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Smith seeks second win

South Africa take on India in their final pool game at the Hero Honda Cup men’s hockey tournament on Monday and they’ll be hoping to build on their 4-3 win against Pakistan at the weekend.

The win against Pakistan was their first win of the tournament after losses to Spain, England and Australia.

Captain Austin Smith was a relieved man after the Pakistan match. “What a comeback from our team. I’m incredibly proud of the boys for producing such a spirited performance after the disappointment of Thursday’s match against Australia. I think the answer to the question, ‘what now?’ which we faced from reporters and fans alike was clearly answered in our performance.

“There were two main improvements for me. Firstly we played with far more control and precision. A part of the game we have sorely missed since we began our World Cup campaign against Spain. Secondly the chances we created, we took. At this level of hockey you can’t expect twenty chances to pick and choose from. If you play well enough to create five or six chances you need to take them.

“For the first time in this tournament we were able to put together a fine second half performance. We attacked with patience and finished the chances we created, some of which were top quality.

“What does this mean in the pool standings? If Australia can overcome Pakistan on Monday and we beat India we will play for seventh and eighth spot. I’m not even going to mention the other possibilities because in my eyes that’s all I am interested in, seventh place.

“In other results from our pool England helped us out by beating India 3-2, which keeps India on three points. In the game before ours Australia beat Spain 2-0.”