South Africa

Silver Ferns too strong for Proteas

2015-07-28 19:12
NZ v SA (Michael Bradley/Netball New Zealand)

Cape Town- Norma Plummer, the Proteas Netball coach, said that winning against New Zealand was never the priority.

The experience about playing the world No 2-ranked Silver Ferns was far more important on the eve of the World Cup to be played in Sydney next month.

Experimentation was again the focus as the Proteas, like the Silver Ferns, used their final hit out before the World Cup to further assess various combinations during the second of two Tests played at the Trusts Arena in Auckland on Tuesday.

Just 10 days out from South Africa’s opening World Cup match against Malawi in Sydney, South Africa struggled against a dominating Silver Ferns outfit that gave their full 12-strong squad a run and convincingly beat Plummer's Proteas 67-28 for the second time in three days.

In the final quarter the Proteas were only able to score four goals which was of concern to Plummer.

“I’m a little concerned about the fitness of my team. We have time to work on that and make sure that all the girls are in shape come Sydney.”

Plummer said that despite the scoreline she needed to expose the players and work the combinations against New Zealand.

“After just three weeks of working with the girls I have learnt their likes and dislikes and told the Proteas going into tonight’s Test they had nothing to lose”.

Plummer admitted that she and her charges learnt more from today’s Test compared to last Sunday's Test in Hamilton.

“We had a decent first half tonight but lacked the consistency which we will need to work on. The talent is there it just now needs to stand up.”

The Silver Ferns were a different outfit on Tuesday compared to Sunday where the Proteas had them worried especially in the second quarter where the scores were level.

On Sunday Lenize Potgieter the star Under-21 South African shooter was on song and so much so that the Silver Ferns coach, Waimarama Taumaunu labeled Potgieter as “the secret weapon the in South African armoury.”

But on Tuesday the Silver Ferns were prepared for Potgieter who had in the first Test beaten the world’s top defender Casey Kopua.

Potgieter's sparkling performance in the first Test forced the Silver Ferns to double team Potgieter to deny Potgieter access to the ball. Plummer acknowledged the talent and strength of Potgieter to her side but said that South Africa could not rely only on Potgieter and had to make sure all the rest of the team rose to the occasion.

New Zealand also put on a midcourt press using five defenders in the middle third which took away from the South African attacking space. But unfortunately the Proteas did not have the experience of being defended in that manner in a zone defence style despite getting through in patches.

Plummer believes the determination is in the Proteas side but her girls are lacking the knowledge of how to compete in that type of zone.

“We will get there. I reiterate I wish I could have worked longer with the Proteas but haven’t had the luxury of doing so but my coaching staff and I will put in every effort over the next few days to install as much knowledge into the team so that they can improve to another level or two.”

Despite her side inflicting the heavy defeat on the Proteas, Taumaunu gave full praise to her opposition.

“South Africa have made a significant improvement since we last played them in 2012. Their ball retention has vastly improved and they have a talented team especially the goal shooter Lenize Potgieter. South Africa will be a force to reckon with in Sydney.”

The Proteas will now remain in Auckland for an intensive training camp until the depart for Sydney on Monday, August 3.

Read more on:    netball

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