TAURANGA, New Zealand - When the SA women’s netball team play New Zealand in their second Sanzea Quad Series match in Tauranga on Tuesday, they will take with them the memory of the Springboks’ thrilling 36-34 Rugby Championship win over the All Blacks on Saturday.
“Yes, they watched the Test and they were all very excited by the result,” said Proteas coach Norma Plummer. “I think they will definitely be inspired. And I am sure that they will defend with as much determination and courage as the Springboks did on Saturday.”
The Proteas can expect a tough match against the Silver Ferns, who are smarting after ending outside the medals in the Commonwealth Games and after losing 52-39 to the England Roses on Saturday, in front of their home crowd.
“The Silver Ferns are in the process of rebuilding under their new coach, Noeline Taurua, who took over in August from Janine Southby,” said Plummer. “I am expecting a very interesting match and it could iron out a few issues for both teams.”
Plummer said the Proteas had been disappointed by their 61-44 loss to the Australian Diamonds in the opening match in Auckland on Saturday, but had put it behind them and were focussing on the next match.
“I was not all that surprised by the outcome of the match. We have an almost entirely new centre court, and have to play without the experience of Erin Burger, Izelle Griesel, and Precious Mthembu. So players like Rome Dreyer and Jessica Khomo are getting a chance to show us what they can do,” said Plummer.
“We need to be more consistent and to handle the physicality better. I put Jessica on court on Saturday, but she became overawed by the situation and I had to take her off again. But each time they play, they will get better.”
She said the Australian league was the best in the world, and the Australian players played against each other week in, week out. “So if they have an injury, it is easy for another player to slot in, as Kelsey Browne did on debut on Saturday. It is not quite as easy for South Africa to slot in new players, but that is why competitions like the Quad Series are so important,” said Plummer.
African News Agency (ANA)