SA women step up Olympic preparations

23 May 2012

The South African women's hockey team will take its Olympic Games preparations a step further with matches against Great Britain and Scotland before they take part in the Investec London Cup over the next three weeks in the United Kingdom.

Captain Marsha Marescia's squad have been working hard in Amsterdam this past month. They will fly to the UK for a three-week trip on Wednesday.

Coach Giles Bonnet's charges face world number four Great Britain in two unofficial tests on Thursday and Friday.

The first test takes place at the official London 2012 hockey venue, the Riverbank Arena in Olympic Park, London at 15:30 (SA time) on Thursday. On Friday, the teams meet at Bisham Abbey at 15:30.

Official five-test series

South Africa, ranked 12th in the world, then move on to the Clydesdale Hockey Club in Glasgow, where they will play an official five-test series against world number 18 Scotland. The matches start at 15:30 (SA time) on Sunday, 15:30 on Monday, 20:30 on Wednesday, 20:30 on Thursday, and at 15:30 on Friday.

The girls in green and gold return will then return to Chiswick in London for the Investec London Cup that also features world number one the Netherlands, world number three Germany, Great Britain, world number seven Australia and world number 14 Ireland.

South Africa faces Great Britain on Tuesday, 5 June, at 17:30 (SA time), and Germany at 21:00 on 6 June. The semi-finals will be held on Saturday, 9 June, and Sunday's classification matches and the gold and bronze medal matches.

Olympic schedule

Meanwhile, the schedule of matches for the Olympic Games women's competition, which is from 29 July to 10 August, and the men’s event from 30 July to 11 August, both at the Riverbank Arena on the Olympic Park, were announced Tuesday.

Based on world rankings, the 12 teams in both tournaments are divided into two pools of six, and each team plays every other in their pool.

The top two teams in each pool qualify for the semi-finals, with the winners then going head-to-head for the gold medal. The other teams in the two groups play each other to determine final placings.

Pools

Pool A for women features Netherlands (world ranking 1), Great Britain (4), China (5), Korea (8), Japan (9), and Belgium (16). Pool B features Argentina (2), Germany (3), New Zealand (6), Australia (7), USA (10), South Africa (12).

The men's Pool A features Australia (1), Great Britain (4), Spain (5), Pakistan (8), Argentina (9), and South Africa (12). Pool B includes Germany (2), Netherlands (3), Korea (6), New Zealand (7), India (10), Belgium (11).

The men's and women's events see only the top two in each pool playing in cross-pool matches; the semi-finals. The other sides play directly for final placings according to where they finished in their pool.

For example, fifth in Pool A plays fifth in Pool B for ninth and 10th places. This makes pool matches absolutely critical, as there are no second chances in cross-pools.

The women's semi-finals are on 8 August, with the bronze and gold medal matches on Friday, 10 August. The men's semis and medal matches are a day later respectively.

SA POOL MATCHES
(All SA time)

WOMEN: 29 July vs Argentina (17:00); 31 July vs New Zealand (09:30); 2 August vs Germany (17:00); 4 August vs Australia (09:30); 6 August vs USA (11:45)

MEN: 30 July vs Australia (11:45); 1 August vs Great Britain (17:00); 3 August vs Spain (20:00); 5 August vs Pakistan (11:45); 7 August vs Argentina (14:45)

SAinfo reporter

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