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Durban, South Africa – Wales have named their best possible senior and Under 21 teams to face South Africa’s senior and Under 21 teams in the SPAR Challenge in Durban later this month.

The series will be played at Durban’s International Convention Centre on June 17, 18 and 19, with the matches between Wales Under-21 and the SPAR Baby Proteas serving as curtain raisers to the Test between the SPAR Proteas and Wales.

Both teams offer a high calibre of athleticism and a mixture of new players as well as experienced players. Welsh head coach Trish Wilcox believes this will be important when eighth-ranked Wales take on South Africa, who are ranked fifth in the world.

“This is an opportunity for us to measure ourselves against one of the top 5 teams in the world “, said Wilcox, whose leadership over the past year and a half has led the senior team to finish seventh in the Netball World Cup last year – their highest placing for 24 years.

“What a fantastic chance for both teams to compete on the international stage and experience world class competition on an overseas tour.”

This is Wales’ first visit to South Africa, but the senior squads have met 11 times before, whilst the Under 21 have played against each other five times

Though neither Wales squads have ever beaten South Africa at netball, Wilcox is confident the SPAR Challenge Series is an opportunity to show they are closing the gap.

“Both senior and Under 21 teams have had a very successful twelve months,” said Wilcox.

“The talent within the teams is exciting and we hope to build on momentum from these successes.”

Wales’ senior team won silver at the 2016 Netball Europe Open Championships.

“We only had limited training sessions together as a whole squad due to several players still being involved in VNSL premier league play-offs. So over the next two weeks we have a chance to work on consolidating combinations and working on specific areas of our game,” said Wilcox.

The Under 21 Wales team will take advantage of the opportunity to prepare for their upcoming Netball Europe tournament in October 2016. This year Under 21 Netball Europe is also a qualifying tournament for the Under 21 World Youth Cup in Botswana.

“It is a real privilege to be taking an Under 21 squad to South Africa for this three match test series,” said Louisa Daniells, Under 21 head coach.

“The players have been training exceptionally hard as they realise this is a great opportunity to travel with the Senior squad and learn from them how to deal with the pressures of a tour in preparations towards Under 21 Netball Europe and qualification for the World Youth Netball Cup which is in Botswana.

“We look forward to competitive match play and will endeavour to show what this talented group is capable of.”

The South African teams have just completed a training camp, following the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League.

Tickets for the SPAR Challenge are available from Computicket.

Wales team: Suzanne Drane (captain), Bethan Dyke, Kyra Jones, Chelsea Lewis, Sarah Llewelyn, Kelly Morgan, Rebecca Oatley, Stephanie Perry, Georgia Rowe, Amanda Varey, Clare Jones, Lateisha Kidner ,Sara Bell, Fern Davies.

Under 21 team: Megan Powell (captain), Carys Allen, Lowri Jenkins, Anna Brindley, Emily Edwards, Celyn Emanuel, Lydia Hitchings, Chloe James, Emma Roberts, Lowri Norkett, Leanne Thomas