Netball Proteas sail into World Cup semi-finals
South Africa reached the Netball World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 24 years after coasting to a 67-40 victory over Uganda in Liverpool on Wednesday evening.
The Proteas continued to ooze confidence as they recorded their fifth consecutive victory at the global showpiece to march on to Saturday’s playoffs in the hope of winning their maiden world title.
South Africa defied the odds to reach the final at the 1995 Netball World Championship in Birmingham, where they won the silver medal after losing to Australia in the final.
Led by captain Bongi Msomi, the Proteas have one more group assignment against Commonwealth Games champions and hosts England on Thursday evening (9pm SA time start).
Although they have secured a semi-final place, they will be looking to beat the English Roses to set up a clash against the second-placed team in the other group.
Proteas coach Norma Plummer made her intentions clear on Wednesday by sending her best possible starting seven to seal a semi-final berth.
Shooters Lenize Potgieter and Maryka Holtzhausen had another excellent night in the circle.
The Uganda She Cranes gave the Proteas a good go in their previous meeting at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where the South Africans claimed an 11-goal victory over their continental counterparts.
But the Proteas were ruthless in their execution this time around, racing to an early 19-10 lead after the opening 15 minutes of the tussle.
Uganda made inroads in the second quarter ever so slightly, with South Africa not scoring with as much ease as they did in the opening stanza.
The Uganda She Cranes won the second quarter 13-12, but South Africa nevertheless went into the halftime break with a seven-point lead.
Plummer gave Msomi a bit of a breather in the third quarter, with Izette Griesel taking her place in the wing attack position.
South Africa started to lose some of their rhythm, with the Ugandans chipping away at their lead.
The Proteas found some composure in the latter part of the third quarter once again, pulling away from their African counterparts. They won the quarter 15-10 to go into the final decisive period with a 10-point lead.
Msomi returned to the court in the final period with the centre bib, with Erin Burger spending time on the bench.
South Africa pulled away from Uganda in the final quarter, opening a 27-point margin for a resounding victory in the end.