The country’s top student players will now gather in Bloemfontein from July 2 to 6 for the USSA event, with UJ aiming to bounce back from some harsh lessons received in the Varsity Hockey competition in May.
They will be boosted by several experienced players, but UJ Hockey manager Elize le Roux said they would not be getting ahead of themselves.
“Initially will be looking at trying to make sure we finish in the top four,” she said.
“The senior players will add experience and calmness on the field, the sorts of qualities you need to progress in this competition. After the pool fixtures, we will reset our focus.
“The USSA tournament is intense in its own right. There are no bonus points to fall back on at USSA and you have to put three points in the bag from day one.”
Le Roux added that the women’s team, who were runners-up last year, would have many players taking part in the USSA week for the first time.
“We believe in our processes and feel that a top-four spot is realistic to focus on initially. We will be taking it game by game in our pool matches.”
Le Roux felt events such as these were important to develop the game at UJ.
“They provide an opportunity to market a brand of hockey that hopefully resonates with young players.
“The overall aim is to present a positive view of UJ as an academic and sporting institution, while providing platforms for our players to showcase their skills.”