England U19s preview: "It’s a great chance to learn and to gauge where we stand as a team"

Excitement is beginning to brew for an England U19 side as a three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia beckons.

Head Coach Sheonah Forbes will take her 20-strong squad to face a New Zealand Secondary Schools Team in Auckland and the Australian U19 squad in Canberra between 26th June – 12th July.

The tour provides this talented crop of players with the chance to gain some international experience and partake in a number of competitive tests, opportunities the England squad are relishing.

Kira Rothwell of London Pulse said: “I’m excited to be able to work on my own game, especially in pressure situations, and build partnerships on court that we can continue to work on over the next couple of years.

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“It’s really exciting that we have so long out there to work together in a high-performance environment. Hopefully, we can show that we are just as good as our opposition and take confidence from this going forward.”

Sienna Rushton of Wasps Netball, who missed out on the U17 tour of Australia through injury, agreed: “I think it will be great fun. It’s a great chance to learn so much and to gauge where we stand as a team against some of the top youth netball teams out there.”

Seven of this squad travelled as part of the U17 trip to Australia last September but some will be experiencing a tour for the first time.

Stacey Tankoua of Manchester Thunder said: “This is my first tour so I really don’t know how well I’m going to adapt to the environment but the girls have given me tips to make sure I can have the smoothest ride possible.”

Similarly, Rachel Fee commented: “Going to two different countries will be a struggle but having such friendly and lovable girls supporting me will really help me settle into the new environment.”

Loughborough Lightning’s Annabel Roddy will captain the tour and will be supported by vice-captains Zara Everitt and Ellie Rattu.

“It was a great feeling finding out, probably one of the proudest moments so far for me in netball,” said Roddy.

“There are definitely different aspects and roles to being captain such as driving forward a positive team culture but so far I am enjoying stepping up and leading such a great team.”

Members of the squad have tasted success in their young international careers – most notably at Netball Europe in March – and Forbes is hoping this tour will be equally as beneficial in her players’ development.

Forbes said: “This summer tour to New Zealand and Australia will be a great test for our talented athletes, and it is exciting for them to be playing the best opposition teams in this age group. It is a fantastic opportunity for our athletes to train and compete in highly competitive environments, and provides a great learning opportunity for them.”

The England squad travelling to Oceania is as follows:

Zara Everitt (VC) (Loughborough Lightning), Funmi Fadoju (London Pulse), Rachel Fee (Team Bath), Beth Gabriel (Severn Stars), Alice Harvey (Loughborough Lightning), Ally Housley (Wasps), Ruth Hughes (Wasps), Suzie Liverseidge (Surrey Storm), Berri Neil (Manchester Thunder), Jasmin Odeogberin (London Pulse), Ellie Rattu (VC) (Wasps), Annabel Roddy (C) (Loughborough Lightning), Yasmin Roebuck (Manchester Thunder), Kira Rothwell (London Pulse), Sienna Rushton (Wasps), Millie Sanders (Manchester Thunder), Alicia Scholes (Manchester Thunder), Stacey Tankoua (Manchester Thunder), Olivia Tchine (London Pulse), Emma Thacker (Surrey Storm).

Make sure you’re following their journey on the England Netball website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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