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Sulette sinks China

In one of the most stunning upset in years, a young Investec South Africa team, playing without a host of stars, upset China, the world’s fourth-ranked team 1-0 at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on Tuesday night.

Hard-running striker Sulette Damons slapped in the winner eight minutes into the second half of a game that SA could have won by five or six more.

Investec Player of the Match Shelley Russell was brilliant in midfield while captain for the night Lesle-Ann George and the simply superb Kim Hubach, as well as Lisa Deetlefs and Marcelle Keet, were towers of strength and an inspiration to the likes of 18-year-old Izelle Lategan, just out of school in Paarl and playing only her third Test match.

Investec SA head coach Giles Bonnet astonished all and sundry when he left out a fit captain in World Stars midfielder Marsha Marescia, world renowned striker Pietie Coetzee (just 16 goals short of breaking the world record), as well as Kathleen Taylor, Tarryn Bright and Mariette Rix.

All in all it was around 700 worth of Test caps that Bonnet left out of the fray as he backed his youngsters to the hilt ÔÇô and how it paid off.

There’s another way to look at Bonnet’s shock selection for this match. Bearing in mind his pondering the final selection of the team for the prestigious Champions Challenge tournament in Dublin, Ireland in June, how will the coaching supremo ever know the full capability of his youngsters if he hasn’t thrown them to the lions, as it were, and then observed how they deal with it?

They were certainly put to the test at Wanderers on Tuesday night and answered the question in the most emphatic of fashion.

There are another five Tests against the all-action Chinese in Johannesburg this week, the next three all at Wanderers at 7pm before the final two at the Kaspersky Randburg Astro Stadium on Saturday and Sunday at 5pm.