France will be taking part at their third FIH Hockey World Cup in India, their first since 1990. They achieved qualification in South Africa at the FIH World League Semi-Final last July when they defeated Egypt in the 7/8th playoff game. They are big fans of the country as they also won the FIH World League Round 1 in Cape Town in 2015. With those happy memories in place, France will come back to take on South Africa in four test matches at the same venue.
France are currently ranked 20th in the world but have been showing steady improvements over the past three years in their climb up the rankings. Their squad to take on the South Africans will be backed with four centurions in Tom Genestet, Hugo Genestet, Jean-Baptiste Fogues and Gaspard Baumgarten littered amongst some fantastic youth. It will be the first time that South Africa and France have locked horns in International hockey which adds an extra element of excitement and intrigue to the heavily anticipated series.
For South African Hockey fans, it will be the first time to see the National team play at home this year and the first time they will get to see the team under the guidance of Mark Hopkins, who was appointed national coach in January this year. There is a lot of good feeling around the team currently including the recent team camps in Durban and in Europe for the foreign based players and this will be an opportunity for the team to show corporate South Africa why they are worth backing.
The squad to play France will be the World Cup selected squad with only one change due to injury and it promises to offer an exciting spectacle for the local fans. The likes of experienced heads Austin Smith, Rhett Halkett, Rassie Pieterse and Julian Hykes supplemented by the exciting Tyson Dlungwana, Dayaan Cassiem and Keenan Horne. Of course, all South African Hockey fans will also be incredibly excited by the opportunity to see Nic Spooner in action for a long overdue second cap.
For more great benefit the opening two matches of the series will be televised live on Supersport, further underlining their incredible investment and support of the sport. Although the second game will not be televised fans are encouraged to come through to Wits University and give the team support before they head off to India.
South Africa vs. France Fixtures
1st Test – 3 November – 12:00 – Live on SuperSport
2nd Test – 4 November – 12:00 – Live on SuperSport
3rd Test – 9 November – 19:30
4th Test – 10 November – 16:00