Silver Ferns to host England next month in Ōtautahi

By Marena Mane

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua is delighted international netball can continue despite the pandemic.

The Silver Ferns will play the English netball side, The Vitality Roses, in a three-match Cadbury netball series in Christchurch next month.

Following this, the English side will prepare to extend their tour across the Tasman with a series against the Australian Diamonds.

The latest Covid-19 outbreak has added a great deal of complexity to organising the test series, according to Netball New Zealand chief executive Jennie Wyllie, who is working closely with the government, Sport NZ, and Health Performance Sport NZ to organise the tour and the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

“The health and safety of our players, administrators, and fans is our priority and we will continue to follow all government guidance,” Wyllie says.

Despite training camps being organised in preparation for the matches against England, Taurua says they too are all in lockdown and are waiting to see what happens with the alert levels, which will determine what the plan will be leading up to the match.

“We're positive and lucky in some respect that we do have netball on the horizon, England's on the shore. That's a fantastic start for us so we will be prepped as much as we can, leading to the test.”

Taurua says vaccinations for the players is a work in progress, especially for the players who will attend the Constellation Cup in Australia, which is scheduled for October, and says that the health and well-being of her players are paramount, not only as individuals but also as a group.

“Vaccinations will be imperative for us to be able to move forward, but also respecting the individuals in their own choices as well so you know those discussions are happening and it's a very fine balancing act,” she says.

Matches are scheduled on Monday, September 20, Wednesday, September 22, and Friday, September 24, and will all be held in the Christchurch Arena to reduce the risk of travel for all participants.

If and when Christchurch is placed on Alert Level 1, tickets will be distributed, and all matches will be televised live on Sky Sport and Sky Sport Now.