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Ranchi Rhinos make way for the Ranchi Rays

Ranchi Rays
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After successfully winning the innagural Hockey India League in 2013 and placing third a year later the Ranchi Rhinos franchise has sadly been disbanded. Fortunately for players and spectators alike a new owner in the form of the legendary Indian cricketer, MS Dhoni has stepped in and taken over the franchise. 

So on the 22 January 2015 you will once again be able to witness the likes of Jackson, Middleton, Fuerste and Cortez along with other top internationals and Indian stars in action representing Ranchi. Naturally I will also be returning to Ranchi and I can’t wait to see if we can repeat our first years success once more.

After 3 long years I will finally be at an IPT, but only spectating

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It’s been three long years since I last played in the 2011 Inter-Provincial Tournament Final in Johannesburg, South Africa. Looking back at that game, it’s one I would rather forget. We, Western Province, ended as runners up and I left the field five minutes into the second half with a broken hand, which also resulted in my missing the African Championships two weeks later on.

2012

In 2012 I missed IPT, as did almost all of the national players who participated in the London Olympics. Given the time we had spent training in preparation for the Olympics and the pressure and intensity of the Olympics itself, we were all advised to take three weeks off away from hockey.  …

5 skills for the modern hockey player

2012 Austin Smith (12) SA Training Camp Bloemfontein - Martin van Staden

The modern day version of hockey is far different to sort I played on grass in high school. The introduction of a number of new rules has also made a big impact on how the game is played. One clear example of this is with the self-pass rule, which has affected the way in which we tackle. Clumsy breakdowns of play are no longer useful if the ball doesn’t roll far enough away from the tackle site. Skills, which were once deemed fancy, are now becoming the standard in any top class international players repertoire. Here’s what I consider to be the skills every modern hockey player should possess:

SA Hockey Star Austin Smith Signs Up with Incubator Sports

SA National Men’s Hockey Captain Austin Smith has signed up with Incubator Sports (www.incubatorsports.com) to help develop the country’s rising hockey stars. Incubator Sports is an online networking platform for athletes across a host of sports. A South African innovation, the high-tech Incubator Sports platform allows for quick, easy and accurate connections between athletes, coaches, fans, institutions, and support structures like medical & rehabilitation professionals and sports agents.

28 year-old Smith has represented South Africa 125 times since his senior debut in March 2004, aged just 18. …

When selection comes knocking, who’s answering?

SA Men's Hockey Team after the final selection game with the Dutch ambassador

The Hockey World Cup gets underway in just 24 day’s time in The Hague, Netherlands. This past week our men’s team should have been in Malaysia competing in the Champions Challenge, but with it being a World Cup year the funds to attend this tournament were sadly just available.

So in place of the Champions Challenge we attended a week-long, intensive selection camp in Pretoria. It was the first time since the 2012 London Olympics that we’ve had a full compliment of players to select from and from what I felt, it’s been the most competitive we’ve been as a squad for many years. …

South African Men’s 2014 World Cup Team

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We start our campaign against Germany on the 1st June at 10.30 in the main stadium. Ranked 11th out of the 12 participating teams we have a lot of work ahead of ourselves if we are to finish higher than 10th, our highest ever finish at a World Cup or Olympic Games. This team features a number of changes from the one which finished 10th four years ago. We have a totally new managed team and have only retained ten players from the previous eighteen.

Captaining the team at another World Cup is a huge honour and I plan to use every bit of experience I gained from our performance four years ago to mine and the teams advantage. …

Should transformation be the goal?

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Over the past few weeks I have been asked a number of questions regarding my view on transformation in South African sport – and more specifically in hockey. As a national player and captain it’s not always an easy topic to discuss. I do, however, feel it’s important that sportsmen and women are free to give their opinions without prejudice or fear of selection ramifications down the line.

My entire senior playing career has been soured by the word transformation. I’ve never truly understood what it meant or what the end goal of it was. Rules of who has to be selected change year by year, and you never quite know even after qualifying for an Olympics or Commonwealth Games if you’ll be allowed to attend or not. …

Accept pressure, it shows you’re on the right track

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Playing hockey at the highest levels comes with immense highs, but sadly also immense lows. Two weekends ago, I experienced both of those emotions. Our league in Holland came to a breathtaking end; we had two chances to make a success of our season. A win on Friday night or a draw on Sunday would have kept us clear of the dreaded ‘play out’ zone and could have even catapulted us to a satisfying 7th place. The Hoofdklasse, arguably the best league in the world is made up of twelve teams, the team finishing last is immediately relegated with teams 11th and 10th playing against the 2nd and 3rd respectively from the league below for a place in the coming seasons Hoofdklasse.

Meet the World Cup teams

Meet the World Cup teams

The Men’s and Ladies World Cup is under two months away. The below videos give you an opportunity to meet some of the teams and players who are going to be competing in what will be one of the most memorable World Cups of all time! 

If you would like any further information about the tournament have a look at the official website http://www.rabobankhockeyworldcup2014.com


Team South Africa


Team Holland


Team Germany


Team England


Team India


Team Malaysia


  

Team Argentina


Team Japan

SA not there yet, but we can be proud

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Field hockey is becoming more and more professional in South Africa and also around world. Countries like Germany, The Netherlands, India and Argentina already have fulltime hockey programmes, which players are paid to be part of. There are also lucrative club competitions. The addition of the Hockey India League in 2013 was an added incentive for players who are trying to make a living out of hockey. So is it possible for South African hockey players to make the step up to the professional leagues?

When I was twelve years old, my grade seven teacher - an absolute hero - Murray Anderson, was the typical example of a South African hockey player. …

Tape for you injury or tape for your mind?

Illness and injuries are a part of life, but they just aren’t supposed to be a part of mine. In the past six months I’ve had Dengue Fever and a fractured foot. The Dengue Fever, which I picked up while on tour in Malaysia, put me on the side line for almost eight weeks, and my current foot fracture has already meant missing almost all of the Hockey India League and the start of the second round of Dutch Hoofdklasse games.

I’ve found that the most frustrating part of all of this is who to listen to. My initial X-ray and MRI didn’t reveal anything so although I was in pain, I was given the all the clear to play the opening games of the Hockey India League. …

Smith’s injury won’t affect international commitments

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A foot injury brought a premature end to Austin Smith’s time in the Indian Hockey League, but the good news for South African hockey fans is that he will not miss any games for the Proteas because of the injury.

Smith has a Medial Cuneiform Fracture in his right foot after he was hit bay a ball during training. Smith played through the pain initially, but in the end after some extensive flying around in India seeing various specialists the verdict were a fracture and the end of his time at the Ranchi Rhinos.

Smith is not sure yet how long he will be off the hockey field. …


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