Silver Ferns start new era at Nations Cup
The inaugural Vitality Netball Nations Cup tournament in England offers the perfect launching pad for a new-look Silver Ferns to kick-start their next four-year cycle.
Without the experienced heads of Laura Langman and Katrina Rore (on a sabbatical break from this tour) and Casey Kopua and Maria Folau (both retired), core familiar faces will be missing but some things will remain exactly the same when the world champions head to England on Monday.
“Despite it being early in the season for us, my expectations of them are high,” Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua said.
“We have enough in our make-up to keep things simple and that’s all that needs to happen.
“It may not be flash but we’ve got enough in our repertoire to know what we need to do. Execution is really important and that may be a wee bit off with regards to timing but overall, intensity and intention should still be at the level that is required to be a Silver Fern.”
After taking the netball world by storm to sensationally win last year’s Netball World Cup, the Silver Ferns will open the Nations Cup tournament, which includes teams with three quite different styles, against hosts England on January 20 (NZ time) followed by matches against Jamaica and South Africa ahead of final place play-offs.
“All these teams have undergone change so there’s a bit of uncertainty in regards to analysis in what you’re coming up against but the good thing is, we’re all in the same boat,” Taurua said.
“So, it’s going to be about who can execute best under pressure and in that respect, nothing changes.
“This is the beginning of a new cycle but we’re still building on what we’ve done before. It’s not a clean slate or about growing players. The 12 selected players have been in the frame and been part of the wider group, so they know the messages and philosophies as well as those who were picked for the Netball World Cup.
“Even though we haven’t got certain personnel who have driven some of those things through their leadership skills, now is a new era for others to step up and take over the mantle. It’s not something that’s come out of the blue but something we have been working on since I’ve been involved.”
With Langman taking a break, an in-depth process has been underway in recent weeks to determine the next Silver Ferns captain who will be named ahead of the opening match of the Nations Cup.
Taurua is delighted to have her former Wellington and Silver Ferns team-mate Gail Parata, who has returned to New Zealand after a six-year stint as coach of Scotland, on board as her assistant for the Nations Cup.
“It’s massive to have her back with her experience and what she learnt while being based in Scotland,” Taurua said.
“With her knowledge of players in the UK, having Gail returning to the Northern Hemisphere with the Silver Ferns is going to be advantageous for us.
“She’s a head coach, she’s done the grind and that’s really valuable.”
VITALITY NETBALL NATIONS CUP
Monday 20 January at 6am (NZT)
Silver Ferns v England
Thursday 23 January at 6.30am (NZT)
Silver Ferns v Jamaica
Sunday 26 January at 3.30am (NZT)
Silver Ferns v South Africa
Monday 27 January from 3.30am (NZT)
3rd v 4th & 1st v 2nd
SILVER FERNS TEAM
Karin Burger, Gina Crampton, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Phoenix Karaka, Bailey Mes, Kimiora Poi, Shannon Saunders, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson, Whitney Souness, Jane Watson, Maia Wilson.
Reserve: Samantha Winders (nee Sinclair)