Blow for Aussies in World Cup bid
CAPTAIN Cameron Shepherd reckons the Australian team needs to play more internationals in the wake of its third place in the Polocrosse World Cup at Rugby, in England.
After going down 25-11 to South Africa in the semi-final on Friday, England time, Australia beat United States 31-8 on Sunday to secure third place.
Cameron conceded third placing was not what the defending champions went to England for.
“By the sound of it, the South Africans and Zimbabwe play a lot more international polocrosse than we do, they play every year,” Cameron said.
“They play each other and the Northern Hemisphere countries while we have only got New Zealand (nearby).
“It wouldn’t hurt to play more internationals.
“The Africans have improved their game a lot in the past four years.”
The Australians played in club carnivals in the lead-up to the World Cup but Cameron said that was not as good as international competition.
“I feel very honoured to captain Australia. I was disappointed to miss the final but (it was) good to finish on a high with a strong performance against the United States.”
While reluctant to talk about the horses allocated to the Australian men, Cameron said there was no doubt the South African and Zimbabwe men had more of the top horses than the Australians.
South Africa beat Zimbabwe 29-18 in the final to win the cup.
Zimbabwe lost (vetted out) a men’s horse for the final, which hurt its chances in the biggest game in four years. The horse Australian player Robert Sibley rode during the cup was also vetted out, which meant the horse Cameron rode in the semi-final, Henry, was played by Sibley in the play-off for third. Cameron then reverted to his original cup horse, Mel, a mare from Ireland.
“When we lose a horse, it brings you back a bit,” Cameron said.
Coach Ross Shepherd said Sandra Weston was the most consistent of the Australians throughout the cup.
“Cameron had one of the lesser horses (in the Australian pool) but played very well in the number one and two positions,” Ross said.
The Australian women were happy with their horses and beat South Africa by one goal in the women’s chukkas in the semi-final and went down by one to the Zimbabwe women in the pool .
“The Zimbabwe and South African men were very well horsed,” he said.
“We didn’t play well enough.”
Before the World Cup, the top 96 horses were divided into eight pools and each country then drew one pool of horses.
Final – South Africa 29 d Zimbabwe 18
Play-off for third – Australia 31 d USA 8
Play-off for fifth – New Zealand 20 d United Kingdom 19
Play-off for seventh – Ireland 19 d Zimbabwe 11
Best cup players
Jan Albert Steenkamp (South Africa)
Kelly Redford (Zimbabwe)