Johannesburg, South Africa - Netball South Africa (NSA) has announced a strong and experienced Protea team for the Quad Series to be played in England and South Africa later this month.
Former Under-21 player Shadine van der Merwe is the only new cap in the 12-member squad, which was announced on Friday during a training camp in Johannesburg.
Head coach of the Proteas, Norma Plummer, said she was very happy with the standards achieved by the players at the training camp.
"It's always difficult to maintain your fitness at this time of year," said Plummer.
"There was no club netball over the festive season and the players had to work on their own fitness programmes. I was very impressed with the amount of work they were able to put in. They did an excellent job of keeping fit.
"We played several matches yesterday and this morning, and with only 16 players in the training camp, they had very little time off, but were able to keep up the intensity," she said.
Plummer said she was excited about shooter Danelle Lochner, who was part of the team that went to the Quad Series in Australia and New Zealand last year.
"She was in the team for the Under-21 World Cup in Botswana last year, and was included in the training camp after the National Championships. She forced her way into the team. She is a very strong player and she doesn't back away," said Plummer.
"Another player who impressed me was Ina-Marie Venter. She is so much better than she was in the Quad Series last year. She is proof that travelling with the senior players pays off. She looks much more experienced now, and she had the best shooting figures at the training camp.
"It is also heartening to see how well Maryke Holtzhausen has recovered from her knee injury. She appears to be stronger than ever. Unfortunately, Siggie Burger did not have the match fitness she needed, but she is going to England to play in the Super League there, and we are expecting great things from her when she gets back."
The Proteas leave for London on Tuesday for the English leg of the Quad Series, where they will play the Australian Diamonds on Saturday, January 20.
The four teams then travel to South Africa for the South African leg, which will be played at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena.
The Proteas will play the New Zealand Silver Ferns on Thursday, January 25 and the England Roses on Sunday, January 28.
Protea netball team:
Bongiwe Msomi (captain), Karla Pretorius (vice-captain), Erin Burger, Izette Griesel, Maryke Holtzhausen, Danelle Lochner, Phumza Maweni, Precious Mthembu, Lenize Potgieter, Shadine van der Merwe, Ina-Marie Venter, Zanele Vimbela