SA’s ‘plum­ming’ the depths

Proteas’ coach us­ing Quad Se­ries to work out com­bi­na­tions for Com­mon­wealth Games

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VILLIERS

FAC­ING THE world cham­pi­ons, the Proteas team will be look­ing to make the step up in the fi­nal match of the South African leg of the Net­ball Quad Se­ries against Aus­tralia in Dur­ban tonight.

South Africa will be buoyed by their per­for­mance from the week­end where they nearly claimed an up­set vic­tory against the Eng­land Roses.

In the build-up to the third leg of the com­pe­ti­tion, Proteas coach Norma Plum­mer said her team had been mak­ing small ad­vances in clos­ing the gap be­tween them­selves and the top three sides in the world.

Their 55-60 de­feat to Eng­land was cer­tainly an ex­am­ple of this as they en­forced a draw af­ter the end of reg­u­la­tion time.

Aus­tralia has set the golden stan­dard in net­ball the last few years and beat South Africa 68-43 the last time they met in Auck­land, New Zealand in Au­gust last year.

Plum­mer said the shoot­ers had put in some ex­tra work ahead of their big clash af­ter they bat­tled to find the tar­get in Satur­day’s match against Eng­land.

“Our start wasn’t good and we cer­tainly weren’t on the money with the shot, let­ting our­selves down not con­vert­ing,” Plum­mer said.

The Proteas erased an 11-point deficit af­ter half-time to come within a whisker of beat­ing the Eng­land Roses for only the sec­ond time in 22 years.

Plum­mer made cru­cial tac­ti­cal re­place­ments af­ter she re­alised Eng­land had fig­ured out goal at­tack Renske Stoltz and wing at­tack Bongi Msomi, who were a force in their pre­vi­ous en­counter.

At the break she re­placed Stoltz with Lindie Lom­bard af­ter ear­lier bring­ing Izette Lubbe on in the TAK­ING NET­BALL SA FOR­WARD: Proteas coach Norma Plum­mer is hop­ing to close the gap be­tween SA and Aus­tralia tonight. place of Msomi.

“Credit to Eng­land, they knew our goal at­tack and wing at­tack had been a big force against them last time, so they did their home­work to cut them out,” Plum­mer said. “So, we had to make the changes, and Eng­land said they had not been pre­pared for that, so it re­ally opened the game for us. Full credit to (Lubbe) and (Lom­bard) be­cause they cer­tainly turned the game around for us.”

Plum­mer said she was still ex­per­i­ment­ing with her com­bi­na­tions with an eye on next year’s Gold Coast Com­mon­wealth Games in April.

“I am run­ning 13 play­ers at the mo­ment, it has only been 19 months and I still have some op­tions I want to look at,” she said.

“I want to make sure, come the time we get to the Com­mon­wealth Games, we’ve picked the right blend and we have all the op­tions in the play­ers we se­lect.”

The Proteas men­tor, who coached Aus­tralia to gold medals at the World Cup in 2007 and 2011, said her side rel­ished the tough chal­lenge the Aussies would pose.

“I know some of their (Aus­tralia’s) strength and weak­nesses, which I will share with the girls. It will be an­other step up, that’s for sure,” Plum­mer said.

“We’ve got noth­ing to lose, we’ve put our­selves in this com­pe­ti­tion to chal­lenge at the top and it is the only way th­ese play­ers will un­der­stand what it is like to be in the crunch when the pres­sure is re­ally on and get the win.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.