Johannesburg, South Africa – The SPAR Netball Proteas get their 2018-2019 Sanzea Quad Series campaign under way on Saturday morning when they take on the Australian Diamonds in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Quad Series is an annual competition involving the national teams from Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa. They are four of the top five teams in world netball. The Quad Series was launched in 2015 and has grown from strength to strength with each succeeding year.
The Quad Series has been particularly important to South Africa, giving the SPARProteas the opportunity to play against the world’s best teams. They have gained valuable experience and the competition has also provided players with an opportunity to showcase their skills. Since the start of the Quad Series, a number of players have been recruited to play for teams in the Australian, New Zealand and England netball leagues. Those players have returned to the national team with increased confidence and skills they have been able to pass on to their teammates.
“It is very important for our players to play at the top level as often as possible,” said national coach Norma Plummer, who coached Australia to two World Cup gold medals.
“Australia and New Zealand play Tests against each other all the time, whereas the SPARProteas don’t get enough opportunities to play international matches. So the Quad Series gives them the chance to test themselves against the best in the world.
“You can see the benefits in the scoreline. We used to lose by 30 or 40 goals, but we have narrowed the gap dramatically to one or two goals.
“There are also changes in world netball – England beat Australia in the final at the Commonwealth Games, and New Zealand finished outside the medals for the first time. This is not because though they are going backwards, but because the other teams are catching up,” said Plummer.
“As always, I haven’t had enough time with the team, but I am very happy with the work they have put in on their own. Their fitness level is good and I am very pleased with their work ethic.”
The SPAR Proteas can expect a tough match on Saturday morning, with Australia determined to show that their loss in the Commonwealth Games final was just a blip.
The match will be played at 4am South African time Their next match is against the New Zealand Silver Ferns in Tauranga, New Zealand, at 9.30 am (SA time) on Tuesday September 18. The third match is against the England Roses in Melbourne, Australia, at 3 am (SA times) on Sunday, September 23. All three matches will be televised live on Supersport 10.