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London, England – Match day three of the Vitality Netball Nations Cup started off with South Africa facing World Champions, New Zealand. The Silver Ferns went into this game having had won two of their opening games against Jamaica and England respectively.

The last time the two teams met was in the same city, around this time last year during the 2019 Quad Series, that match ended as a stalemate game and the Silver Ferns won it by two points during extra time. South Africa are looking at taking the game to New Zealand and record their maiden win at this tournament.

Dorette Badenhorst started the game with the same team that faced Vitality Roses three days ago and she was hoping to have the same dominance she enjoyed against them. Lefebre who has been a gem in this tournament was scored South Africa’s first point as the SPAR Proteas drew first blood.

South Africa were very patient in their build up and managed to take their chances in the first quarter, the defence seemed to be holding on and made it rather hard for the New Zealand attack. The SPAR Proteas seemed to have found their rhythm and challenged the Silver Ferns for every ball. It was New Zealand that led the first quarter 14 -11 at the end.

The second quarter saw the introduction of Khanyisa Chawane at Centre in the place of Rome Dreyer, Ine Marie Venter replaced Lenize Potgieter and Zanele Vimbela joined Karla Pretorius at the back in place of Phumza Maweni. Not so long after the start of the second quarter, Potgieter made her way back onto the court in place of Rademan.

The introduction of Venter and her combination with Potgieter was working very well for the SPAR Proteas as they managed to convert all their chances whenever there was a possession turnover. The combination of Vimbela and Pretorius also worked very well for the South African team. Since the introduction of Vimbela, she managed to intercept a few deadly passes by the Silver Ferns. A few marginal errors seemed to be working against South Africa as they seemed to be committing a lot of those. At the end of the second quarter, New Zealand were leading 27 -20.

The SPAR Proteas seemed to be improving with every game that they played at this tournament. The second quarter was the closest that New Zealand has played in this tournament. Maweni made her way back to the court in the third quarter and this saw Vimbela move to wing defence.

South Africa came back from the break like a team determined and took the game to New Zealand, they managed to reduce their deficit to just three and won the quarter 14 -10. New Zealand finished the quarter 37 -34.

The SPAR Proteas continued where they left off at the end of the third quarter and challenged New Zealand for every ball making sure that they take their chances. One can attest to the fact that South Africa showed up and really asked a lot from New Zealand however it was unfortunate that they lost the game.

The game ended in the favour of New Zealand who won 48 -41. This game was a closely contested one for New Zealand as well who beat England by a 16 point margin on the first day of the tournament and beat Sunshine Girls by a 26 point margin, it was South Africa who didn’t get a double digit loss. SPAR Proteas goalkeeper Phumza Maweni won player of the match.

We played very well today, just a few disappointments and mistakes here and there that were game changers. Thanks to New Zealand for giving us such a great game. The team did well, and we can take confidence in the fact that we have learnt a lot and we have grown here as well. Now we look forward to tomorrow,” said Dorette Badenhorst – SPAR Proteas Head Coach.

On Sunday the SPAR Proteas will play Commonwealth Champions England in the 3rd/4th playoff at 16:30 SA time. The match will be live on SuperSport 10.

Score breakdown:

Q1 New Zealand 14– South Africa 11 

Q2 New Zealand 27 – South Africa 20

Q3 New Zealand 37– South Africa 34

Q4 New Zealand 48 – South Africa 41

Shooting Stats – Silver Ferns:

Maia Wilson 24/30 (93%)

Ameliaranne Ekenasio 15/18 (82%)

Te Paea Selby-Rickit 9/11 (85%)

Shooting Stats – South Africa:

Ine-Mari Venter 24/29 (83%)

Lenize Potgieter 11/15 (73%)

Lefebre Rademan 6/10 (60%)

South Africa’s starting seven:

Rome Dreyer (C); Phumza Maweni (GK); Bongiwe Msomi (WA); Lenize Potgieter (GS); Karla Pretorius (GD); Lefebre Rademan (GA); Shadine vd Merwe (WD)