The netball Proteas in action against Fiji on Wednesday. Photo: @FijiSportsC via Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Showing no fear for an island nation, the Proteas netball team beat Fiji by a record 41 points in Suva, Fiji on Wednesday.

The Proteas have found a rich vein of form as they swept past the Pacific Islanders, claiming a dominant 72-31 victory and surpassing their previous biggest winning margin of 14 goals against the Fijians.

The Fiji Pearls were cannon-fodder for a rampant Proteas team that had their tails up after claiming their first victory against England since 2013 only days earlier.

The South African women highlighted their dominance over Fiji with their sixth victory out of nine matches between the two sides.

The first quarter already suggested Fiji were in for a world of pain as they trailed the visiting team by nine points.

Matters soon escalated as the Proteas pulled away in the second quarter, adding 20 more goals to their total and the Fijians only seven as the teams went into the halftime break at 38-16.

South African shooter Lenize Potgieter was the chief destroyer, terrorising the islanders with pinpoint accuracy inside the circle.

Potgieter carried on where she left off in the Netball Quad Series, boasting a 92 percent success rate in succeeding with 55 shots at goal. 

South African coach Norma Plummer used the match to test a few combinations and blood some new talent. Wing attack Danelle Lochner made a plucky debut, playing a good supporting role to Potgieter by landing 10 of her 14 shots.

Goal defence Zanelle Vimbela combined well with seasoned campaigner Phumza Maweni, frustrating the Fijians and keeping the opposition’s score low.

Potgieter continued her dominance after the break, adding three more goals to their tally in the second half.

Mid-court maestro and Proteas captain Bongiwe Msomi played a pivotal role in shifting the ball into the circle, thereby optimising Potgieter’s chances at goal. 

The Proteas added 19 more goals to the scoresheet in the third quarter to Fiji’s six points.

Plummer made a few tactical changes in the final period, which also proved to be Fiji’s most enterprising quarter of the match. The hosts scored nine goals in the final 15 minutes, with the South Africans scoring 15, making it the most contested quarter of the match. 

On Sunday, the Proteas won their first Quad Series match with a 54-51 victory over the England Roses in Invercargill, New Zealand.

Last week, they came painstakingly close to beating world numbers one and two, Australia and New Zealand.

They came within six points of beating world champions Australia, their best performance against them since 1967, and lost to New Zealand by a mere seven goals.

The Proteas will again cross swords with Fiji on Friday before heading back to South Africa. 


IOL Sport