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Fri Apr 25 09:07:05 SAST 2014

Paton has faith in hockey team's Olympics dream

Sapa | 02 July, 2012 06:570 Comments
FIH Champions Challenge 1, 3rd / 4th playoff: South Africa v Argentina
Wade Paton during the FIH Champions Challenge 3rd/4th playoff match between South Africa and Argentina at Randburg Hockey Stadium on December 04, 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa
Image by: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images

SOUTH African midfielder Wade Paton believes the more hockey the men's national team play, the better they will get come the end of their European tour and the start of the London Olympics later this month.

Paton, the stand-in captain after regular skipper Austin Smith fell ill, led his side to a 5-0 victory over Wales and a 6-5 defeat of Scotland in the Celtic Cup in Lisburn, Northern Ireland at the weekend.

"To score the five goals and keep a clean sheet [against Wales] was awesome for us," Paton said on Saturday.

"The guys are slowly hitting their straps."

The South Africans had lost to hosts Ireland in the tournament opener on Thursday.

Paton admitted the team would have to improve on their first outing, particularly at the Olympics, where losing the first game of the tournament would mean a difficult road to the knockout stages.

"If yesterday [Friday] had been our first game of the Olympics, it would have been Australia, and you can't defend the way we did against Ireland, against them," Paton said.

"You have to take your chances, which is exactly what happened against the Irish.

"We'll put it down to not having played too much hockey [in the last two months] and by the time the Games start we know we will be better."

South Africa will now travel to Dublin, Ireland, where they face Belgium tomorrow.

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