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Johannesburg, South Africa – With less than two weeks to go before the start of the Netball World Cup  (NWC) in Liverpool, there have been some dramatic changes to international rankings.

While South Africa has retained its fifth place ranking, long-time nemesis Malawi has dropped from sixth place to ninth. Uganda has moved up one ranking to sixth place, one behind South Africa, while the other leading African country, Zimbabwe, has dropped out of the top 10, to 13th place.

There have also been interesting movements in the top four.  Australia retain their number one ranking, but Jamaica has moved past Commonwealth champions, England, into second place.  New Zealand, the only country other than Australia to win the World title outright, remains in fourth position.

The SPAR Proteas will play Jamaica in the preliminary round of the NWC. The other teams in the SPAR Proteas’ group are Trinidad and Tobago, ranked 10th, and Fiji, ranked  23rd.

SPAR Proteas head coach Norma Plummer said on the eve of the team’s departure for the United Kingdom last week that she believed the Proteas were well-prepared to deal Jamaica.

“They have some extremely tall players, and are a very physical team, but when we played Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games last year, we stood up well, despite having lost a number of key players to injury,” said Plummer.

“We have also had a number of players honing their skills in the Australian, New Zealand and English leagues, where they have learnt how to cope with pressure and how not to give in when things become uncomfortable.”

As part of preparations for the NWC, the SPAR Proteas will play two Test matches against Wales, which has dropped down one place, to 12th. 

The rankings include matches played since July 1 2018 and these have a full weighting (100%). Matches played in the previous two years (July 2016 – June 2018) have a weighting of 50%. Matches played before July 2016 including those played at the Netball World Cup Sydney, 2015 are no longer included in determining the INF World Rankings.