By Mark Etheridge
The national men’s water polo will wrap up their 2015 FINA World Championships campaign with a match against Kazakhstan.
That’s after they went down 15-6 to Rio Olympics host Brazil in Kazan, Russia on Tuesday.
And they’ll be hoping to end their tournament the same way they started it… with victory.
Captain Pierre le Roux’s side started off on a good footing with a 10-6 victory against Argentina but have failed to win again.
Now on Thursday they take on Kazakhstan for the second time of this tournament. In their pool game they went down 14-3 and will be eager to start better as they shipped four goals in the opening stanza.
Talking after the Brazil match, Le Roux told Road to Rio 2016: ‘It was another tough encounter but a solid performance from the team. The first half of the game saw our attacking strengths, as netted five times and were very competitive.
‘The second have saw us tightening up the defence but then we ended up sacrificing on attack…so a little bit of immaturity from the side but I thought we showed moments of both great attacking and defensive play.’
The Brazilians that the SA side faced on Tuesday were a vastly different line-up to the side they last faced at World Championships six years ago, testimony to a country aware that the Olympics are a year away from starting today, 5 August, and hungry for as many medals as possible.
Croatian star Josip Vrlic and Spaniard Felipe Perrone, who now captains the side, have bolstered the side, along with head coach Ratko Rudic. In the build-up to this year’s worlds, they beat Croatia 17-10 and then went down by the odd goal 9-10, in pool action.
In the picture are SA players (left to right) Julian Lewis, Jon Marc de Carvalho and Pierre Le Roux