Former SA Women’s Hockey player and well-respected Mental Toughness Coach, Louise de Jager (nee Coertzen), has been chosen to lead the Johannesburg-leg of national hockey initiative, the Investec Hockey Academy, which takes place on Saturday, 9 and Sunday, 10 June at St Peter’s College in Sandton. Having represented SA in the 2009 Junior World Cup in USA, and played for the SA Women’s Hockey team between the years 2009 to 2013, de Jager is eager to put her experience to use by sharing her knowledge and skills with Gauteng’s hockey fraternity. De Jager will join the Investec Hockey Academy as the Course Captain of their high-performance courses in Gauteng, and will also manage the Academy’s popular Customised Courses; individually tailored training offered to school teams and clubs nationally. Known for her powerful drag flicks and overhead shots, de Jager is passionate about the growth of hockey among school players, and developing future talent. “It is an honour to be able to provide hockey players the opportunity to grow and develop as individuals in a sport that is close to my heart,” says de Jager. Hockey is not the only sport de Jager has made significant achievements in; she placed 14th at the 2004 World Gymnastics Championship hosted In Germany and received her Gauteng Provincial Colours for Water Polo and Athletics. At school, she also participated in tumbling, swimming, tennis, squash, cricket, and golf. Having looked up to SA Women’s Hockey legend, Lindsey Wright, de Jager and other SA Hockey professionals hope to inspire young players to have big dreams in the sport that they love. “There’s no better inspiration than working closely with professionals in the game. Together we want to give them an experience of a lifetime with a multifaceted approach; focusing on tactical, technical and mental elements of the game, as well as the importance of health and wellbeing behind the scenes,” says de Jager. Aimed at growing the awareness of the . . .
Madibaz star Kyle de Beer will be aiming to take his form from the recent PE Open into the World University Golf Championship which starts in the Philippines today. The 19-year-old KPMG Madibaz club member is part of a three-man South African team competing in the world event in Lubao from today until Saturday. Last week, the promising young player won the PE Open at the Port Elizabeth Golf Club for the first time, sharing the trophy with former Nelson Mandela University teammate Hando Brophy when the play-off was halted due to poor light. De Beer said the victory was a big confidence-booster for him. "I have been putting in a lot of hard work lately and I'm glad it's showing some signs of paying off," he said. After shooting 70 and 68 in the PE Open, De Beer became involved in a play-off with Brophy and Naldo Claassen. "In the second round I had reached eight under par before finishing disappointingly with a double on 17 [par-three] and a par down 18 [par five] to join the play-off," he said. "Hando and I progressed after the first play-off hole and halved with birdies in the dark on the second hole to share the trophy." The second-year Madibaz human movement science student said he felt his game had improved in the last year. "I feel that a change I made to my putting at the beginning of the year has helped me become a more solid putter, which I never was before. "I have also worked a lot on my chipping, which was my biggest weakness previously." As he continues to develop his game, De Beer said he felt he would need to improve his wedge-play and chipping to move to the next level. "My goals for this year are to break the 10-under-par mark in a tournament, which I haven't achieved yet, and to win two national events. His focus now, though, is on the World University Golf Championship in the Philippines, where he will be up against the best student golfers in the world. This is his second tournament overseas, having . . .
Kingsridge are not taking anything for granted as they seek a hat-trick of wins when the East London Inland tournament of the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge is played in King William's Town on Sunday. As the hosts, Kingsridge will be competing in familiar territory, but coach Mark Taljaard said there would be plenty of tough opposition as nine schools vie for the title. Since the inaugural tournament in 2016, Kingsridge have twice won the Inland event to qualify for the provincial finals and they will be fielding an experienced line-up. Taljaard said they had lost only three players from last year, which helped to maintain a sense of continuity. But he acknowledged that there would be no easy games in a tournament played over a shortened format of 20 minutes for each match. "Our form has not been bad this year, but Girls High School from Queenstown are going to be a very tough outfit," said Taljaard. "They are a quite different team from last year and although we beat them 1-0 in our annual derby at the weekend, they will be a side to watch." He said they would be delighted to win the event for the third straight year, but felt that teams such as Aliwal North and Burgersdorp would also provide stiff opposition. "The format of the tournament means anything can happen in 20 minutes, so we will take every game as a final. "Our strategy focuses on trying to keep possession and aim for a goal early in the game. "If you can do that it puts pressure on the opposition and they start chasing the game, which sometimes opens an opportunity to sneak a second goal. "But, in saying that, sometimes you also like a closer game and try to get ahead in the last two or three minutes. That puts a lot of pressure on the opposition to make up the deficit." Taljaard said the SPAR Hockey Challenge continued to be an integral part of their annual programme. "SPAR have really done well with this initiative," he said. "It adds some . . .
With rugby players entering at provincial and national levels from as young as 19 years old it is clear that aspiring rugby professionals need to make their mark at school level in order to have a long, illustrious career in the game. Added to this, as a rugby nation, the abundance of school rugby players is overwhelming, making standing out a challenge. Hoping to level the playing field at school with that of professional rugby are rugby icons Murray Mexted, Dick Muir, John Smit, André Pretorius and many more, who aim to help young players fast-track their knowledge and skills, understand what it takes mentally, behind-the-scenes and on field to become a professional, and to grow the pool of talent available for selection. “I think what we have learnt in the modern day, is that there is a wider range of skills required throughout every position and building on those skills is essential to being able to play at a certain pace and level,” says former Springbok Captain, John Smit. These former and current, provincial and international, players and coaches have joined forces as part of the Investec International Rugby Academy to educate young players regardless of what team they are in, what school they go to or what level of the game they play. “We put players in pressure situations to learn to be able to make decisions and, also, not to be scared when they make mistakes. A platform like the Academy is a great way to enhance yourself as an individual and as a player or coach, and to be able to be taught by players who have experienced the professional game – you can’t get a better area to learn from,” says current Sharks consultant coach and former Springbok Assistant Coach, Dick Muir. “We have a great deal of specialisation. Bringing this sort of expertise together sets a certain standard. We aim to give players the right knowledge for the right start, and it’s then up to them whether they make it or not,” says former All Black Captain, Murray . . .
Hudson Park reclaimed the title in the East London Coastal tournament of the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge in a thrilling final against Clarendon in East London on Sunday. Hosted by Stirling, the third edition of this competition produced another exciting day of hockey, with the matches taking place in fine weather and in an excellent spirit. The Hudson Park outfit were the East London Coastal winners in 2016, but saw Clarendon claim the honours in last year's competition. Clarendon went on to win the provincial title. This time, however, Hudson had the edge in a final which tournament director Bev Forword said delivered a high-quality contest. "In all, eight teams took part, with Cambridge, Stirling, Clarendon and Hudson reaching the semifinals," she said. "Clarendon beat Cambridge 2-0 and Hudson beat Stirling by the same margin to go through to the final. "In a fine display of skills from both sides, the final developed into a fast-moving game from one end of the field to the other. Hudson eventually ran out winners 2-0." The Hudson team will now join other regional winners Kingswood (Port Elizabeth Inland) and Alexander Road (PE Coastal) in the provincial finals to be played at Woodridge, just outside PE, in August. SPAR Eastern Cape sponsorship and events manager Alan Stapleton said they appreciated the support received in the East London event. "It was another fun-filled, sunny SPAR Hockey Challenge made a little bit extra special with some Mothers' Day hampers and surprises," he said. "There was a really wonderful turnout from families and support groups." He added that just as SPAR sprang plenty of shopping surprises on their customers, so did the teams at the Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge throw up surprises of their own. "While Clarendon seemed very organised and well set to control events in the preliminary rounds, the Hudson Park team always looked like an outfit who could upset the applecart," he . . .
This year marks the 50th edition of the elite surfing contest, The Ballito Pro, presented by Billabong, and KwaDukuza is gearing up for a programme of non-stop entertainment to celebrate this milestone event. Themed #LiveTheLegacy, the world’s longest running professional surfing competition will commemorate this historic occasion with fun beachside activities, festive cooking contests, quality retail offerings and some special proceedings to honour the event’s roots. “The 2018 edition of The Ballito Pro is definitely centred on celebration and we want to use this platform to really thank everyone who has contributed to ‘Living the Legacy’,” said Collette Bundy, event organiser. “In addition to being the 50th edition, 2018 marks a decade of hosting the event in KwaDukuza, a space that has allowed The Ballito Pro to grow alongside the region, offering holidaymakers and locals an incredible two weeks of coastal entertainment. We are, once again, looking forward to welcoming the globe to a really stunning piece of South Africa.” Positive Wave Tour World Surfing Champion and six-time winner of The Ballito Pro (formerly Durban 500, Gunston 500 and Mr Price Pro) Shaun Tomson is embarking on his #positivewavetour to promote surfing and an environmental ethos. Tomson will be talking to pupils at 10 KwaDukuza schools about his book, The Code, as well as participating in several activations throughout The Ballito Pro including daily signings, prizegivings, a ‘Retro Expression Session’ and screening of his film ‘Bustin Down the Door’. On Wednesday, 27 June, Tomson will be the guest speaker at his fundraising event, A Night with Shaun Tomson, taking place at Coco De Mer. The proceeds from the tickets sold will go towards Development Surf with the entire #positivewavetour culminating on Wednesay, 18 July with a Madiba Day 67-minute charity initiative. In keeping with the milestone celebrations, 2018 will be the Centenary Celebrations of Madiba, making this a . . .
The third annual Land Rover Durban High Goal polocrosse event is set to take place between 22nd and 24th June at the Durban Shongweni Club. Durban polocrosse enthusiasts will have the opportunity to watch South Africa’s top polocrosse players displaying their equestrian prowess over three consecutive days of play. The fast-paced, action-packed competition guarantees spectators a weekend of brilliant horsemanship and polocrosse skills from some of the country’s highest ranked players. Brent Von Benecke, chairman of the Shongweni Polocrosse Club said, “Polocrosse is fast gaining popularity amongst spectators. The Shongweni Polocrosse Club is the province’s premiere equestrian club, making it the perfect setting for this high-energy, swift-moving event.” “Apart from South Africa’s cream of the crop, internationally ranked players will also be competing in the High Goal, ensuring that fans will not be disappointed,” he added. Similar to the previous two year’s tournaments, there will be eight teams – four men’s and four ladies - competing for the top spot in the High Goal competition. Each team consists of six highly ranked players. In polocrosse, each player is given a handicap. The handicap indicates the player’s level of skills, ranging from 0 (beginner) to 10 (highest ranking). In a high goal competition, the team’s total combined handicap must average between 42 and 45 out of a possible 60. This ensures that that teams are worthy of competing at World Cup level. Land Rover Durban, the event’s main sponsor, will also be sponsoring a team in each of the men’s and ladies’ categories. “The High Goal is the premier event on the national Polocrosse calendar. Spectators can be assured of a weekend of competitive, high intensity action,” said Andre Schrenk, dealer principal of Jaguar Land Rover Durban. Schrenk highlighted that the previous High Goal events superseded all their expectations. Teams of world-class caliber demonstrated their skills in . . .
The Madibaz men's squad remain positive ahead of the second weekend of Varsity Hockey matches, starting in Pretoria tomorrow. This is the situation after they received a sobering lesson in the harsh reality of what the event is all about last weekend. With 16 of the 18-strong squad making their debuts at the tournament, coach Cheslyn Gie said they always knew they would face a tough assignment in the opening games at Wits. "Despite the inexperience in the squad, the players fought hard in every match," he said. "They learnt a lot from this experience and now understand what it takes to succeed at this level." He added that they had played in three different formations and that the players now realised better what was required. "We scored in every match except against UCT [University of Cape Town] and we want to continue this trend in the second week at Tuks." The Madibaz mentor felt they missed opportunities to register wins against UCT and Free State, but that the players improved in each match. He said they would look to secure at least one win out of their remaining three pool matches. "We are currently bottom of the log and this will be a huge task for such an inexperienced team," said Gie. "But we are in a rebuilding phase and all of these matches will stand us in good stead later in the year at the USSA [University Sport South Africa] Week." He said his message to the players would be to stick to their game-plan and to improve on the execution of their strategy. "Defensively we need to be more patient in the tackle and improve our marking and tracking of the opponents. "On attack we need to back our abilities more in the one-on-one situation and be more accurate in our penalty corner execution." Despite losing all four matches at Wits, Gie said the spirit in the squad remained strong. "The vibe in the team is very good and the players also understand that, as tough as it was last weekend, we can play with no fear . . .
After two wins and two losses on the opening weekend, University of Johannesburg men's coach Garreth Ewing says they have to hit the ground running when the Varsity Hockey tournament resumes on Friday. The final three rounds of the league phase take place at University of Pretoria from Friday to Sunday, with the play-offs starting on Monday. UJ, who had wins over Free State and NWU-Pukke, are fifth on the log and Ewing said wins against Madibaz and University of Cape Town were non-negotiable if they wanted to finish in the top four. "With Stellenbosch and Pretoria unbeaten, there is a bit of a queue between third and sixth place and it's going to be interesting to see what happens in those results," he said. "A lot of us are playing each other this weekend so it's going to come down to a knockout element in a number of games. "I feel we have to beat Madibaz and UCT and then see what happens in the other matches." UJ, Wits and UCT all sit on six points at the moment, followed by NWU-Pukke and Free State on three points. Although Madibaz had a tough weekend, losing all four games, Ewing said there would be no pushovers in their remaining fixtures. "We know Madibaz will have learnt from the weekend. They have a fairly young team and we will definitely not be underestimating them. "And UCT have looked very organised. Both teams have strengths they will tap into and we just have to make sure we are better than we were this weekend." The UJ mentor said there were a number of positives they would take into the next round of matches. "There was a steady improvement from day one and even though we lost on Monday night, we played a pretty good game. "Tactically we've been pretty accurate in terms of planning. We have a relatively young side and they have done the job that is required of them." He added that his message to the team would be to have greater accuracy on attack. "Our goal-scoring was not what it should have been. As a . . .
Clarendon High are up for the fight when they defend their title in the SPAR Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge in East London on Sunday - despite having lost a majority of their title-winning squad from last year. After winning the East London Coastal tournament a year ago, the team went on to capture the overall title in the provincial finals at Woodridge, near Port Elizabeth, in August. Coach Cheryl Pope knows they will be a marked side going into Sunday's action at Stirling, but said they were excited about the tournament. "Obviously there is a bit of pressure as is always the case when you are out to retain a title," she said. "We have seven new players in our squad this year, but the girls are always up for a challenge and they will definitely embrace the competition with a 100% effort and focus." She said she thought the format of the Schoolgirls Challenge was a wonderful chance to see how the players of all schools could perform under pressure. "Playing these shorter games (over 25 minutes) with no halftime is always adrenaline-fuelled and unpredictable," said Pope. "This brings a ‘sudden-death' mentality and a high level of intensity to the competition." She said their approach would be to try to remain as composed as possible, while aiming to dominate from the start. "An early goal is always first prize and decision-making, therefore, takes a central role." In addition to the unpredictable nature of the format, Pope said there was healthy competition among the participating teams which made for an exciting event. "At Clarendon, we love taking part in this tournament and are looking forward to a thrilling day of hockey. "Schools like Hudson Park and Stirling have very talented teams, but the way the format is structured means all teams have a chance of winning. "I can only encourage hockey players and supporters of the game to come and watch the girls in action. "The tournament provides a wonderful platform for . . .