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South African men's hockey coach Gregg Clark said he hopes his team builds confidence on an 18-day tour to Ireland and Spain. “The emphasis of the tour is to get back to playing at the top level again, having had a seven week break since the Olympic qualifier in Japan,” Clark said before they departed on Monday.
“We want to come away from the tour feeling confident with our general level of play, whilst having put a great deal of detail on a few specific aspects we will identify.”
The team have undergone a gruelling physical training programme in the last month, which started on May 26 at a camp run by ex-Springbok conditioning coach Derick Coetzee at University of the Free State.
Captain Austin Smith and the world’s 12th-ranked team will be playing games against Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Belgium and India.
Apart from the Olympic squad of 16, the Olympic reserves, midfielder/defender Clint Panther and goalkeeper Jacques le Roux, make up the 18-man tour squad.
South Africa squad: Austin Smith (capt), Andrew Cronje, Lloyd Norris-Jones, Ian Haley, Jacques le Roux, Tim Drummond, Marvin Harper, Lloyd Madsen, Taine Paton, Wade Paton, Lance Louw, Thornton McDade, Rassie Pieterse, Clint Panther, Justin Reid-Ross, Rhett Halkett, Jonty Robinson, Julian Hykes.
South African tour fixtures:
(Time are all SA time).
Celtic Cup (Lisburn, Northern Ireland): v Ireland (7 pm June 28); v Wales (1 pm June 30); v Scotland (11 am July 1).
Dublin, Ireland: v Belgium (6.15 pm July 3); v Ireland (6.15 pm July 4).
Santander, Spain (times tbc): v India (July 8); v Spain (July 9); v India (July 11). – Sapa