Photo / Sky Sport
The world champion Silver Ferns will meet current Commonwealth Games champions the Vitality Roses in Hamilton in a three-test series starting in late October this year.
“We are really excited to have the Vitality Roses come to New Zealand and we know what a significant moment this is for netball to host the first international game since Covid-19 forced changes around the world,” Netball NZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie said in a statement, acknowledging England for making the long trip to make it happen.
England, who is ranked third in the world, will arrive in New Zealand in early October and go immediately into quarantine to follow government protocols.
Vitality Roses head coach Jess Thirlby said her side was extremely excited about the prospect of a series with the Silver Ferns.
“This will be the first time the Vitality Roses have played together since January, which feels like a distant memory now,” Thirlby said.
“None of us could have been prepared for the impact Covid-19 would cause, it has meant the international calendar has been affected and the Roses have had to adapt to a new way of training for a while.
“As a team, they have pulled together through these difficult times and I’m pleased that they will now have a chance to get some more international exposure after an unsettling year and as we build towards a home Commonwealth Games. I’m incredibly proud of the team and staff for coming together with the support of England Netball during these unusual times."
The England coach said it will be a great occasion for the 'netball family'.
“I hope fans will be excited to see the Vitality Roses on their screens again after all this time, we will be there representing the netball family and are proud to say we’ll be getting our athletes back on the international stage.”
Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua said she was looking forward to preparing her side for the series.
“Credit must be given to both respective netball countries for working together to make this happen. I know it hasn’t been an easy season for the English but this series truly marks the start of the next four-year cycle for both countries towards the next Netball World Cup,” Taurua said.
“This series will be great for the game of netball. Our preparation begins in earnest with the Cadbury Netball Series, a key event in building towards the series against England.”
The three-Test Cadbury Netball Series, with the Taini Jamison Trophy on the line, sees the Silver Ferns and Vitality Roses in action at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton on Wednesday 28 October, Friday 30 October and Sunday 1 November.
“England are reigning Commonwealth Games champions and a top-class opponent. It’s pleasing to finally announce this series and we know netball fans all over the world will lock these dates into their calendars,” Wyllie said.
Ticket details will be announced soon.