AUSTRALIA DRAWS CHALLENGING POOL FOR COMMONWEALTH GAMES

 

Australia will have to overcome a challenging pool if it is to win its first Commonwealth Games gold medal since 2002. 

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Australia will have to overcome a challenging pool if it is to win its first Commonwealth Games gold medal since 2002.

The reigning world champions have been drawn alongside England, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Wales and Barbados in Pool B for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The draw, made overnight in Scotland, coincided with the final of the 2013 World Youth Netball Championship, where New Zealand beat Australia 52-47.

“It’s definitely the tougher half of the draw but it will provide us with a terrific opportunity to combat the different styles of netball prior to finals,” Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said

“Wales have shown great improvement especially through their involvement in the English Super League, they will be a tough competitor, while both Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados are on the rise.”

After winning the first two Commonwealth Games gold medals in 1998 Kuala Lumpur and 2002 Manchester, Australia has had settled for the silver medal in 2006 Melbourne and 2010 Delhi.

The Australian Diamonds are coming off their first ever series defeat to England after losing all three Tests in January.

South Africa, ranked sixth in the world, are African champions after beating Malawi in the final of the 2013 African Netball Championships in June.

Glasgow was host the last time Australia lost to Trinidad and Tobago, going down 51-50, 26 years ago at the 1987 World Netball Championships. Australia has lost to Trinidad and Tobago on five occasions, three times in 1978 and once in 1979 and 1987, the second most defeats to an international side after New Zealand.

Its been seven years since Australia defeated Wales 78-22 in the opening game of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne – the last time the two sides met in international netball.

Australia has contested Barbados at three of the four Commonwealth Games, winning 71-36 (1998), 75-28 (2002) and 70-27 (2006).

The Australian Diamonds will contest their last internationals before next year’s Commonwealth Games with a five-Test Constellation Cup series against the New Zealand Silver Ferns followed by a two-Test series against the Malawi Queens.

After two Tests in Invercargill and Auckland, beginning on September 15, the Constellation Cup will conclude with Tests in Adelaide (October 4), Melbourne (October 7) and Canberra (October 13).

The Diamonds will then host Malawi for the first time ever with Tests in Wollongong (October 16) and Gold Coast (October 19).

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