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Plucky SA go down

By Mark Etheridge

Our national men’s side went down 4-2 against a top-notch Netherlands side in the last day of a training camp at the University of Free State astroturf venue on Tuesday.

This after losing by a four-goal margin (7-3) to Germany on Monday.

South Africa led 2-1 at halftime against the Netherlands on Tuesday with goals by Justin Reid-Ross and Wade Paton.

Reid-Ross’s goal came after South Africa’s only penalty-corner or the half. His goal was his third for SA in two days, having scored twice against Germany.

Netherlands sent on their big guns in the second half and took the game beyond South Africa’s reach.

“We weren’t in great form against Germany,” said coach Gregg Clark. “We were only 2-1 down at halftime and very much in the game but we were pretty poor after that.”

The South Africans have been in the training camp since Sunday, their only two games being those against Germany and Netherlands.

“We would have liked to pick up another game against these guys,” said Clark. “But as things stand they play each other twice before the end of the week and we’ll have to make do with some inter-squad games.

“Still it’s just a great opportunity to be able to be in the same spot against these guys, both rank in the world’s top four and Germany are the current world and Olympic champions. The more we play them the better we get, even the Dutch coach said that we dominated for long periods of the game. We’re still a young side learning the various subtleties that go with winning games.”

Clark confirmed that the national selectors will be announcing the squad for the upcoming World Cup in New Delhi. “We’ll probably choose a side of 18 with three or four non-travelling reserves. Right now we don’t have any bad injury worries.

“Our top goalkeeper, Rassie Pieterse, snapped his Achilles tendon in October and his rehab is going well so we’re just watching him very closely.”