Confidence Booster For Proteas

South Africa had a good confidence-boosting victory over Wales in their first match in the second round of the Netball World Cup in Sydney on Tuesday, beating the Welsh team by 60 goals to 38.  The British side had sailed through the opening round, winning all three of their matches, but the South Africans proved too much for them, as they were never really in contention.  Goal shooter Lenize Potgieter was on song, particularly in the first quarter, when she succeeded with every attempt at goal.

At the end of the first quarter, the Proteas were 15-10 ahead.  By half-time, Norma Plummer’s players had stretched their lead to the critical margin of 10 goals, with the score on 31-21.  Coach Plummer appeared to have had stern words with the players during the break, because they stormed back in the third quarter, outscoring Wales by 24 goals to eight.

It was probably their best quarter of the tournament so far, with South Africa achieving five intercepts and five turnovers.  Once again, Plummer rang the changes, bringing on fresh legs and making sure that most of her players got precious time on court ahead of matches against Australia and England.  The final quarter was more subdued, as the Welsh battled hard to make up the deficit.

It was the closest quarter, with the Proteas scoring just two more goals than Wales.  Plummer seemed relatively pleased with the team’s performance:  ‘I thought they were a bit lethargic at the beginning.  I told them after their warm-up that they were too relaxed, and they had to step up, because we are now at the business end of the carnival.  I was a bit disappointed in the first half, when they were a little flat, but I made some changes at half-time, and brought some new life into their movement.’

Wing attack Bongi Msomi said the match had been a confidence booster:  ‘It was about sticking to the game plan, and implement the strategies that have been worked out.  We were able to do that today.  We expected them to come hard at us, especially after the game they played yesterday (when Wales narrowly beat Uganda 49-47 in their final preliminary round match).  I think they were confident, but we put the tactics we’ve worked on into practice.  We needed this win before we play Australia.’

South Africa play defending champions Australia on Wednesday and world number three England on Friday.  The Proteas need to win one of these matches to qualify for the semi-finals.

Photo credit : Murray Wilkinson (NWC2015 Media)