Province eye title defence

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

South African hockey champions Western Province are looking to defend their title at this year's Women's Interprovincial tournament, which will be held at Queensmead in Durban.

The tournament kicks off on Sunday, and the defending champions' captain, Kate Hector - who has led the team to victory in the past two years - said she was happy with preparations so far.

Province - who are a balanced and experienced squad boasting 12 national team players - will introduce three new caps during the tournament.

"The core of the squad has been training together four times a week, and in that regard I am happy with our fitness and focus" Hector said.

"But while we have 12 national team players, they are not allowed to play for more than 280 minutes, which translates to five matches.

"This is to prevent fatigue and injuries as we near the Olympic Games. This will give the youngsters in our team a perfect opportunity to make their mark."

Twelve provinces will be represented at the week-long tournament, but the biggest threat to Province retaining their title remains Southern Gauteng.