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SA women ready for Irish backlash

Glasgow - On the back of a stirring 2-1 win over Scotland in the quarter-finals, the mood in the South Africa women's hockey team camp is one of quiet confidence as they make final preparations for Saturday's Champions Challenge semi-final against Ireland.

“It was a great game for us, the manner in which we played was quite inspirational,” said South African coach Giles Bonnet on Friday.

The South Africa women's hockey team beat India 3-2 after leading 2-1 at half-time at Glasgow National Hockey Centre to qualify for the Commonwealth Games semi-finals.

“It's great to see a new crop of players beginning to establish themselves, it takes time but we see suddenly a new group who are beginning to see opportunities and take their chances.

“What I like is the way the team has bought into a new style of play that is about speed, an aggressive brand in terms of playing direct hockey, going forward, creating a lot of goal-scoring opportunities.

The South Africans drew their opening fixture 2-2 against Ireland, before edging the United States 2-1 and finishing off the group stages with a 1-1 draw with Spain.

“We created close to 35 goalshots in the last four matches, more than any other side here, so we're very committed to winning games,” Bonnet added.

Despite a solid start, however, Bonnet admitted Ireland would provide a totally different hurdle second-time-round, but was buoyed by a good display against Scotland in the quarter-finals.

“Ireland are very tough, what they might lack technically, you cannot fault them in terms of mentality.

“(They are) A team that works well together, they are going to be a formidable opponent. But directly after the Scotland win, I heard the players saying they've got to get that Irish score right.”

Sapa

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