Sydney- Nerves got the
better of the Proteas on Wednesday night as the Australian Diamonds
dominated them 66-31 in their qualifying match at the Netball World Cup in
The Diamonds, who
have won all 32 encounters between the teams, came out hard from the start, and
were 11 goals up before the Proteas scored their first goal. The South Africans
looked jittery and reverted to their old ways, with long, looping passes which
the Diamonds intercepted with ease. At the end of the first quarter,
Australia were 23-5 ahead.
Coach Norma Plummer
made a few changes and the Proteas looked more settled in the second quarter,
but the Diamonds continued to overwhelm them. The turnovers the South
African defenders achieved were lost on their way into the Proteas’ circle, and
the Diamonds had a 38-12 lead at half-time.
Plummer obviously had
stern words with the team, because they were much better in the second half,
going back to the short, sharp passes Plummer has been calling for. Australia won the quarter by 16 goals to nine. In the final quarter, the
Proteas had more intercepts and turnovers than the Australians, and lost the
quarter by only two goals (12-10).
“It was a bit
disappointing, especially in the first half. A couple of the players just let
the ball go into no man’s land. They weren’t even processing,” said
“But that’s nerves.
That’s being worried about playing the opposition, the number one team, and I
thought that as we got further into the game, they played a little better.
She said her message
to the players before the match had been that they had nothing to lose, so they
could relax and take it up to them.
“You learn more from
your defeats than from your wins,” she said.
However, Plummer said
it was essential for some of the Proteas to play in the ANZ league, which is
the best competition in the world, if they were to improve.
Holtzhausen conceded that the players had lost focus in the early stages of the
“At halftime we
decided that we just had to focus on playing the ball and play our own game and
it worked better the moment we started getting the ball into the spaces,” she
“I think the biggest
thing we’ll take out of this match is how much we still need to improve. I think there were some great passages of play, but sometimes our ball
placement and giving the ball to the wrong person let us down. We saw in
the first half that we can’t play the overhead ball, because it went out of
court numerous times. We need to start playing the short ball into the
South Africa have the
day off on Thursday before meeting England on Friday afternoon. They have
to beat England to qualify for the semi-finals.