The Commonwealth Games have been a baptism of fire for the young South African Men's squad featuring 9 players under the age of 25, and a handful of those playing at their first ever major tournament. After the opening defeats to Scotland and Australia, a meeting against bogey side New Zealand would not have been the most exciting appetiser for the South Africans.
However, that is the way that tournament hockey goes and less than 24 hours after the 4-0 defeat at the hands of the hosts, South Africa was back on the turf taking on a New Zealand side that they have never beaten at a major tournament. South Africa would have headed into the game attempting to keep it tight for as long as possible, but those plans were quickly blown away as Kane Russell rocked the crowd with a sublime penalty corner.
From that point on New Zealand were in full and total control and ran that advantage home with three goals in the second quarter through Russell, a field goal from Jared Panchia and another penalty corner goal from Nic Woods. The Black Sticks then set out the professional task of closing out the game in the second half and did it with some great ease.
The scoring did not stop though as they netted a further two goals through George Muir and Nick Ross. South Africa did have a golden opportunity after Tevin Kok did all the hard work but fluffed his lines in front of goal. The full-time score leaving South Africa with another disappointing whitewash.
South Africa will have one more group game left on Wednesday when they take on Canada. As results stand they will still have a chance to finish higher up the table and possibly finish higher than 9th or 10th, and they will know exactly what is needed by the time that game ticks underway.
For the youngsters and new players in the team, there is still an opportunity to put their hands up for continued selection as eyes will all be locked on India and the FIH Hockey World Cup
South Africa 0-6 New Zealand