The world number 12 Investec South Africa women’s hockey team will be looking to overturn four winless Test matches against world number 18 Scotland in the opening of the Clydesdale Hockey Club’s new Astro pitch in Glasgow 3.30 pm SA time Sunday
SA will be missing world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee and fellow double Olympian Kate Woods, who are scheduled to join the team later in the week, as well as striker Lauren Penny (Shoulder injury) while Scotland are missing their four Great Britain Olympic squad members.
Although in 18th position, currently six places below South Africa in the world rankings, Scotland will provide tough opposition for SA in fact beat South Africa 2-0 in their three-Test series last July at University College’s Ireland National Hockey Stadium in Dublin.
In the Champions Challenge in Dublin last year the sides drew 2-2, Louise Baxter and Nikki Kidd getting the goals. Soon afterwards, the Scots came out on top in a three-Test match series also in Dublin, against the Investec SA women [missing several top players], the Scots won the initial encounter 4-3, the second was a 2-2 draw, and the series was won with a 3-1 victory in the final match.
On that series, Shepherd said: "I believe it has been 25 years since we had beaten the South Africans, never mind win a series against them, to replicate the same result with a reduced squad will be very hard, but not impossible."
Scotland squad: Nicki Cochrane, Amy Gibson, Catriona Ralph, Kareena Marshall, Leigh Fawcett, Kat Camerson, Aileen Davies, Susan McGilveray, Becky Merchant, Becky Ward, Nikki Kidd, Morag McLellan, Amy Brodie, Kerry Hall, Ali Howie, Sam Judge, Holly Cram, Ailsa Wylie, Linda Clement, Nicola Skrastin, Nikki Lloyd, Sarah Robertson, Ali Bell.
Investec SA team: Mariette Rix, Illse Davids, Marsha Marescia (capt), Shelley Russell, Dirkie Chamberlain, Lisa Deetlefs, Jen Wilson, Lesle-Ann George, Nicolene Terblanche, Lenise Marais, Kathleen Taylor, Bernie Coston, Tarryn Bright, Sulette Damons.
Umpires: Karen Thomson, Kerri Targett (both Scotland).