In just two weeks’ time the world number 2 netball team, the Silver Ferns of New Zealand, will face Wales in a historic two game test series. Ranked 8th in the world, Wales will take on giants of the game at the Ice Arena Wales on 7th and 8th of February. 2017 marks twenty years since the Ferns played on Welsh soil in 1997. Ticket sales are soaring at the 3,000 capacity Arena – a test series everyone’s talking about. So, here’s 10 things you need to know about the Silver Ferns, to get you ready for their arrival and the much-anticipated clash between two world class teams.
[Photo credit: © Michael Bradley Photography.]
1. They are four-time World Champions!
The Netball World Cup has been held every 4 years since 1963. Silver Ferns have won the top spot four times, including 1967 (Australia), 1979 (Trinidad & Tobago), 1987 (Glasgow) and 2003 (Jamaica). They have taken second place a total of eight times.
2. The Ferns have won Gold at the Commonwealth Games twice!
The team seized a Gold medal at the 2006 Games in Australia and again in 2010 when the Games were held in Delhi, India. They have also won a Silver medal a respectable three times. We look forward to see if the Silver Ferns can steal the top spot at Gold Coast 2018.
3. Their squad Captain is Katrina Grant.
With 89 test caps to her name, 29-year-old Katrina will Captain the squad on their tour to the UK this February. Standing at an intimidating 6’1, Katrina is an invaluable member of the Silver Ferns defence side. Making her debut against Australia in 2008, she has gone on to represent the Silver Ferns at two Netball World Cups (2011, 2015) and two Commonwealth Games (2010, 2014). Keep your eye on Katrina this Feb!
4. The average height of a Silver Fern is 6’!
Or 183cm if you work in metric. Netball players are notoriously tall – and these NZ players are certainly sky scrapers on the court.
5. The tallest player (on this tour) is 6’2.
Kelly Jury’s 192cm frame puts her as one of the tallest defenders in NZ, and she uses every centimetre well with a long lean over the ball as well as her ability to pull in the rebounds. At just 20 years old, Jury hopes to earn her first cap on the upcoming UK tour. Jury has also been selected in the NZ U21 team for the World Youth Cup Gaborne 2017.
6. The most capped Silver Fern on the tour is Maria Tutaia.
Silver Ferns describe her as “the most feared shooter in world netball” with a remarkable 104 test caps. 29-year-old Tutaia made her debut in 2005, and is one of six players on the tour to have worn the Black Dress in a 100 Tests.
7. Ferns’ youngest player on tour is just 19!
Maia Wilson made her debut in the Black Dress last year against Jamaica. She currently has 2 caps as an “unflappable” shooter.
8. 164 athletes have represented the Silver Ferns.
Since the Silver Ferns team was formed in 1938, an impressive 164 very lucky athletes have had the honour of representing their country within its netball team. That number may rise to a 166 as two new players will join the Ferns on their upcoming tour to the UK, both hoping to make their debut.
9. The Silver Ferns have competed in 450 Test Matches.
Since formation, the New Zealand national netball team have competed in an astonishing 450 test matches. This number is set to rise in the coming weeks, as they take on England, South Africa and world no.1 the Aussies in the Quad Series, before heading to Wales. Wales aren’t far behind with a total of 394 Test Matches.
10. Get to know Coach Janine Southby.
Appointed the top job in November 2015, Janine Southby is only the tenth coach to guide the Silver Ferns since 1938. Southby was named assistant coach of the NZ U21 team in 2008, before assuming the head coach role in 2009. She then guided the U21 team to gold at the World Youth Netball Cup in 2013.
Be part of the crowd, support Wales! Get your tickets via http://www.ticketline.co.uk/welsh-netball#bio