Sydney - “So near and
yet so far,” sighed centre Erin Burger, after England beat the Proteas
62-46 in their last qualifying match at the Netball World Cup in Sydney on
South Africa looked a
different team from the one that lost 66-31 to world champions Australia on
The Proteas came out fighting and at one stage were three
goals ahead of England early in the first quarter. But England regained control
and by the end of the quarter, were 16-8 ahead.
The Proteas stuck
to the game plan of short, sharp passes instead of the long looping passes they
had resorted to against Australia and the tactic worked well, keeping them in
In the second
quarter, England outscored the Proteas by just three goals, and were 32-18
ahead at half-time.
dominated in the third quarter, which they won 15-14.
Coach Norma Plummer
replaced wing attack Bongi Msomi with Izette Lubbe. Msomi, normally one
of the stars of the team, had an off night, and lost a number of balls with
poor passes, but Lubbe added stability to the team with her physical presence.
Maryke Holtzhausen scored some audacious goals from near the edge of the circle
and 21-year-old Lenise Potgieter continued to impress, scoring 35 goals from 38
South African hopes
were raised after the impressive third quarter, but the damage had been done in
the first quarter, and although the Proteas fought hard to the end, they were
unable to overcome the deficit.
Plummer said she was
very proud of the team after their performances against the world No 1
and the world No 3 teams.
“They were very
nervous the other day against Australia, but we got into it from the first
whistle today,” she said.
“Bongi had a bit of
an up-and-down game. I can’t put my finger on why, but it gave me the
opportunity to put Izette out there. She did a marvelous job, because she
was able to take physical knocks and she lifted the team. I think she
made the difference in the third quarter.”
Plummer said she was
very proud that South Africa has the highest number of intercepts in the
tournament so far with goal defence Karla Mostert the highest interceptor.
“She’s an excellent
player and I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to coach her,” she
South Africa finished
third in their group and will play Uganda on Saturday to determine who will
play in the fifth/sixth place playoff on Sunday. If they win, they are likely to
play Malawi, in a repeat of the last World Cup, where South Africa finished
“Uganda are not going
to be easy, because they have been improving throughout the tournament,” said
believe we can beat them.”