Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
31 Jan 2017
9:14 pm

Guts not enough for Proteas to threaten Australia

Wesley Botton

Mistakes at vital moments in Quad Series undermine South Africa's netballers as the gap in professionalism is illustrated again.

Vanes-Mari du Toit struggled on her return to international action. Photo: Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images.

Despite producing another gutsy performance, South Africa were handed a 62-46 defeat by world champions Australia in the final match of the third leg of the Quad Series netball competition in Durban on Tuesday night.

The 16-point gap was the closest ever margin of defeat between the Diamonds, a fully professional team, and the Proteas, a fully amateur side.

Also read: Gritty Proteas ever so close to upsetting England

“We made a lot of mistakes and we were pretty green on a few things, but we were in there,” said SA head coach Norma Plummer.

“We need to be consistent, and there’s still a lot of work to do, but I’m quietly pleased.”

The Australians romped to a 5-0 lead after four minutes, taking advantage of a sloppy start by the hosts, before the South Africans started to hit back.

Vanes-Mari du Toit, making a comeback to the national team at goal attack after a lengthy layoff, struggled against the Australian defence and the home side were trailing 17-9 at the end of the first quarter.

After she was replaced, in-form Lindie Lombard was able to keep the Diamonds on their toes, but while the South Africans put up a fight, they slipped further behind as Australia took a 31-20 advantage into the half-time break.

Gradually taking control, the Diamonds drew clear in the last two quarters to earn a comfortable victory, extending their lead at the top of the series standings.

South Africa remained without a win after five matches in the inaugural four-nation campaign, with one fixture left against New Zealand in England on Sunday.

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