Game Seven Preview – England vs. New Zealand

We’re now into the semi-final stages of the Netball World Cup and the Vitality Roses now face the reigning world champions, New Zealand, for a place in Sunday’s final.

On Thursday, Jess Thirlby’s side made history as they became the first Roses team to beat Australia at a World Cup in the fourteenth meeting between the sides in the competition’s history. The Vitality Roses came from eight goals down in the second quarter to record a dramatic one-goal win that secured their status as Pool F winners.

New Zealand finished second in their pool after losing out to Jamaica in their final game, 59-48. This followed a dramatic draw on Wednesday against the hosts South Africa.

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The Silver Ferns have a dominant World Cup record over the Roses, having won 14 out of 15 meetings with England’s sole win coming in 1975 when they won silver when the tournament was run in a round robin format.

In recent years, the international match-up between the two sides has been very close, evident at last year’s Commonwealth Games when England won 54-44 in the pool stages but lost 55-48 in the third-place play-off.

In 2019, New Zealand denied England the opportunity of reaching their first World Cup final, coming out on top with a two-goal victory in front of a packed Roses crowd in Liverpool. Four years on, can the Vitality Roses make it through this time around?

Ones to watch:

Captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio was crucial to the team’s World Cup success in England and is one of the more experienced heads in the midcourt. The 32-year-old is a calm and accurate shooter who can also link play and alongside Gina Crampton, who has the most feeds for the Silver Ferns with 94, and will be key to New Zealand’s attack.

Despite losing Grace Nweke earlier in the tournament, the Silver Ferns have other strong options in attack, including Maia Wilson who is sitting just under 93% on goal percentage. The 6ft 2 goal shooter is making her debut at this year’s tournament in Cape Town after missing out for selection in 2019. Wilson, who has also represented her country at basketball, has 44 caps and had an impressive 2023 season with Robinhood Stars in the ANZ Premiership, finishing second in the goal standings behind her fellow countrywoman Nweke.

At the other end of the court, Karin Burger will be looking to thwart the threat of Eleanor Cardwell, Helen Housby and Olivia Tchine alongside Phoenix Karaka. This is the defender’s second World Cup campaign, one of five returning from the successful squad from four years ago. She missed out on the Commonwealth Games last year with injury but returned to imperious form with her club Trident Homes Tactix – someone Laura Malcolm will know well from her recent time there. With the ability to play across all thee defensive positions, Burger is a tenacious character and leads the standings for her team on intercepts with 13.

Karin Burger, New Zealand, against Jamaica – Credit: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023 via Getty Images)

Where to watch: 

Watch the Vitality Roses take on the New Zealand Silver Ferns live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, and Sky Sports Main Event and Arena, with the first centre pass at 10am (UK time).

Keep up to date with what’s happening inside the England camp by following us on our socials @EnglandNetball.

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