Proteas bounce back against T&T

After Sunday’s loss to Jamaica, South Africa headed into their first Pool G match against Trinidad & Tobago having received another devastating blow to their hopes of contesting for... Read more
Proteas bounce back against T&T

After Sunday’s loss to Jamaica, South Africa headed into their first Pool G match against Trinidad & Tobago having received another devastating blow to their hopes of contesting for a medal at the Netball World Cup 2023 in front of their home crowd.

Goal shooter Lenize Potgieter, who played the first three quarters against Jamaica, was ruled out of the rest of the tournament due to a knee injury. She was replaced by reserve Sesandile Owethu Ngubane. Potgieter didn’t play in the Proteas’ games against Wales and Sri Lanka as a precaution because of what coach Norma Plummer referred to as “a slight niggle”.

Potgieter had an operation on her right knee in July last year and underwent intense rehabilitation. She missed the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham where South Africa had to settle for sixth position.

Plummer stuck with the same seven for the first two quarters as the Proteas took a commanding 33-15 lead by halftime. Coming back for the third quarter, Nichole Taljaard moved from goal attack to goal shooter while Elmeré van der Berg came on as goal attack.

With seven minutes to go, Ngubane earned only her second cap for South Africa when she replaced Taljaard. She scored her first goal at a World Cup within the last 30 seconds of the match.

Despite the commanding victory by South Africa, their seventh over Trinidad and Tobago in eight encounters at the World Cup, the Proteas’ below-par goal shooting would be of great concern. Between Venter, Taljaard and Van der Berg they missed 14 shots. The Proteas can ill-afford those sorts of stats against tougher opponents such as defending champions New Zealand who lie in wait on Wednesday.

Proteas assistant coach Dumisani Chauke acknowledged that losing Potgieter was not ideal as she has been a prominent member of the team.

“She’s been quite a strong anchor, so it is a blow. But we do have strong players in the team that are well capable of carrying on with the job and slot in nicely. Lenize is still around though, supporting us and making sure the girls stay together,” she said.

Chauke said it was easy for Ngubane to step up and take her spot in the team as the 15-player squad had been training together at several intense training camps in the run-up to the World Cup.

“All 15 are prepared for anything that comes along. So it was a smooth transition when she took to court today as there was nothing she [Ngubane] had to catch up on. She also had a great performance in the recent TNL [Telkom Netball League], so that was good.”

Trinidad & Tobago captain Shaquanda Greene-Noel commented that there were several things that didn’t work for her side in the match.

“We were ill-disciplined and against a physical team like South Africa, you can’t afford that. There were also a lot of silly mistakes and errors because we were under great pressure the whole match. But we just have to keep on moving forward as there are still matches left and we want to give our best,” she said.

SCORES:

Q1: 18-12

Q2: 33-15 (15-3)

Q3: 51-21 (18-6)

Q4: 69-28 (18-7)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Nichole Taljaard (South Africa)

Find the full wrap of the fourth day’s action here!

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