Vitality Roses' Head Coach Jess Thirlby to lead the team through the next World Cup cycle

Vitality Roses’ Head Coach Jess Thirlby has extended her contract with England Netball to lead the team through the next World Cup cycle after guiding England to a silver medal and their first-ever Netball World Cup final.

The former England international will take charge of her 50th game during the upcoming Vitality Netball International Series against South Africa next week – they very first opponent she came up against as Vitality Roses Head Coach in December 2019.

Since then, the Vitality Roses have also enjoyed five test series wins, including two against Jamaica, an historic win away against New Zealand in 2021, and reached the final of a Quad Series in 2022.

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At the World Cup in South Africa in August, England recorded their first ever win against Australia at a World Cup before a historic first win over New Zealand in five semi-final meetings, becoming the first team outside the southern hemisphere to reach a Netball World Cup final.

Following their performance, the Vitality Roses were nominated for The Sunday Times Team of the Year award and Jess Thirlby was shortlisted for High Performance Coach of the Year at the UK Coaching Awards, to be announced on 5 December.

Fran Connolly, Chief Executive of England Netball commented: “I’m delighted that Jess will continue as Vitality Roses Head Coach for the next World Cup cycle. Her passion, expertise and dedication has been instrumental in shaping our team’s success, and as we look to build on their historic achievements at the World Cup, I’m confident that under Jess’s leadership, the Vitality Roses will continue to take the game to new heights and inspire the country, just as they did in the summer.

“Over the last four years, we’ve seen our Vitality Roses record wins against all of the top netball nations, and the hard work of Jess and her team was rewarded with a fantastic first World Cup final which was watched by more than 1.3 million people. I know that Jess is working tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition whilst we go through a period of change to perfectly blend the incredible experience we have retained in the squad with the emerging and very exciting talent we currently have. This is an exceptionally exciting time to be a Vitality Roses supporter, and we wish Jess and the wider performance team every success on this new journey.”

The Vitality Roses are currently preparing for the Vitality Netball International Series against South Africa on 5, 9 and 10 December 2023, followed by the Vitality Netball Nations Cup against Australia, New Zealand and Uganda on 20, 21, 27 and 28 January 2024. The next World Cup will take place in Australia in 2027.

Speaking about the announcement Jess Thirlby added: “I am proud and excited to be asked to lead the Roses for a second term and continue to build on the foundations we have set over the past four years which have seen us succeed on the world stage.

“The momentum and energy we have off the back of the history-making World Cup Final means that everyone in the England camp is totally committed and excited for what we know we can achieve. I remain grateful to the Roses family, which includes colleagues, players, commercial partners and the fans for their support and know that they share my unwavering passion for this amazing sport of ours and can trust that we have big ambitions for this next cycle.

“It’s a special time to help lead the team and I am thankful to all those who supported me. You can trust in my devotion to this team, and I am very conscious of my responsibility to the team, the staff, the sport, wider organisation and of course our fans. Thanks also to my family for enduring all the highs and lows and supporting me to do the best job ever.”

Vitality Roses’ Head Coach Jess Thirlby has been at the helm of the national side since July 2019 after an extensive coaching and playing career which saw her represent England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

David Parsons, Director of Performance at England Netball said: “After the Netball World Cup, as always, we reviewed the previous four-year cycle where we recognised the significant progress we had made, not just in winning a historic silver medal but also the progress we’ve made off the court. Having mapped out our ambitions for the next four years, it was clear that Jess was the right person to lead the group. Her unwavering dedication to excellence and her ability to inspire our athletes have been pivotal in our success and we have the continuity now to build towards the next major tournament.

“This extension is a testament to the vision that Jess has lived and breathed. Collectively we will continue to raise the bar, develop world-class athletes, and do things the Roses way. I’m really excited about the journey ahead and confident that we will continue to elevate what we can do on the world stage.”

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