Silver Ferns to face men's team as World Cup prep

Radio Sport, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Monday, 18 March 2019, 7:38PM
It will be a historic match for both teams. (Photo / Photosport)

The Silver Ferns are set to face the New Zealand Invitation Men's Netball team in a World Cup preparation match.

The historic game will be part of the upcoming International Netball Series, with the Silver Ferns also set to face the Fiji Pearls and an All Stars side at Pulman Arena in June.

Silver Ferns head coach Noeline Taurua said that facing the men's team would be a pleasant challenge for her side ahead of the World Cup - one which she wasn't overly confident would result in a win though.

"They're amazing when they play and we've sort of used and abused them in the past and not given them full recognition," Taurua told D'Arcy and Goran. "This is big, not only for the Silver Ferns but for our brand ... no one's ever done it before.

"The only offset to that is losing before the Worlds, possibly. More than likely they could beat us because we don't have the elevation or that same aerial gain.

"But we've gone in the past when we've absolutely smashed opposition going into the World Cup and we over-inflate what we think we are so I'm happy with it, I think it's great ... we're going to get as good quality competition as we can leading into the Worlds and that's what it's all about."

David Pala'amo, head of the New Zealand Men's Netball Association, said it was terrific for men's netball to be recognised.

"The New Zealand Men have often trained and played against the Silver Ferns leading into key events but they will now have the chance to showcase their skills to the whole country during this series which is exciting."

The matches against the New Zealand Invitation Men's team and an All Stars team - largely selected from the 2019 ANZ Premiership franchises - would also give the Silver Ferns a thorough workout in what would be their last public displays before heading to Liverpool in July.

Taurua will name her Netball World Cup side on May 23, leading into the ANZ Premiership Finals Series, while national selectors will announce the All Stars team at halftime of the ANZ Premiership's Grand Final on June 2.

In addition to the June International Series, the Silver Ferns will be back in action in October when they contest the Constellation Cup against the Australian Diamonds.

Two tests will be played in Australia while Christchurch's Horncastle Arena and Auckland's Spark Arena will host the matches on this side of the Tasman.

June Series
Wednesday 26th – Saturday 29th June
Pulman Arena, Auckland
Quadrangular-style tournament with a round-robin format culminating in a Finals Day on Saturday 29 June, featuring the Silver Ferns, Fiji, NZ Men's team and an All-Stars.