Diary of a Vitality Rose: Sophie Drakeford-Lewis

After Nat Metcalf shared some insights from the team’s first three days out in South Africa, it’s over to Sophie Drakeford-Lewis to bring you the latest from the Vitality Roses’ prep camp in Stellenbosch!


After an intense technical on court this morning and 10 minutes in an ice-bath (actually just the very cold outdoor pool), we jumped on a coach to head out for a team lunch at a beautiful winery on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain. It was amazing to see some of the beautiful scenery of the Western Cape and have time to relax as a team, players and staff together. After a great meal, we all headed back very much full and ready for an afternoon of individual 1:1 meetings with the coaches to set goals for the tour and soft tissue massages to help our bodies recover after a solid 3 days of training. A tour record in our evening ritual of Keepy Uppy ball game finished off Day 4 here in Stellenbosch (not our best score but a decent start!), we are another day closer to the start of the competition and the squad couldn’t be more excited to get stuck into our final week of prep before heading to Cape Town for the start of the competition!

“Hali’s Salon” at the team’s hotel in Stellenbosch


Our first REST day of the tour and it’s the first chance to have a lie in (which always goes down very well with the team!). We were able to spend the day as we pleased, and for lots of us it was a wander around the centre of Stellenbosch, exploring some of the cute little shops, finding a great spot for some lunch and the best coffee shop in town. Just before dinner back at base, we all came together in a team meeting to discuss the next block of training starting from tomorrow. The highlight was a PowerPoint presentation by one of our newest members to the Staff team, S&C coach Stephen. Safe to say his cheeky personality shone through and he generated much laughter with his comical use of candid pictures of other staff members – it even won him Hero of the Day! “Hali’s Salon” opened after dinner, which was a fun way to end the day as everyone congregated to watch and learn how to braid before heading to bed in prep for the start of a big block of training tomorrow!


It was a busy and physically tough day today! This morning, through court plays in both attack and defence were our focus and throughout the technical session were multiple practices that certainly hit the lungs. There are just 9 days to go now, so it is vital that we fine tune our processes, connections and tactics and push ourselves hard so that we are ready to hit the court running from Game 1. This afternoon was a strength session in the gym followed by a team psychology session, dinner and then an early night before another busy day of training tomorrow.

That’s all from me! I hope that you have enjoyed a little insight into our prep before we head to Cape Town at the beginning of next week! We can’t thank everyone enough, for all of your support to get to this point and we are all incredibly excited about the opportunity to come over the next few weeks!


Both Sky Sports (all matches) and the BBC (from day four) will show this summer’s Netball World Cup so fans won’t miss a minute of the action! The Vitality Roses start their World Cup campaign against Barbados on Friday 28 July at 7pm live on Sky Sports Arena and YouTube.

Make sure you’re following England Netball on social media for the latest news and updates (Twitter), photos (Facebook), behind-the-scenes content (Instagram) and fun (TikTok) as the Vitality Roses continue their preparations.

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