England tough first-up challenge for Silver Ferns

A tough test looms first up as the Silver Ferns look to put the horrors of last year behind them.

The side faces England on Monday morning as it begins the new year at the Northern Quad Series in Liverpool.

Last time the sides met, in Auckland in September, the England ran out a comprehensive 52-39 victor.

It was one of 13 losses the Silver Ferns suffered in a dismal year, in which they managed just eight wins.

However, it is a new year and, under new coach Noeline Taurua, the side showed improvements towards end of last season.

That culminated in a 55-44 win over Australia in its second-last game and just its sixth under Taurua.

The challenge now is to find that form more consistently and time is not a luxury the Ferns have. With the World Cup now just over six months away, the next week will be crucial in its build-up.

After this series, only the Taini Jamison series remains before the sport’s biggest tournament.

Midcourter Laura Langman, who was granted an exemption to return to the side late last year, knows  England will be a big match.

"England will be tough first-up and a challenge for us will be making sure we all get out there on court and switch straight into game mode," Langman said in a press release.

"This series gives us a great opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the explosive style game we want to play.

"That’s a big component of our values and the beauty of the flair and talent we have within the squad is wicked and something we want to capitalise on."

The side had a training camp in December last year, from which the squad of 12 was selected.

Former captain Katrina Rore (nee Grant) was the big omission, and Southern Steel shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit was also left out.

Gina Crampton was the only Steel player selected.

Following Monday’s game, the Silver Ferns will travel to London where they will play Australia next Sunday and South Africa a day later.

 

Northern quad series

Silver Ferns schedule

v England, Liverpool, Monday 7am

v Australia, London, Sunday 5.30am

v South Africa, London, Monday 4.30am

Squad

Shooters: Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Maria Folau, Maia Wilson

Midcourt: Gina Crampton, Laura Langman, Kimiora Poi, Sam Sinclair, Whitney Souness

Defenders: Karin Burger, Casey Kopua, Erena Mikaere, Jane Watson

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