Alexander: ‘We will not underestimate the Proteas’

Date: Tuesday 31 January
Time: 7.00pm SAST centre pass
Venue: Durban International Convention Centre, Durban
Broadcast: 9Gem from 3.50am AEDT Wednesday 1 February

The Diamonds will face Norma Plummer’s South African SPAR Proteas in Durban, in front of a noisy South African crowd in their second Test of the Netball Quad Series.

Coach Lisa Alexander has challenged the Australians to win every quarter, a target they did not achieve against New Zealand.

The Proteas cannot be underestimated, after fighting back from an 11-goal deficient against the England Roses, to draw at fulltime in their opening game.

The two teams last met at the 2016 Netball Quad Series in Auckland, where Diamonds were victorious 68 goals to 43.

Caitlin Thwaites is on track to score her 500th international goal, the shooter only one goal away from reaching the milestone. Her combination with Susan Pettitt was strong in their opening test, Pettitt returning to the green in gold for the first time in four years.

Watch out for the match up between Proteas’ Lindie Lombard on April Brandley. It was Lombard’s sharp shooting and energy that spirited the South African’s to their comeback against England. Brandley performed well in stifling New Zealand stalwart Maria Tutaia and will be out to do the same against Lombard.

Caitlyn Nevins impressed on debut in the first Test under immense pressure; will she get another opportunity on court in Test two? Will Courtney Bruce make her first international appearance in this must-win game?

Tune in to watch the first test of 2017 live on 9Gem or 9Now at 3.50am AEDT on Wednesday 1 February. The replay will be available on 9Now.

From the coach:

“We built a strong foundation in our first outing, but did not achieve our goal of winning every quarter. To improve our performance we cannot rest on our laurels. Leading into our second test, we will continue to focus on our own game, both technically and tactically. We’ll look at our pace and transition down the court, and how we can change this up to our advantage.

“We will not underestimate the Proteas, who have been building on every performance. They challenged England in their first hit out and could not be separated at the end of regular time. Rest assured they will be out to test us. Norma Plummer was my predecessor and I have the utmost respect for her. Plummer also has an innate knowledge of the Australian style of play.”

Fast Facts:

  • Caitlin Thwaites is one goal away from recording her 500th international goal for Australia.
  • Australia’s average winning margin against South Africa is 34 goals.
  • Courtney Bruce is yet to debut for Australia, should she take to court she will be the 172nd player to represent Australia.