3 July 2012

South Africa: SA Hockey Women on Pre-Olympic Tour

The South Africa women's hockey team flies to Amsterdam on Tuesday night for a packed and challenging final tour before the London 2012 Olympic Games.

It will be a gruelling trip with seven test matches against London 2012 teams in three different countries. There will also be 28 hours of training sessions in between the matches.

They players recently completed a 17-day physical training phase in Johannesburg and Cape Town under the guidance of the team's Dutch physical trainer Jan Stappenbelt.

World number one

Starting on Thursday, coach Giles Bonnet's team will play two unofficial test matches against world number one and reigning Beijing 2008 Olympic Games champions the Netherlands in Arnhem.

After that, there are two unofficial tests against world number four and 2012 Champions Trophy silver medallists Great Britain in London.

The Great Britain games will take place at their training centre, Bisham Abbey, as the Olympic Games facilities are now in lockdown; that was why South Africa played Great Britain on the Olympic pitch in an unofficial test in their first match of their May/June tour and also had two training sessions there.

Four Nations

After the Great Britain matches, captain Marsha Marescia's team heads to Bremen and a Four Nations series of official test matches against hosts and world number three Germany, world number six New Zealand and world number 16 Belgium. The last match takes place on 15 July.

After the Belgium test match in Bremen, the team flies back to South Africa to join up with the Team South Africa contingent of athletes that is heading to London shortly after their return.

Bonnet is planning on two training games once the players are settled in the Olympic Village, against world number nine Japan on 25 July and world number five China on 27 July at the Riverbank Arena, the official Olympic Games hockey stadium.

At a collective 2 000-plus test caps, this is undoubtedly the most well-prepared and experienced South African team in history and, given their full programme of preparation it will be interesting to see how their results compare with past Olympic Games.


Mariette Rix, Kate Woods, Tarryn Bright, Kathleen Taylor, Shelley Russell, Illse Davids, Lauren Penny (all Western Province); Dirkie Chamberlain, Nicolene Terblanche, Sanani Mangisa (all Northern Blues); Marsha Marescia (capt), Pietie Coetzee, Lisa Deetlefs, Bernie Coston (all Southern Gauteng); Jen Wilson, Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders); Lesley-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)

South African pre-Olympics matches

(SA time)

vs The Netherlands (16:00, 5 July)

vs The Netherlands (11:00, 6 July)

vs Great Britain (12:00, 9 July)

vs Great Britain (19:00, 10 July)

vs Germany (19:45 12 July)

vs New Zealand (16:00, 14 July)

vs Belgium (12:00, 15 July)

vs Japan (25 July)

vs China (27 July)

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