Dame Noeline Taurua has named her 12-player squad for the Cadbury Series against England’s Vitality Roses, which is live on Sky Sports this week.
The head coach has included just one uncapped player in the form of shooter Monica Falkner, who returns after successfully returning from a ruptured ACL.
Falkner joins captain, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, and Maia Wilson in the Silver Ferns’ shooting end. The talented teenager Grace Nweke has been named as a training partner for the series, which starts on Wednesday morning in Hamilton.
New Zealand vs England’s Vitality Roses – Live on Sky Sports
“Monica has shown her desire to be here and wear the black dress,” Taurua said. “We’ve been really pleased with what she has put out on court and what she brings to our shooting circle.”
Upon announcing her 12-player squad, New Zealand’s head coach also took the opportunity to praise the series as a whole and the Vitality Roses’ commitment to it.
“I think this series is a significant moment for netball globally in what has been one of the most challenging seasons,” she said.
“To be able to play the first international netball Test match post-COVID is testimony to the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes and from a wide group of athletes.
A huge achievement @JessThirlby @EnglandNetball @NetballNZ making international netball possible & fighting for our opportunity to play when it was feared women’s sport could be cancelled this year! You’ll be leading us all the way whether in UK or NZ 👊🌹 https://t.co/c8gXjbD8X0
“I would like to pay kudos to the Roses, who have committed to this series especially factoring in travel and quarantining, it shows a massive commitment to our sport.”
The Silver Ferns’ build-up to the series has been a strong one, which has featured two training camps and matches against the New Zealand U21s, A-side and the national men’s team.
“It’s been amazing to have seen so many players competing in that cauldron of high performance,” she said.
“There have certainly been players who have grasped that opportunity with both hands and absorbed as much as they can to be able to put their best foot forward.”
Silver Ferns’ Squad
Alongside a potential international debut for Falkner, Sam Winders returns to the squad after missing out on last year’s World Cup and the subsequent Constellation Cup.
Bailey Mes, Katrina Rore, Temalisi Fakahokotau and Te Paea Selby-Rickit all are remaining in managed programmes with the Silver Ferns medical team, and are expected to resume international duties in early 2021.
The first Test takes place on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Main Event and Mix from 6am, with the second and third Tests taking place on Friday and Sunday.
Silver Ferns: Karin Burger, Gina Crampton, Ameliaranne Ekenasio (captain), Monica Falkner, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Kelly Jury, Claire Kersten, Shannon Saunders, Whitney Souness, Jane Watson, Sam Winders and Maia Wilson
Live netball returns to Sky Sports with the Vitality Roses taking on the Silver Ferns in a three-Test series in Hamilton. Join us for the first Test on Wednesday from 6am on Sky Sports Main Event and Mix.
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