By Lucy Rees
Wales coach Sarah Hale is keen to see how her team shape up against one of the world’s top netball nations after naming her squad to face South Africa later this month.
Hale – who has named a squad of 12 for the international in Northern Ireland on October 24 – believes the fixture will provide a valuable marker on their way to try and qualify for the Commonwealth Games next year.
For the Test match, Hale has announced a squad that contains a good blend of experienced players and fresh faces.
“Any opportunity for us to play against South Africa is a welcome one,” Hale said.
“We are really looking forward to travelling to Northern Ireland to face the SPAR Proteas and test ourselves, in what is a crucial year for us, as we aim to qualify for Commonwealth Games.”
“I am really looking forward to seeing what we can do against a top-five nation.”
Like so many national sides in different sporting events, Wales and South Africa haven’t been able to play in a long time due to COVID-19, and this fixture will provide their coaches with vital insights about their current players.
Wales Netball is pleased to announce the squad that has been selected to travel to Northern Ireland to face South Africa.
— Wales Netball | Pêl-Rwyd Cymru (@WalesNetball_) October 13, 2021
Suzy Drane and Nia Jones will perform the roles of co-captains.
The SPAR Proteas’ head coach Dorette Badenhorst has selected a group of 15 women for their upcoming series of matches, which includes this match in Lisburn.
South Africa was planning on competing against Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in the Margaret Beckford Sunshine Series, however, decided not to partake in the series due to COVID-19 precautions around the tournament.
Four of Badenhorst’s selections, Boitumelo Mahloko, Jessica du Plessis, Refiloe Nketsa and Elmere van der Berg, will be looking to gain their first caps on the trip.
Badenhorst said: “As coaches, we are very grateful to have some game time,
“We have set ourselves some targets on and off-court. We will take every opportunity to try some combinations, build new ones and perfect the current ones we have, as well.
“The spirit in the camp is very good and these players have worked hard on and off-court. For some of these players, this is their first time outside of the country, they have worked hard to get here and showed some character.
“As a team, we are building on relationships and will go out there to play some great netball.”
South Africa will play five matches in total on their tour, starting with Wales in Northen Ireland on October 24.
Wales Squad for Test against South Africa:
Suzy Drane (Co-captain) Nia Jones (Co-captain) Betsy Creak
Morganne Dunne Zoe Matthewman Georgia Rowe
Celyn Emanuel Clare Jones Shona O’Dwyer
Ella Powell-Davies Christina Shaw Leila Thomas
South Africa Squad for International Series:
Phumza Maweni Boitumelo Mahloko Karla Pretorius
Simone Rabie Simone Rabie Bongiwe Msomi (Captain)
Refiloe Nketsa Tshinakaho Mdau Izette Griesel
Khanyisa Chawane Ine-Mari Venter Lefebre Rademan
Sigi Burger Elmere van der Berg Jessica du Plessis