MELBOURNE – South Africa's Proteas netball captain Bongi Msomi said she was pleased with her team's gutsy efforts despite losing 45-42 to England in the Quad Series in Melbourne on Sunday.
"Taking into account we have new inexperienced caps in our team and are missing some experienced players due to injury, the Proteas showed guts," said Msomi.
"We also know we have depth in our team which bodes well for the future. We should have finished the game off but credit to England for making the comeback they did. Now the Proteas need to work on consistency to prevent losses like this."
Meanwhile coach Norma Plummer said she was extremely disappointed following the loss. "We had that game. I was extremely disappointed in our attacking and shooters not going to the post after halftime.
"We certainly had England having to change up their whole game. I thought our defence head was absolutely outstanding and credit to Rome Dreyer who did a very good job.
"I had to take her off to give her a break because the fitness levels at this level are on another level and I needed to give her that break in-between. Shadine van der Merwe and Karla Pretorius were also outstanding.
"We actually had that game so yes we very disappointed. We let England in the door. England had to change up their whole team to get across the line which is a feather in the Proteas' cap. Just sad it’s another loss we let slip."
Despite the Proteas leading at every break and being the dominant side throughout, they could not finish off the opposition in the narrow defeat.
The game was so close that with one minute remaining in the third quarter, the teams were level at 32-32.
But some smart pick-up play by Phumza Maweni and excellent passing by Msomi and Pretorius got the ball down court and into the circle and Lochner netted to give the Proteas the 33-32 lead going into the final break.
In the final quarter, it was game on and both teams were level at 41-41 with four minutes left on the clock.
England then took the lead for the first time since the first quarter and finally beat South Africa 45-42.
The Proteas' game shooting average was a disappointing 79 percent compared to the 85 percent of England.
But the South African defence certainly made life difficult for the English shooters and should be credited for their efforts.
African News Agency (ANA)