Natalie Peperell Takes Charge of Wales And Celtic Dragons After Trish Wilcox Dismissal

By Rob Cole

With five days to go to the start of the Vitality Netball Super League, the Celtic Dragons have finally got a coach to lead them into the tournament.

Following the sacking of Trish Wilcox as head coach for both the Dragons and Wales last month in the wake of Wales’ failure to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in England, it has been decided to move up the Wales Under 21 coach and team manager into interim positions with the senior sides.

Natalie Peperell takes over as the interim assistant coach of both Wales and the Dragons, while Lavinia Baker becomes Wales’ interim team manager. With the Commonwealth Games two months away, Baker’s main focus will presumably be on that tournament.

By appointing Peperell as an assistant coach the door has been left open to bring in a coach of proven international quality as soon as possible. The Dragons finished rock bottom of the Super League last season with only two wins in 18 games.

Peperell is a former PE teacher who was coaching Wales Under 21 on a voluntary basis. She has worked with schools across Bristol, coached at the University of Bristol and been team manager for the Bath National Performance League and head coach of Team Bath Futures.

She worked for England Netball as the Performance Pathway coach and then coached the Swiss Under 17 Switzerland team to a gold medal in Development of Netball Europe for first time in their history. She later became Switzerland’s national assistant coach.

Wales interim coach Natalie Peperell.

“I am excited for the next challenge in my career in taking on this role with Wales and Celtic Dragons,” said Peperell, who joined Welsh Netball in 2016 as the Under 21s coach.

The Dragons launch their Super League season with a home clash against the Mavericks at the Sport Wales National Centre, Sophia Gardens, on Monday, 12 February (7.00pm start). They warmed-up with a 63-36 defeat to Manchester Thunder in North Wales.

Rosie Pretorius, Welsh Netball Head of Performance is pleased, and no doubt relieved, to have secured the services of the Under 21s duo to fill key roles in the short-term.

“We are pleased that we have been able to elevate Nat and Lavinia into these vacant voluntary roles. As core members of the Under 21s management, they will be very familiar with Welsh Netball’s structures and processes,” said Pretorious.

“It is great to progress Nat into a coaching role with Wales and Celtic Dragons. She will bring some fresh insight into the role and her tournament experience with the Under 21s will prove invaluable.

“We are also very fortunate to be able to bring Lavinia into the Team Manager position with Wales. Lavinia has excellent organisational skills and her attention to detail will be crucial to the role. Her professionalism and knowledge will provide the team with a firm foundation to go out and perform.”


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