The South African national women’s hockey team finished fifth at the FIH Hockey World League Semi-Finals.

South Africa beat Japan 2-1 in the fifth place play-off match played at the Wits hockey stadium in Johannesburg.

The home team ended the first chukka with a flurry of penalty corners, but could not score despite the opportunities to take the lead early on. Soon after the start of the second chukka South Africa got a penalty stroke after a Japanese player blocked the ball with her body in front of the goal-box. Lillian du Plessis converted the stroke to give SA the lead. It was Du Plessis’ second goal of the tournament.

Tarryn Glasby gave South Africa a two-goal lead in the 23rd minute after a good pass from Shelley Jones. It was Glasby’s first goal of the tournament.

Japan’s only goal of the match came after some five minutes of play in the third chukka. Yuri Nagai hit the back of the goal-box for her team.

In the last few minutes Japan played with a kicking-back for the extra attacking player. They desperately worked for that equaliser but the South African defenders gave them no space to attack.

South Africa is 13th on the world rankings and Japan 11th. By finishing in the top 6 of the tournament the SA women qualified for the 2018 FIH World Cup in London.

The African Championships is later in the year and if the SA Women win that tournament South Africa will be in the Top 10 of the world rankings.