SA's Austin Smith riding the hockey wave

Austin with the HIL Winners Trophy

South Africa men’s hockey team midfield dynamo Austin Smith is riding the crest of a wave.

Fresh from winning the first-ever Hockey India League (HIL) with his franchise team the Ranchi Rhinos, the Western Province playmaker can’t wait to get to Rio de Janeiro to join his green and gold SA teammates for the World League Round 2 event in the Brazilian metropolis.

“I cherish every moment I play for South Africa and as our men’s programme has been limited in the past year I’m looking forward to getting back into the green and gold and qualifying for the third round [semifinals] of the World League,” Smith said from his home base in The Netherlands Wednesday, where he plays for Den Bosch in the world’s toughest club competition, the Hoofdklasse.

Austin speaks about 'that' email and life in the Hockey India League

Austin Smith

On Tuesday a social media storm broke loose regarding the way South African hockey player Austin Smith was “sacked via email” as captain of the national men’s hockey team.

Hockey South Africa recently announced an interim coach and captain for the World League Round 2 tournament in Brazil from 27 February till 3 March. Coach Charlie Pereira named Rhett Halkett as his captain. Smith was named in the squad but for the first time since 2008 he wasn’t the captain.

Smith, Justin Reid-Ross and Lloyd Norris-Jones are the national players currently involved with the highly successful Indian Hockey League (HIL) in India – hockey’s answer to cricket’s IPL. …

South African Men's Team Named for Rio

The names of the 18 players selected to represent South Africa for the World League Round 2 men’s hockey tournament scheduled for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from February 27 to March 5 was released by the SA Hockey Association at the conclusion of the national training camp in Cape Town Saturday.

The SA team will be captained by Rhett Halkett and will tackle Brazil, tournament favourites Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile and the USA.

The top two teams at the conclusion of the Rio round-robin tournament will qualify for the World League men’s semi-finals, which will take place in Rotterdam, Holland from June 13 to 23, and in Johor Bahru, Malaysia from June 29-July 7.