Johannesburg - The Spar Proteas went down 65-48 to Australia in their round three match of the Quad Series in Cape Town on Tuesday.
South Africa coach Norma Plummer made three defensive changes to her side; Zanele Vimbela teamed up with Shadine Van der Merwe at the back, Reyneke started on wing defence, and Ine- Mari Venter took over the goal shooter bib.
It was a tightly contested start to the game between the two sides until Proteas wing attack Izette Griesel couldn’t keep a loose ball in play, and Venter’s first miss under the pole allowed Australia to take a two-goal lead in the first quarter.
Proteas goal attack Nichole Taljaard, wasn’t involved much on the scoreboard by half-time, but her playmaking tactics provided several options for the attackers to find Venter smoothly in the circle.
The Diamonds increased the tempo and intensity throughout the third stanza, and Paige Hadley executed some precision feeds into Sophie Dwyer to take a 51-38 lead. South Africa’s magnetic duo of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni returned in the third quarter, and Maweni had a stellar fourth quarter, showing her prowess by stealing a couple of intercepts.
The Proteas couldn’t diminish Australia’s exploits even with the introduction of Owethu Ngubane, who got her first cap today at goal attack. Tara Hinchliffe, 24, also made her debut for the top-ranked side in the last quarter. South Africa are yet to win a game in the competition, having lost two games and playing to a draw against England, while Australia remain unbeaten ahead of the final.
Meanwhile, New Zealand registered their second win of the tournament when they defeated England 55-45.
England coach Jess Thirlby said she is looking forward to facing the Proteas again: “It’s going to be great, isn’t it? It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to practice; the noise levels will be 10 times more than it was the other day, given that we both got a draw and I’m sure we both not happy with that result. It will be a fantastic occasion, just the type of pressure we need.”