Silver Ferns to meet Malawi in World Cup opener
The Silver Ferns will meet the fast-improving Malawi in the opening match of the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool next July.
With the final list of 16 teams – defined by world rankings and regional qualifiers – now confirmed, the draw, which highlights a new format for the July 12 – 21 event, has been completed.
Teams will compete in three stages at the tournament: Preliminaries Stage One from July 12-14, Preliminaries Stage Two from July 15-18 and the play-offs and placings matches from July 19-21.
With their unique style, Malawi have caused plenty of headaches for a number of teams in recent years, including the Silver Ferns who they managed to record an upset win over at this year’s Commonwealth Games.
However, Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua has welcomed the opportunity to play the sixth-ranked Malawi in the tournament opener.
“Malawi are a great team and playing them first-up means we have to be really well prepared and ready to go from day one,” she said.
“We have to start the tournament as we mean to finish it. Having a top-quality opponent in our first game will set the tone and that means getting our campaign under way with a positive and decisive start. We’ll need to be at the top of our game against them and that’s what we’re working towards.”
In the Preliminaries Stage One, four groups of four teams will contest a round robin format, teams being assigned to their group by seeding based on their world rankings. The top eight teams are pre-assigned to groups, with one team from the 9th-12th seeds and one from the 13th-16th seeds drawn randomly into each group.
The top three finishers in each group will then progress to the Preliminaries Stage Two to compete for the title.
In the second stage of the competition, from July 15-18, the top three teams from groups A and B will form group F, and the top three teams from groups C and D will form group G. The bottom four finishers from groups A-D will compete for 13th-16th places in group E.
Where teams in groups F and G have already played each other in the Preliminaries Stage One (i.e. A1 has already played A2 and A3), these results will carry through to the Preliminaries Stage Two.
In the final play-offs and placings stage, July 19-21, the teams finishing first and second in groups F and G will go through to the semi-finals, with the top-placed team in each group facing the second placed team in the other group. The winners of each semi-final will compete for gold in the final, with the losers playing for bronze.
The teams finishing third and fourth in groups F and G will compete for final positions fifth to eighth. The teams that finish fifth in groups F and G will play off for ninth and 10th places. The teams that finish last in groups F and G will play off for 11th and 12th place.
The top two teams from group E will play off for 13th and 14th place and the bottom two teams will play off for 15th and 16th place.
Preliminary Stage One groups to contest the 15th edition of the Netball World Cup:
Group A: Australia, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka.
Group B: New Zealand, Malawi, Barbados, Singapore.
Group C: Jamaica, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji.
Group D: England, Uganda, Scotland, Samoa.