Other sport 3.7.2014 01:53 pm

Investec Cup ideal preparation for games – Gregory

PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

South African men’s coach Fabian Gregory says his team’s participation in next week’s Investec Cup will provide ideal preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Scotland later this month.

Previously reserved only for the women’s hockey side, the tournament included a men’s component and as a result, South Africa were invited to compete in both.

“It’s a fantastic event for us coming after the World Cup, where we had a strong finish to the event,” Gregory said on Thursday.

“This gives an opportunity to build again leading into the Commonwealth Games and we couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to make the necessarily improvements.”

Gregory and his team endured a disappointing World Cup campaign in the Netherlands last month, finishing 11th out of 12 teams, and last in their pool.

They did, however, put in a superb display in their playoff game against Malaysia, beating the Asian nation 6-2 and ending the tournament on a high, despite four losses from their five pool fixtures.

Looking ahead to the Investec Cup, which gets underway next week, Gregory said he and his team were relishing the opportunity to play Scotland, who featured in the same group as South Africa at the Games in Glasgow from July 24.

“Scotland are fortunate enough to be invited because they also twin with England when it comes to the Great Britain setup.

“Scotland is also in our pool for the Commonwealth Games so it gives us an opportunity to look at Scotland.”

Meanwhile, two practice games had been scheduled against Wales at the conclusion of the Investec Cup, before the start of the Games, meaning the team would be away from home for more than a month.

“We haven’t played Wales in quite a few years, so it would be good for us to have a look at them because they are also in our pool.

“We have our last practice game against Canada on July 19 and then we play our first match [of the Commonwealth Games] on the 25th.

“We’re definitely going to stay [in Europe], we’re not coming back… it’s a good period and it’s also one of the longest periods we would have been together as a group.

“So it’s a busy time but an exciting one. We have a core group of players and we are fortunate enough to have invited some of our senior players back, who haven’t played in a while.”

– Sapa

 

 

 

 

 

 

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