Saturday, April 20, 2024

Netball Nations Cup: Can England’s Vitality Roses beat New Zealand to book another Australia clash? -Dlight News

England will look to set up another clash with long-time rivals and reigning world champions Australia with victory over New Zealand in the Vitality Nations Cup this weekend in Leeds.

The Vitality Roses currently share second spot with New Zealand after both beat Uganda and lost to Australia in last week’s fixtures, held at Wembley Arena, with the winners of Saturday’s match between the two countries at the First Direct Arena then progressing to Sunday’s final.

England made regular changes during their narrow 62-56 win over Uganda before letting slip a third-quarter lead a day later in a two-point loss to Australia, the same two sides who contested last year’s World Cup final in South Africa.

Head coach Jess Thirlby said England “let themselves down” for not holding on for victory, which would have guaranteed a place in the Vitality Nations Cup final with a week to spare, although former international Tasmin Greenway believes they can take positives into this weekend’s matches.

“We lived on the edge that game and actually I feel like that is one of the best games we’ve ever played against Australia,” Greenway told Off the Court. “We didn’t still didn’t quite get over the line, but we challenged them.

“Australia had the chance to go 10 goals up and they didn’t, we took our opportunity and got back into the game. I definitely want the brave, exciting, entertaining England and I think they can do that with the quality of player on the court.

“It’s those kind of impactful changes that I want to keep seeing and that is one of the reasons why they performed so well against Australia.”

England have beaten Australia twice since their dramatic Commonwealth Games gold in 2018, most recently during the pool stage of the World Cup in Australia last summer, with Greenway expecting the two sides to progress and go head to head again in another final.

“I can’t see England losing against New Zealand with the way they played and the same with Australia against Uganda,” Greenway predicted. “What a match-up that will be!”

Will Uganda continue to impress?

Australia are looking to make it three wins from three in the tournament when they take on Uganda on Saturday for the first time. The debutants have exceeded expectations with their impressive displays against England and New Zealand.

“Opening up the Nations Cup and bringing Uganda in was a genius move,” Greenway added. “It has needed to happen for world netball and they’re not just here to make up the numbers.

“We’re so used to watching how the Aussies play, the Kiwis play, the English play and how the Jamaicans have started playing and now the Ugandans are coming in with their new style.

“To take a quarter off New Zealand, to do the same against England and run them so close, they’re only going to get better with these opportunities and their understanding of the game.”

What the Vitality Netball Nations Cup live this weekend on Sky Sports, with live coverage on Saturday from 2.30pm and Sunday from 1.30pm on Sky Sports Mix and for free on the Sky Sports YouTube channel! Stream netball and more with NOW.

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