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SA hockey side look to reverse losing sequence

Anticipation is mounting at Queensmead Hockey Stadium in Umbilo, Durban south as the South Africa men’s team make final physical and mental preparations for Sunday’s fourth Test match against Argentina.

Jon Cook writes that having gone down 4-2, 1-0 and 3-2 in the earlier Tests, SA captain and defender Rhett Halkett’s team are determined to reverse the losing sequence against world number 11 Argentina, who have had the better of exchanges in winning nine and losing three of their last 12 Tests against the African champions.

One particularly disappointing defeat was at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where SA took a 2-0 lead inside the opening seven minutes, only to unravel to a 7-3 defeat. A wonderful memory for South Africa is the defeat of Argentina to win the bronze medal at the 2011 Champions Challenge event in Randburg in early December of that year.

An earlier SA win against Argentina was in September 2011 at Randburg when six goals were scored in the opening 20 minutes ahead of a memorable 5-4 victory. Argentina won a pulsating second 2-1 to share the two-Test series 1-1.

The World League World League Round 2 event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in March this year saw the Argentines beat SA 4-2 in a humdinger of a match to clinch the title.

And if the 10 players sent to the sin bin (six Argentineans and four South Africans) in Saturday’s third Test at Queensmead is anything to go by, fireworks of a physical nature are certainly in store for the Durban fans.

The fifth and final Test is at 6.30 pm Tuesday on the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg campus pitch.