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South Africa’s fortitude against Australia was not enough to secure a victory after they lost 65-48 in round three of the Quad Series in Cape Town. SA 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 Defense, and Ine-Mari Venter took over the Goal Shooter bib. It was a tightly contested start to the game between the two sides until SA Wing Attack Izette Griesel couldn’t keep a lose ball in play and Venter’s first miss under the pole allowed Australia to take a two-goal lead in the first quarter.

SPAR Proteas Goal Attack Nichole Taljaard, wasn’t very much involved 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. Twenty- four-year-old Tara Hinchliffe also made her debut for the top ranked side in the last quarter. SA 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. It was a battle of the shooting circles in the opening quarter, with Eleanor Cardwell, Helen Housby of the Roses, and Grace Nweke, Te Paea Selby-Rickit of the Silver Ferns, all sitting on a hundred goal percentage. England still found themselves playing catch up at half-time, as they were six goals behind following fifteen turnovers. A revitalized English side were able to slow down New Zealand on the transverse line and better ball placement saw them close the gap to just two goals in the third quarter. The defensive efforts of England’s Goal Keeper- Geva Mentor, and Ferns’ Goal Defense- Phoenix Karaka, led to a warning and a caution respectively from South African umpire Anso Kemp. England were despondent towards the end, showing signs of fatigue which gave the world number two leeway to run away with the match.

England coach- Jess Thirlby says she is looking forward to facing the SPAR 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 ten 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’’.

Photo Credit: Skhu Nkomphela

25 January 2023 fixtures:

16:00- England vs South Africa (3rd/4th place)

18:00- Australia vs New Zealand (Final)