South Africa’s fortitude against Australia was not enough to secure a victory after they lost 65-48 in round three of the Quad Series in Cape Town.
SA coach Norma Plummer made three defensive changes to her side; Zanele Vimbela teamed up with Shadine Van der Merwe at the back, Reyneke started on wing defence and Ine-Mari Venter took over the goalshooter bib.
It was a tightly contested start to the game between the two sides until SA wing attack Izette Griesel couldn’t keep a loose ball in play and Venter’s first miss under the pole allowed Australia to take a two-goal lead in the first quarter.
Spar Proteas goal attack Nichole Taljaard wasn’t very much involved on the scoreboard by halftime, but her playmaking tactics provided several options for the attackers to find Venter smoothly in the circle.
The Diamonds increased the tempo and intensity throughout the third quarter, and Paige Hadley executed some precision feeds into Sophie Dwyer to take a 51-38 lead.
South Africa’s magnetic duo of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni returned in the third quarter, and Maweni had a stellar fourth quarter, showing her prowess by stealing a couple of intercepts.
The Proteas couldn’t diminish Australia’s exploits even with the introduction of Owethu Ngubane, who got her first cap at goal attack.
Twenty-four-year-old Tara Hinchliffe also made her debut for the top ranked side in the last quarter.
SA are yet to win a game in the competition, having lost two games and playing to a draw against England, while Australia remain unbeaten ahead of the final.
Not getting the result we wanted today. But, the resilience of the SPAR Proteas has been AMAZING ??
Thank you team for never giving up ??
Coming up... 25 Jan.
16:00 ???????????????????? 3rd/4th Playoff
18:00 ?????????? FINAL#QuadSeries | #SPARProteas | #WeAreAllIn pic.twitter.com/qCRVzZRNEM— Netball South Africa (@Netball_SA) January 24, 2023
SILVER FERNS BEAT ENGLAND TO SET UP AUS FINAL
Meanwhile, New Zealand registered their second win of the tournament when they defeated England 55-45.
It was a battle of the shooting circles in the opening quarter, with Eleanor Cardwell, Helen Housby of the Roses, and Grace Nweke, Te Paea Selby-Rickit of the Silver Ferns, all sitting on a hundred goal per centage.
England still found themselves playing catch up at halftime, as they were six goals behind following15 turnovers.
A revitalised English side were able to slow down New Zealand on the transverse line and better ball placement saw them close the gap to just two goals in the third quarter.
The defensive efforts of England’s goalkeeper Geva Mentor and Ferns’ goal defence Phoenix Karaka led to a warning and a caution respectively from South African umpire Anso Kemp.
England were despondent towards the end, showing signs of fatigue which gave the world No 2 leeway to run away with the match.
England coach Jess Thirlby says she is looking forward to facing the Spar Proteas again: ‘’It’s going to be great, isn’t it? It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to practice; the noise levels will be ten times more than it was the other day, given that we both got a draw and I’m sure we both not happy with that result. It will be a fantastic occasion, just the type of pressure we need’’.
25 JANUARY FIXTURES
4pm - England v South Africa (3rd/4th place)
6pm - Australia v New Zealand (Final)