Top four teams determined for the Polocrosse World Cup semi-finals
Four teams have made it to the championship semi finals: Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Zambia.
The Aussies have arrived having won all of their World Cup matches so far, the only undefeated team.
All of the other teams have lost one game: South Africa lost to New Zealand on Tuesday by two goals. New Zealand in turn was defeated by last-ranked Irish team by one goal in a close match on Wednesday. On Thursday, Zambia was defeated by Australia by a huge margin, 25-8, in a game that was expected to be very close.
In recent pre-World Cup international friendly games, Australia beat New Zealand in all of the four matches they played in February and March, though Lauren Sillitoe of the Australian team said the NZ team improved by leaps and bounds after every match. Nine months ago, the Australian squad met Zambia for three test matches with the Aussies winning all three. When South Africa met Australia two years ago in Men’s and Ladies’ test matches (rather than mixed gender teams), the South African Men beat the Aussies in all three games though the Australian Ladies beat the South Africans.
Australia and New Zealand used to be very similar in ability and style of playing. When the New Zealand team failed to bring younger players into the team, they slipped behind in recent years. NZ's current team is a mix, including Captain Russell Tye and his daughter Mirren. Kyla Hill is daughter of coach, Shane Hill. Their team has been lifted by star Beau Moore who married a Kiwi and moved to NZ about a year ago.
Does this make Australia the favourite to get into the finals, or have their losses given the other teams something to prove?
After four days of unpredictable polocrosse action and the first round of night matches, Saturday will see South Africa line up against Zambia at 10.00am and Australia battle New Zealand at 1.30pm.