The national squads for both the South African men’s and women’s national teams were announced on Thursday 18 May. A massive 76% of the women selected have participated in Varsity Hockey, while seven of the 21 men have done so.
The news breaks just days before the Varsity Hockey final between Tuks and Maties, on Monday 22 May in Pretoria. Four of the SA ladies will be in action in the final.
Fabian Gregory, national men’s coach, emphasised the need for more game time and a concerning lack sponsorship.
“Our world ranking being lower does not make things easier for us, but there is a total plan in place to rejuvenate our competitiveness. Not playing enough games is killing us due to a lack of sponsorship, but we have the talent, we just need to spend more time working together as a team,” Gregory said.
The important gap that Varsity Hockey plugs has been outlined once more. While the high number of national players participating indicates the strength of the competition, what is really needed is quality game time, in high intensity, professional circumstances.
With live SuperSport coverage, rule changes that push athletes to their limits and a competition that puts players up against the best in the country, all while dealing with touring and travelling – Varsity Hockey is far more than just a university competition.
Catch the Varsity Hockey final at Tuks Astro in Pretoria on Monday 22 May at 18:45, live on SuperSport 7.
National squads (Varsity Hockey players highlighted)
Stephanie Baxter NWU Puk 2013
Nicole la Fleur GK Maties 2017
Nicolene Terblanche Tuks 2017 club manager
Izelle Verster Tuks 2013 / 2105 / 2107
Quanita Bobbs Maties 2015
Bernadette Coston UJ 2013
Sulette Damons NWU Puk 2013 / 2017 management
Ilse Davids Maties 2013
Lisa Deetlefs UJ 2017
Lilian du Plessis UJ 2015
Celia Evans NWU Puk 2013 / 2015
Tarryn Glasby Maties 2015 / 2017
Erin Hunter Maties 2015
Marizen Marais UJ 2015
Phumelela Mbande Tuks 2015
Line Malan Kovsies 2013 / 2015
Carmen Smith UJ 2015
Marelize van Tonder Tuks 2017
Nicole Walraven Kovsies 2015
Coach: Sheldon Rostron NWU Puk Varsity Hockey 2017 coach
Jethro Eustice 2017 UKZN Womens’ coach for Varsity Hockey
Tyson Dlungwana UJ 2016
Clinton Panther UJ 2014
Ryan Crowe UJ 2106
Ignatius Malgraff Madibaz 2016
Richard Pautz Tuks 2014 / 2016
Tevin Kok Tuks 2016