are not in SA’s pool at London 2012, “and this gives us a great moment to finally test aspects we will introduce against Argentina and Germany (in the pool stage in London)”.
“We have spent a lot of time to create top-quality matches in our preparation period and since the Investec Cup (June 5) we will play nine matches against world-class teams, all of whom have ambitions to play for medals in London.”
Bonnet said that all teams have their full selections now and he wishes to see that SA can compete statistically in these games, that the team’s penalty corners are effective, that they do not get exposed on speed and that in a very tough 12-day training and match (seven games) schedule on tour that the team are competitive in the final 10 minutes of all games.
Over these objectives is the individual form of each player,” the coach said. “If we can achieve these objectives, they will generate a lot of confidence in our approach to the final nine-day preparation in London before our first game against Argentina on July 29.
“The final result (in matches on tour) is not material at this stage of the preparation.”
Team South Africa: Mariette Rix Kate Woods Tarryn Bright Kathleen Taylor Shelley Russell Illse Davids Lauren Penny (Western Province) Dirkie Chamberlain Nicolene Terblanche Sanani Mangisa (Northern Blues) Marsha Marescia (capt) Pietie Coetzee Lisa Deetlefs Bernie Coston (Southern Gauteng) Jen Wilson Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders) Lesle-Ann George (Free State) Sulette Damons (North West) Management: Giles Bonnet (head coach) Les Galloway (manager) Fabian Gregory (assistant coach) Carla Lodewijks (physio) Adrian Carolan (video) Phil Estourgie (specialist trainer) Sheldon Rostron (goalkeeper coach) Gijs Ten Kate (peak performance coach) Jan Stappenbelt (physical trainer) SA pre-Olympics matches (SA times): 5 July 16:00 SA vs Holland 6 July 11:00 SA vs Holland 9 July 12:00 SA vs Great Britain 10 July 19:00 SA vs Great Britain 12 July 19:45 SA vs Germany 14 July 16:00 SA vs New Zealand 15 July 12:00 SA vs Belgium 25 July SA vs Japan 27 July SA vs China