The Vitality Nations Cup begins this week with England, South Africa, New Zealand and Jamaica all taking to court over four match-days in three cities across England.
The four-nation tournament marks the first Test netball being played on English soil since last year’s Netball World Cup and all eight matches will be shown live on Sky Sports.
The competition commences in Nottingham before moving to Birmingham for the second match-day. The final weekend, including the placing matches on January 26, will be held at the iconic Copper Box Arena in London.
With a wealth of netball news since the culmination of last July’s World Cup competition, we run the rule over every nation involved…
England’s Vitality Roses
Fixtures: New Zealand (Jan 19), South Africa (Jan 22) and Jamaica (Jan 25)
What’s New: After tours to Australia and Zealand, plus their Tests in South Africa, new head coach Jess Thirlby is preparing to lead a Roses side on English soil for the first time.
As was the case for their previous Tests, they will be without the likes of Jo Harten, Serena Guthrie, Helen Housby and Geva Mentor, but the highly-experienced Chelsea Pitman returns to their attack-end.
Prior to each match-day, the head coach will slim down her 14-player squad to 12 and all will know they must hit the ground running due to a meeting with the world champions on day one.
ЪЈ┤заЂДзаЂбзаЂЦзаЂ«заЂДзаЂ┐ ALL THREE TESTS ЪЄ┐ЪЄдYou can watch all of @EnglandNetball's matches in South Africa back in full at our #YouTube streams below. Enjoy!1РЃБ: https://t.co/YuXqglHzbv2РЃБ: https://t.co/ZMoETwy7PK3РЃБ: https://t.co/uMsp4mxzBs pic.twitter.com/PnPvUi45TN
— Sky Sports Netball (@SkyNetball) December 2, 2019
Coach’s Comments: “I can’t wait. I think it’s a privilege to play in front of a home crowd. I’m sure that we will all embrace that and really feel the support from the crowd. I think we’re going to see the best of this group to close this initial international period before we build again. I’ve got tonnes of information to go on and this is just another opportunity to see a slightly different group again.”
Player to Watch: In England’s defensive end during their three-Test tour of South Africa, Stacey Francis was a ball of energy. With the shooting line-ups in this competition, Thirlby will be looking for Francis’ experience and knowledge to come to the fore. Also, keep a watchful eye on captain Natalie Haythornthwaite. She led by example in South Africa and will be inspired to add another 10 or 20 per cent to her game back on home soil.
Squad: Eleanor Cardwell, George Fisher, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Kadeen Corbin, Natalie Haythornthwaite (Captain), Laura Malcolm (Vice-Captain), Amy Carter, Natalie Panagarry, Jade Clarke, Chelsea Pitman, Fran Williams, Razia Quashie, Kate Shimmin and Stacey Francis.