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Izelle Lategan © Plate Pictures

SA hockey women outplay Aussies

World No 6 and 2012 Champions Challenge winners Australia were beaten 4-0 by the world’s 11th-ranked Investec South African women’s hockey team after trailing 2-0 at halftime in the unofficial test match at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Superb flat-stick tackling, with defenders Lisa Deetlefs and Lenise Marais particularly outstanding, stymied the Hockeyroos’ quick-fire attacks for the most part - and the result was that SA dominated the game.

The reward was a rebound goal by SA U21 captain Izelle Lategan in the eighth minute from her team’s second penalty corner. Then it was the irresistible world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee (258 goals in 258 tests) who eschewed her trademark drag-flick for a conventional shot that smashed into the backboard in the 23rd minute off South Africa’s eighth penalty corner (2-0).

After the halftime changeover Coetzee – enjoying a dream summer – cracked a pinpoint 25-metre diagonal pass from the left touchline that found the ever-threatening Mayne, who was at last rewarded for her efforts with a nifty finish from inside the six-yard box (3-0).

With four minutes left - and from SA’s umpteenth penalty corner of the match - Dirkie Chamberlain finished off a goalmouth scramble for the 4-0 scoreline.

Australia’s Hockeyroos had their chances but SA stopper Sanani Mangisa repelled everything that came her way from the likes of Georgia Nanscawen, Teneal Attard and Casey Eastham, while on another day Mangisa’s teammates, including Deetlefs and Bernie Coston, might have scored a bagful more.

While SA had reigned supreme in the first half, the second was fairly even with both sides experiencing golden moments in front of goal. Mangisa and her counterparts Rachael Lynch (first half) and Ashlee Wells (second) all played their part in keeping the scoreline down in what was an action-packed match.

It was a superb effort by SA, who were accurate in just about every detail and had clearly done their homework analysing the video of the 1-0 defeat that could have gone their way in the Champions Challenge event in Dublin, Ireland almost four months ago.

The victory also bodes well for South Africa’s chances against the Hockeyroos when the teams next meet - in the Investec Challenge at Hartleyvale on February 5 - but you can be sure the girls from Down Under will be scrutinising the video of Tuesday night’s match in minute detail in an effort to ensure that the tables will be turned.

The second round of unofficial test matches in preparation for the prestigious Investec Challenge event, which kicks off next Monday, will see world No 1 and 2012 London Olympic Games gold medallists Holland taking on SA at 8pm on Thursday (January 31) preceded by world No 4 and London Olympic Games bronze medallists England (as Great Britain) tackling the Australian Hockeyroos at 6pm.


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