England’s Vitality Roses to face NZ, live on Sky Sports

England’s Vitality Roses are heading to New Zealand for three Tests against the Silver Ferns at the end of October, and all matches will be shown live on Sky Sports.

The Cadbury Netball Series will be played at the Claudelands Arena in Hamilton and the Taini Jamison Trophy will be on the line.

The Vitality Roses, who have been following the Government’s elite return to training roadmap, will fly to New Zealand on October 8 and be required to quarantine for two weeks prior to the competition.

The team’s first Test against the Silver Ferns will be on October 28 and then they have a quick turnaround before the second Test takes place on October 30. The final Test will be on Sunday, November 1.

The tour will mark both teams’ first international netball since the Vitality Nations Cup in January and provide vital game-time as the road to the 2022 Commonwealth Games continues.

The Silver Ferns, whose players all ply their trade in the ANZ Premiership, are approaching the series off the back of a full season.

Due to Covid-19’s impact in England and the Superleague being cancelled, the Roses have not had the luxury of a full season. However, they have been able to train as a group in camp at Loughborough University during August.

Head coach Jess Thirlby will announcing the squad that will be heading to New Zealand early next week.

“The energy in the group is fantastic,” the head coach said to Sky Sports during their recent camp.

We’ve obviously got a new player group again this year and it’s so good to see how cohesive they have been from the get-go.

“I’m really proud of how they’ve gone about everything. We’ve got a big responsibility to come back as strongly as possible and look to be even stronger than before.”

Dame Noeline Taurua announced a 16-strong Silver Ferns squad and a 10-player Development squad at the end of August and Maddy Gordon is the only debutante in the main squad.

Gordon, an ANZ Premiership winner with Central Pulse, was rewarded for her standout season and will be running out alongside more established colleagues.

Ameliaranne Ekenasio, who had her first captaincy experience at any level during the Vitality Nations Cup in January, will continue to perform that role for the Silver Ferns.

Ekenasio will be supported by vice-captains Gina Crampton and Jane Watson, who was named as the ANZ Premiership Player of the Year.

This series will continue to move the world champions into a new era after a number of significant retirements.

Maria Folau, Casey Kopua and Laura Langman, who have 425 caps between them, all have called time on their careers and Phoenix Karaka will not be playing in this series as she’s expecting a child.

“Credit must be given to both respective netball countries for working together to make this happen,” Taurura said.

“I know it hasn’t been an easy season for the English but this series truly marks the start of the next four-year cycle for both countries towards the next World Cup. This series will be great for the game of netball.”

Watch the Vitality Roses’ return to an international netball court as they take on the world champions the Silver Ferns in New Zealand. Enjoy every match of the three-Test series live on Sky Sports on October 28, 30 and November 1.


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