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SA hockey men face two hurdles

Johannesburg – The unbeaten South African men’s hockey team face two hurdles this weekend as the World League Round 2 tournament goes into its third and fourth rounds.

The 9-0 win over Brazil and 6-1 victory over the United States made for a good start to the round-robin event, in which the top two teams qualify for the World League semi-finals in June.

Rhett Halkett is captaining the SA men's hockey side in Brazil. Credit: Gallo Images

“There are no second chances in this tournament format, so we need to take care of business every time we go out there and I am proud of the way the lads have gone about it,” captain Rhett Halkett said.

South Africa tackle Trinidad & Tobago on Saturday before taking on favourites Argentina on Sunday.

The Islanders gave South Africa a real workout at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, before the men in Green and Gold prevailed.

“It was a very close affair and that’s what is wonderful about international hockey. The rankings go out the window and anything can happen in those 70 minutes.

“We have got to make sure we are as prepared as possible.”

The South Africans would face a tough battle against Argentina, who won their previous encounter at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

“We beat Argentina for the bronze medal at the 2011 Champions Challenge in Randburg, while they beat us at London 2012. So the matches have always been thrilling encounters and the lads are very excited about taking them on again.

“But we are not getting ahead of ourselves, our motto is one game at a time, so T&T are next in line and that is where our focus is right now.”

Saturday will be an extra-special occasion for South African striker Lloyd Norris-Jones, playing in his 100th Test match.

The scorer of four goals in two games (the same as midfielder Clint Panther) notched his 50th goal for his country against the US on Thursday. – Sapa

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