The Proteas plan was to go for broke and win their opening match.
The opening match of the Vitality Netball Nations Cup on Sunday saw South Africa losing to a skilled and motivated Jamaica.
The Sunshine Girls won the match 59-54 claiming their 13th win against the SPAR Proteas in 16 encounters.
The teams are ranked fourth and fifth respectively on the International Netball Federation (INF) world rankings and the last time these two teams met was at the 2019 Vitality World Cup in Liverpool where South Africa won 55-52.
SA Coach Dorette Badenhorst went with a formidable starting seven and you could see that her plan was to go for broke and win her opening match against the Sunshine Girls. It was Jamaica that drew first blood, however, scoring two points in as many minutes.
South Africa seemed to be patient in their build-up and soon levelled the score.
The Sunshine Girls were intentional and dominated the quarter; however, the SPAR Proteas pushed them and ended the quarter at 12-17.
At the start of the second quarter, Izette Griesel came on at Centre for Rome Dreyer who was facing Jamaica for the first time in Proteas colours. The introduction of Dreyer in the centre of the court started making a difference for the team.
The South Africans found the going tough with the defence of Jamaica standing solid which complicated matters for the attacking duo of Potgieter and Venter.
Lefebre Rademan made her debut against Jamaica at the 35th minute and replacing Ine Marie Venter, but the Jamaican defence came to the fore as they intercepted a lot of South Africa’s attack making sure that they converted on the other end. The Sunshine Girls maintained a 10 point lead for most of the quarter three.
Jamaica continued where they left off at the end of the third quarter and scored as soon as the whistle went off. The introduction of Rademan to the game seems to have yielded positive results. Over time, she has proven to be a clever player who reads the game very well. SA kept pushing and took the game to Jamaica and reduced the Sunshine Girls lead to just five points.
Jamaica’s Nicole Dixon was crowned the Player of the Match, while at the other end of the court the South Africans will look to shrug this loss off and get ready to face England tomorrow.
“I think we need to trust ourselves more especially on the third quarter. We could have done better tonight; however, we take lessons from here. We have a lot to work through during the week at training and I am certain we will bounce back. It is not too late, who knows, we may just be playing in the finals come Sunday,” said Badenhorst.