Welsh Netball is pleased to make a surprise announcement this #NetballNovember!

Welsh Netball has scheduled a two-test series between Wales and Samoa on 5 & 7 December 2017 at the Sport Wales National Centre, Cardiff. Both matches will take place at 7.30pm.

The two-test December Series is part of Netball Samoa’s UK tour where they will have faced the Scottish Thistles on 2 & 3 December. It is all the more exciting as this will be the first time that Wales has hosted Samoa in a test series on Welsh soil.

The matches against 14th ranked Samoa come as the netball season is stepping up a gear for Wales. Following the Netball Europe Open Championships in October, Wales will be facing Team Bath on 18 November in Ebbw Vale prior to the games against Samoa. These matches will prove to be critical preparation as Wales look towards the World Cup Qualifiers in January and, of course, the Commonwealth Games in April out on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Rosie Pretorius, Head of Performance is excited by the upcoming test matches. She said: “We are looking forward to welcoming Samoa to Cardiff for the first time and look forward to showcasing even more international netball in Wales in what has been a busy year.  The two tests will provide crucial match-play in our preparations for World Cup Qualifiers in January and Commonwealth Games in April. Samoa bring a different style which will be exciting to watch and it will give our Welsh players the opportunity to build on their performances at Netball Europe.”

Wales Head Coach, Trish Wilcox is particularly looking forward to the clash, given her experience working with the Samoan set-up. She said: “In 2013 I was coaching the Samoa U21 team at the INF World Youth Cup in Glasgow when Samoa was in the same pool as the Welsh U21 team. This is where I first saw several of the players that are now in the current Wales senior squad when Samoa played against Wales in pool-play. Wales achieved 6th placing at that tournament and I remember being really impressed with that group of youngsters and thinking that boded well for Wales in the future. Little did I know then that I would be coaching these players. It was a privilege and I thoroughly enjoyed coaching Samoa at that tournament and am very proud of our achievement of 10th which was then the highest placing by a Samoa U21 team.”

Wilcox added: “This time round I am very proud to have the privilege of coaching Wales when we host Samoa at home in December. Although a late addition to our international calendar, we are always looking for opportunities to play and challenge ourselves against international competition and exposing ourselves to a variety of different playing styles. This is a really exciting addition to our build up to the Commonwealth Games.”

Tickets cost £10 for adults and £6 for concessions and are available from www.ticketline.co.uk/welsh-netball Welsh Netball is also able to offer group discounts for affiliated clubs in groups of over 10: £8 per adult and £5 per concession. 

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Fern Davies and her team-mates will be looking forward to the December Series as ideal preparation for the World Cup Qualifiers and Commonwealth Games next year. (C) Ian Lovell