Former Celtic Dragons and Manchester Thunder Netball Superleague player Sara Hale has been appointed head coach of the Wales team.
Hale, who won 87 caps on defence for Wales during her playing days, said: “I am honoured to be appointed Wales Head Coach. Having the opportunity to lead your country is the pinnacle of any coach’s career.
“It’s been an ambition of mine for a long time and I am thrilled to be able to make the dream a reality. I am looking forward to working with this exciting, dedicated group of athletes, and leading them through the next stage of their development ahead of the Commonwealth Games and Word Cup.”
Hale has been working with the Wales squad since joining the senior coaching staff in October 2018 and helped guide Wales through seven successive international test matches without defeat.
That record includes winning a silver medal at the 2019 Netball Europe Open Championship in Belfast.
Hale was integral to the selection process for the 2019-20 Wales senior long squad and led preparations for Wales’ training matches against New Zealand and South Africa before the Vitality Nations Cup in January.
Sarah Jones, Welsh Netball chief executive, says: “We are thrilled to have appointed someone of the quality and calibre of Sara.
“Sara enjoyed a distinguished playing career in elite international netball and demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities during her time on court.
“As a coach, she has worked with and learned from the best and her work with the squad has already yielded some fantastic results with Wales storming back into the world’s top 10 nations.
“To have a successful Welsh woman of such extraordinary talent in charge of the Wales senior team is a source of enormous pride for the national governing body, our athletes, members and public.
“We are confident Sara, her fellow management team and our players will be enjoying even further success as we move into a critical year with qualification for Birmingham 2022 on the horizon.”
Hale represented Wales at two Commonwealth Games – Manchester (2002), Melbourne (2006) – as well as at three World Championships, in Jamaica (2003), New Zealand (2007) and Singapore (2011) where she captained the side.
Hale played for Celtic Dragons from 2005 to 2013, leading the franchise to the 2013 Superleague final and won the title with Manchester Thunder in 2014 before retiring from playing.
2020 senior Wales squad
Chloe James (Pontardawe)
Beca Hughes (Mold)
Morganne Dunne (Premier Romans)
Eleanor Roberts (Celtic Dragons)
Georgia Rowe (Severn Stars)
Lydia Hitchings (Cardiff Met; Team Bath Toucans)
Sarie Watkins (CTK)
Zoe Matthewman (Loughborough Lightning u21)
Beth Dyke (Severn Stars)
Suzy Drane (Team Bath Toucans)
Clare Jones (Hucclecote)
Shona O’Dwyer (Celtic Dragons)
Rebecca Baker (Team Bath Toucans)
Celyn Emmanuel (Hertfordshire Mavericks)
Beth Johnson (Cardiff Met; Team Bath u21)
Ellie Merriman (Celtic Dragons u19)
Ellen Morgan (Hucclecote; Severn Stars u21)
Leila Thomas (Celtic Dragons)
Nia Jones (Severn Stars)
Lucy Howells (Celtic Dragons)
Ella Porter (Millfield)
Millie Carter (Ystrad Mynach)
Wiktoria Rejniak (Merlins)
Fern Davies (Team Bath)
Megan Baker Rees (Heath Angels)
Carys Allen (Cardiff Met Uni)
Chantelle Walker Jones (Central)
Cardiff-based Celtic Dragons have just started their Vitality Netball Superleague season, losing 44-43 against Surrey Storm on Saturday, , and they are at home against Team Bath this Saturday.
Celtic Dragons 2020 Squad:
Shooters: Amy Clinton, Rhian Evans, Brittany Coleman, Rebekah Robinson
Midcourt: Sophie Morgan, Shona O’Dwyer, Paige Kindred, Eleri Michael, Laura Burton
Defence: Dee Bolakoro, Abby Tyrrell, Latanya Wilson, Lucy Howells, Annie O’Rourke
Vitality Netball Superleague
Celtic Dragons fixtures 2020 (19 regular season rounds)
Saturday 22: Celtic Dragons 43, Surrey Storm 44
Saturday 29: Celtic Dragons v Team Bath (Archers Arena in Cardiff Metropolitan University Cyncoed Campus, 6.30pm)
Monday 9: London Pulse v Celtic Dragons (Copper Box Arena, 7pm)
Monday 16: Celtic Dragons v Strathclyde Sirens (Sports Wales National Centre, 7pm)
Saturday 21: Manchester Thunder v Celtic Dragons (Belle Vue, 5pm)
Saturday 28: Celtic Dragons v Saracens Mavericks (Sports Wales National Centre, 4pm)
Monday 6: Severn Stars v Celtic Dragons (Gloucester University, 7pm)
Friday 10: Loughborough Lightning v Celtic Dragons (Sir David Wallace Arena, 7pm)
Monday 13: Celtic Dragons v Loughborough Lightning (Sport Wales National Centre, 7pm)
Saturday 18: Surrey Storm v Celtic Dragons (Surrey Sports Park, 6pm)
Saturday 25: Celtic Dragons v Wasps (Viola Arena, 4pm)
Wednesday 29: Team Bath v Celtic Dragons (Team Bath Arena, 7.30pm)
Saturday 2: Celtic Dragons v London Pulse (Viola Arena, 4pm)
Saturday 9: Strathclyde Sirens v Celtic Dragons (Emirates Arena, 2pm)
Saturday 16: Celtic Dragons v Manchester Thunder (Sport Wales National Centre, 4pm)
Saturday 23: Saracens Mavericks v Celtic Dragons (Hertfordshire Sports Village, 4pm)
Saturday 30: Celtic Dragons v Severn Stars (Sport Wales National Centre, 4pm)
Saturday 6: Celtic Dragons v Surrey Storm (Viola Arena, 4pm)
Monday 15: Wasps v Celtic Dragons (University of Warwick, 7pm)
Saturday 27: Knockout semi-finals (Venue to be confirmed)
Saturday 4: Grand final (Venue to be confirmed, 5.30pm)