The UKPA and PASA have both named their Under 25 teams for the Tri Nations tournament between the two countries and Zimbabwe in South Africa in July. The competition consists of full Men and Ladies teams, with 8 players in each team. South Africa have named two teams of Men and Ladies meaning that in each competition there will be four teams competing for the prize.
The competition will take place over four days from the 12th to the 15th of July in South Africa. The UK probably have the least experienced side as they come up against South African and Zimbabwean sides which will contain a lot of World Cup and Open Squad players, particularly on the men’s side. However, the UK has some very talented Under 21’s and they are viewing this tour as a development opportunity for them with the aim of having them ready for the next World Cup in 2015, which will also take place in South Africa.
On the Ladies side the UK does have the experience of Charlotte Pykett and Annie Waterer, who have both played at Open level a number of times and were both in the UK’s 2011 World Cup squad. The South Africans have the sisters Dawnay and Celicia Jacobs who have both played in World Cups.
On the men’s side South Africa have their World Cup stars Graham Maclarty and Jan Albert Steenkamp and then also Attie and Nico Van Wyk, Travis Timm and Retief Steenkamp who have all played at Open level. They also have James Rae who played for Zambia at the 2011 World Cup. The UK have their men’s reserve from the 2011 World Cup Alex Richardson and then the undoubted talent of players such as Simon Amor and Will Halcrow from the Under 21’s. Joel Sics, the Pennine club captain and star, is also in the team and also his Pennine team mate Sam Marsh gets himself a UK recall, he last played for the UK Under 16’s in 2006 in South Africa and he will see if he can bring that experience to bear in the summer.
The Zimbabwean team is yet to be named but there are a few players from their 2011 World Cup team who are still under 25 and they have always had a strong group of younger players.
The UK and Zimbabwe will also travel to South Africa again in 2013 as they, and also the USA, take on South Africa in a Quadrangular tournament. There is also believed to be a Quadrangular tournament in New Zealand in early 2013 but the official list of countries playing in that competition is not yet known. Rumours suggest that it will be New Zealand themselves, Australia, the UK and then one other country.
All these long distance tours could prove expensive for the UK and their players, but they did announce recently that the flight deal company Dial a Flight was helping them by arranging the cheapest group bookings that they could find for the forthcoming Under 25 tour and had also contributed some cash sponsorship to the squad.
South Africa Ladies Presidents
Elri van der Merwe
United Kingdom Ladies
South Africa Ladies Invitational
South Africa Men Presidents
Jan Albert Steenkamp
Nico van Wyk
Attie van Wyk
United Kingdom Men
South Africa Men Invitational