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Silver Ferns Netball World Cup team named

Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua has named a 12-strong team, featuring the return of defenders Katrina Rore and Phoenix Karaka, midcourter Shannon Saunders and shooter Bailey Mes, to contest the 2019 Netball World Cup (NWC) in Liverpool in July.

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) National Selectors and Taurua confirmed the Silver Ferns team, to be captained by midcourter Laura Langman, on a day that marks just 50 days to go until the first whistle is blown at the 15th staging of the Netball World Cup.

Former captain Rore is the fourth most capped Silver Fern in history having competed at two Netball World Cups (2011, 2015), and has earned a recall after leading the Central Pulse to host the ANZ Premiership Grand Final (3 June).

The 1.86m defender has the ability to cover all three defensive roles and has formed a strong combination with Karin Burger who has been named to play at her first Netball World Cup.

Karaka (19 Test caps) was part of the 2015 Netball World Cup team that won silver. Karaka last played for the Silver Ferns in January 2018 and has had a strong defensive season as captain of the Northern Mystics, regaining her dynamic form post a concussion which saw her miss four games as a precaution.

Mystics team-mate Mes (63 Test caps) has also been selected for a strong second half showing in the ANZ Premiership where she showcased her athletic ability on attack and rebounding. Her versatility to play all three positions provides the Ferns with back up options in both shooting and midcourt areas.

Saunders, who made her debut in 2013 and last played for the Silver Ferns in 2018, has been a hard working centre for the Southern Steel and also has long-standing links with dynamic midcourter Gina Crampton.

“We have five athletes who have been on the outer, faced their so called demons and yet have been open to take on feedback, better their skillset and continued to push themselves” Taurua said.

“I look for players who can do the job in the first instance, connections and playing combinations, and then personal qualities. The players who have been recalled to wear the Silver Fern again demonstrates to me passion for our game, fight, fortitude, tenacity and work ethic. The Silver Ferns needs to be a team that can emulate those same qualities.”

Taurua said she wanted to acknowledge the work done by players in New Zealand’s ANZ Premiership who played a role in finding the World Cup team.

“It has certainly been a tough selection process. There are so many great players who have not been selected. I do feel for them.

“We couldn’t have got to this point without the work that has gone on behind the scenes.

“We feel we have a good mix of athletes who provide versatility, experience, leadership, drive and hunger to compete against the best in the game.

“They are all fit and that’s a good start. We can finally commence our work and build the team leading into World Cup. It’s been a long time coming.”

The side includes five Netball World Cup debutantes in Karin Burger, Gina Crampton, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Jane Watson.

Former captain Casey Kopua will be competing at her fourth and final Netball World Cup while Maria Folau and Langman are also lining up for a fourth shot at the sport’s pinnacle event.

The Silver Ferns play five pool games back-to-back before a rest day which will be followed by one more pool match before teams then head into the semi-finals and final.

Silver Ferns Team:

Karin Burger (Pulse), Gina Crampton (Steel), Ameliaranne Ekenasio (Pulse), Maria Folau (Thunderbirds), Phoenix Karaka (Mystics), Casey Kopua (Magic), Laura Langman (captain, Lightning), Bailey Mes (Mystics), Katrina Rore (Pulse), Shannon Saunders (Steel), Te Paea Selby-Rickit (Steel), Jane Watson (Tactix).

New Zealand fans will get an opportunity to see the Silver Ferns in action during the International Series at Pulman Arena in Auckland from June 26-29 where they play the Fiji Pearls, New Zealand Invitational Men’s team and an All Stars side as part of their build-up to the Netball World Cup.

The Netball World Cup will be held in Liverpool from July 12-21 where the Silver Ferns will begin their campaign against the Malawi Queens on Friday 12 July at 8pm (NZ time).

All Netball World Cup games will be broadcast LIVE on SKY Sport.

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