The latest news & updates from the Silver Ferns

Silver Ferns granted dispensations to contest series

The Silver Ferns have been granted an exemption from the government for four Auckland-based players to travel to Christchurch for next week’s Cadbury Netball Series against England.

Newly appointed captain Gina Crampton, vice-captain Sulu Fitzpatrick, Peta Toeava and Grace Nweke will join the rest of the squad ahead of Monday’s opening Test against England at Christchurch Arena where they will play for the Taini Jamison Trophy.

The four players travelling from Auckland to Christchurch have returned negative Covid-19 test results before departing and strict protocols remain in place at Alert Level 2 for the series.

The dispensation had to meet the highest threshold for it to be granted, and was based on a Ministry of Health assessment of public health risk and economic impact. The protocols that have been adopted by the travelling party prior to this decision have also been rigorously reviewed.

Netball New Zealand Chief Executive Jennie Wyllie said they were extremely grateful to be granted the exemption for the players to join the team for the three-Test series and were under no illusion what this meant.

“We are extremely grateful to the Ministry of Health and for the assistance of Sport New Zealand to allow these players the opportunity to be a part of the Cadbury Netball Series,” she said.

“To be able to play international sport during these times is something we don’t take for granted, so we’d like to acknowledge the work done behind the scenes from many to ensure this series can go ahead.”

There were a number of factors considered in putting in an application for an exemption including the unavailability of three members of the Silver Ferns leadership group due to injury and pregnancy and with leaders Crampton and Fitzpatrick both located in Auckland; the team would lose a vast amount of experience.

A risk of injury to players called in to replace the quartet was also considered with a limited amount of time to prepare for the international Tests, while the dates for the three-Test Cadbury Netball Series were unable to be moved as England had commitments in Australia following the series.

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua said she was pleased to have the chance to have her full squad together for the series which was a key part of their long-term planning leading into next year’s Commonwealth Games.

“We are so very grateful to be in this position of playing an international netball series against England and are looking forward to ensuring we make the most of this opportunity as we continue our build-up to the Commonwealth Games.”

The Silver Ferns and England Roses have been following Covid-19 protocols and will work under those conditions during the series.

The world champion Silver Ferns play the first Test against England on Monday, followed by matches on Wednesday 22 October and Friday 24 October.