Johannesburg, South Africa – The SPAR Proteas have a long history against the Commonwealth Games champions, England, and while England has beaten South Africa on most occasions, the much-improved Proteas will be looking forward to their encounter at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool in July.
They are not in the same group for the preliminary stages, but are likely to meet in the group stages of the tournament.
The SPAR Proteas have had a mixed history against the England Roses in World Cups. The teams have met seven times, with England winning five of those matches, and South Africa two.
In their first encounter, in the group stages of the first World Netball Tournament, as it was called then, in the English seaside town of Eastbourne, England achieved a comprehensive 47-29 victory over South Africa. England finished third in the competition and South Africa came sixth.
However, at the next Netball World Cup, in Perth Australia, the South Africans had their revenge, squeaking home by 30 goals to 29, also in the group stages. South Africa went on to finish third in the tournament, one place ahead of England.
That was South Africa’s last appearance at a Netball World Cup for 27 years, because of the international sports boycott imposed in response to the South African regime’s apartheid policy. South Africa returned to international netball in 1995, after the first democratic elections in 1994.
The Proteas had a triumphant return to international netball at the World Netball Championships in Birmingham in 1995. In their group stage match against England, the South Africans crushed their opponents by 77 goals to 54. South Africa then surprised everyone by getting to the final, where Australia won 66-48.
In 1999, at the World Netball Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, the England Roses beat the SPAR Proteas 44-42 in the quarterfinal. England finished third and South Africa fifth.
Four years later, in Kingston, Jamaica, England once again beat the SPAR Proteas in the quarterfinal, by 44 goals to 41. England finished fourth and South Africa fifth in the tournament.
The SPAR Proteas did not fare well against England in 2007, in Auckland, New Zealand, where the Roses won 62-32 in their group stage match. England once again finished fourth, while South Africa dropped to sixth place.
The two teams did not meet at the 2011 World Netball Championship in Singapore, where England finished third and South Africa fifth.
In 2015, at the Netball World Cup in Sydney (the fourteenth staging of the tournament previously until 2011 known as the World Netball Championships), England beat South Africa 62-46 in a group stage match. England once again won the bronze medal and South Africa finished fifth, after beating Malawi in the play-offs.
Both teams go into the 2019 INF Netball World Cup brimming with confidence. In 2016, England broke the Australian stranglehold on major titles by winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal and the SPAR Proteas have shown in recent Quad Series tournaments that they are a force to be reckoned with. A highlight of the last Quad Series in the United Kingdom was the SPAR Proteas’ thrilling 48-45 victory over the Commonwealth champions.