Ireland began their preparations for next month's World League 2 series with a 2-2 draw against South Africa in Cape Town yesterday afternoon.
The Green Machine, who have moved up the world rankings by one place to 14th, started well and were two up before half-time against a team ranked one above them but were unable to hold on in the 27 degrees heat.
Neither were at full strength - the Harte twins David and Conor are featuring in the Hockey India League while South Africa were missing five for the same reason.
Mitch Darling opened the scoring in 19 minutes when he finished off a flowing move and Banbridge's Eugene Magee set up the second eight minutes later when his tremendous shot on the reverse was saved but Alan Sothern forced the ball home.
Ulsterman Chris Cargo almost scored from a penalty corner switch, but then South Africa converted two penalty corners to ensure a draw.
The teams meet again this evening, and the Irish then will face both World No. 2 Netherlands and World No. 5 Belgium twice before their warm-weather training camp ends early in February.
Meanwhile Lisnagarvey and Instonians stepped up the pressure on Ulster Premier League leaders Banbridge, who had no game, with convincing wins on Saturday.
Andy Williamson grabbed a hat-tick for Garvey and Andy Forrest got two as they crushed visiting Kilkeel 7-0 and although William Robinson converted two penalty corners for Inst in their 4-1 success over Mossley, it was teenager Paddy Frazer who was man of the match.
Raphoe fly the Ulster flag in the Irish Hockey Trophy and await today's semi-final draw.
International: South Africa 2 Ireland 2 (M Darling, A Sothern)
GOC Estate Agents Premier League: Lisnagarvey 7 (A Williamson 3, A Forrest 2, T Cockram, J Lynch) Kilkeel 0; Instonians 4 (W Robinson 2, J Watson, C Kirk) Mossley 1 (J Robinson); Newry v Annadale (postponed)
Senior One: Antrim 3 (S McIlroy 2, J McMeekin) Queen's 4 (G Leckey, A Bell, S McQueen, R Blair); PSNI 0 Portadown 15 (A Stevenson 4, G Croft 3, Z McClelland 3, S Kirkland, P Quaile, S Johnston, M Beattie)
Irish Hockey Trophy quarter-finals: Portrush 0 Clontarf 6; North Down 2 (R Poots 2) Bandon 3; Raphoe 2 (M Leckey, S Cleverley) South Antrim 2 (P Cochrane, A Glass) Raphoe won 5-4 on penalty strokes); Fingal 4 Kilkenny 0