Silver Ferns to face new competition

The Silver Ferns will open their international season against some new competition early next year.

They will face Australia, England and Uganda in a new-look Netball Nations Cup across two weekends in London and Leeds, starting January 21.

The northern hemisphere series has become a regular to start the international season, but usually features the Netball Quad Series between the Silver Ferns, Australia, England and South Africa.

However, it has been replaced in the January calendar with the Nations Cup, giving world No 7 Uganda a chance against the top three.

The She-Cranes finished fifth at the Netball World Cup in South Africa — one spot behind the Silver Ferns — and pushed teams throughout the tournament. They will also face the Diamonds for the first time on the international stage.

The Silver Ferns had a strong finish to this season, clawing back from being 2-0 down in the Constellation Cup series against Australia to win the final two games of the series on home soil.

"We always look forward to this series to start our year and it’s a great opportunity to see where we sit heading into a new four-year cycle," Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua said.

"With some new line-ups and personnel, we made incremental improvements at the tail-end of this year and will be looking to keep pushing our standards.

"These are quality teams we are going to come up against in this series, each offering varying styles, so it’s an important stepping stone for us in adapting and progressing."

The Silver Ferns will open the series against the Diamonds on January 21 in London and face the She-Cranes the following day.

They will then play the Roses the next weekend in Leeds, followed by the finals on January 29.