UJ prepare for title defence in Varsity Women’s Hockey 2017

BRACED FOR SUCCESS: UJ hockey player Demi Harmse will be aiming to make an impact in the 2017 Varsity Women's Hockey tournament in May. Photo: Saspa


Nine teams will line up for superiority in Varsity Women’s Hockey 2017 when the tournament kicks-off with a bout at the Maties Astro in Stellenbosch from 5 to 8 May.

Teams will then have a second bite at the cherry when they contest the second and final leg at the Puk Astro in Potchefstroom from 12 to 15 May. 2015 Champions, University of Johannesburg (UJ) are up to the task ahead of the tournament with UJ hockey manager, Elize le Roux, saying that it’s all systems go for her team as they again look to challenge for honours in the prestigious hockey tournament.

However, many UJ players have also been included in the Southern Gauteng teams that will play in the annual Inter-Provincial Tournament (IPT) taking place in Joburg from 23 April. Le Roux said it would be a case of player management in the next few weeks.

“It is going to be a hectic period [seeing as] the IPT placed just before Varsity Hockey,” she said. “The girls will need some time to recover but we do have a performance plan in place so we are all aware what awaits us in the next few weeks.”

Le Roux added that UJ had a balance of experience and youth in the side, strengthened by the incentive of a new coach in national hockey star, Lance Louw. “Lance has played in the Olympics and is still in the national squad, but is now beginning to concentrate a bit more on coaching,” said Le Roux. Each coach has an idea on how to handle things and I feel Lance will definitely bring something new to the squad and a fresh approach will be good for us.”

With only three days between the first and second legs in the tournament, Le Roux said the players were prepared for the challenge. “The format of the two weekends has worked well because it tests your performance structure and the mindset and psyche of the players.

“We see it as a high-profile competition and it does have a different element, with matches being played over four quarters of 15 minutes each. It makes for exciting contests [however] we know we will not have it easy, especially with some tough matches on the first weekend.”

Le Roux added that they would like to be considered favourites. “We are up against four strong teams in Stellenbosch, but are focused on at least making it to the semifinals.”

UJ will take on Maties, NWU Puk, UKZN and Kovsies between 5 and 8 May in Stellenbosch.

For more on your local sports teams visit www.citybuzz.co.za

Tshepiso Mametela

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