Halimat Adio and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis have been named as co-captains of the Vitality Roses for the upcoming series with New Zealand. The pair will be supported by vice-captain Amy Carter.
Following five weeks of preparations, the Vitality Roses have been in New Zealand for the last 10 days getting ready for the start of the Taini Jamison Trophy, working under a coaching and staff team led by Liana Leota, engaging in a mixture of on and off the court training.
The three players, who were all travelling reserves for the Netball World Cup, will work as a trio for the series against the Silver Ferns which gets underway this Sunday in Christchurch, live on Sky Sports Arena, Mix and YouTube from 3:30am (UK time).
The team will then travel to Porirua for the second test on Wednesday 27 September (coverage from 7:00am) before finishing the tour in Hamilton on Saturday 30 September (coverage from 7:00am).
Head Coach for the series Leota said: “When they re-entered the training environment in Loughborough in August, I knew from the immediate impact and influence they had over the group that they would be our leaders for this series.
“On court, they lead through their actions, not their words. They were at the forefront of everything in those camps and then off court, their standards, professionalism and attention to detail was huge.
“So for me, just seeing that change in that week with those three coming into our environment, it was awesome and a no brainer that they would be selected as our leadership group. They have their own strengths but what they offer this group collectively is enormous.
“Halimat is probably the more direct one who will steer the ship. She’s very instruction focused, willing to have those tough performance conversations when you need to but she’s also really good at captivating the audience – when she speaks, people listen.
“I think Sophie just leads through her actions. Her work rate’s incredible, she’s got a tenacious attitude and I know she sets the standard at every training session that people have to rise to and that’s how we want her to lead. We don’t want to add anything different – she leads through her actions and brings the knowledge that she’s gained over the years of being a Vitality Rose.
“Then I think Amy again provides something different. She’s got a very calming way with how she speaks – she’s very approachable.
“I think the three of them together have a good balance in our environment. I’m excited to see what they can do as this is an opportunity for them to learn what it’s like to be a leader against the number two in the world and how they add those tools to their belt because moving forwards in more series to come, it will be called upon.”
Reflecting on how the news came about, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis said: “We found out in camp last week. Liana [Leota] pulled us to the side and said that it was confirmed that we were going to be co-captains for the tour, which was just really exciting and an absolute honour. Not many people get to say that they’ve captained their country in a test series.”
Halimat Adio commented: “The fact that Liana chose both of us to lead the leaders that we already have in the team is just an honour and being able to say I’ve captained an England squad for a test series is massive, just to say it to your friends and family. I’m super excited that I’ve been given this trust and then I’ve got Soph and Amy as well doing it alongside me so it should be an exciting ride.”
“I’m really excited to be out here in New Zealand and it’s a first being in the leadership team for me so that’s a new opportunity,” Amy Carter added.
“Me, Sophie and Hali were part of the World Cup squad in South Africa and there were lots of things that we wanted to implement with this team and we feel like we’ve been putting in the work to make the vibes and the culture really good, so hopefully that’ll pay off.”
Watch all three matches of the Taini Jamison Trophy live on Sky Sports TV and Sky Sports YouTube.