Vitality Roses in action

England Netball has named the three squads that will compete in the upcoming International Series’ with Uganda and Australia and the FAST5 Netball World Series, as the Vitality Roses step up preparations for the 2023 Netball World Cup.

Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby has named the squad to face the Uganda She Cranes in the upcoming Vitality International Series. In addition, two further squads to face Australia in a three-match series and to compete at the FAST5 Netball World Series have also been announced.

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A mixture of experienced stars and exciting prospects are spread across the three squads, setting up new partnerships as we head into an exciting year for international netball with the Netball World Cup in South Africa beginning in July 2023.

Commenting on the upcoming fixtures, Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby said: “To have so many opportunities against world class opposition so soon after the Commonwealth Games allows us to quickly turn our attention to the exciting year ahead. Now, more than ever the margins between the top nations are at their narrowest, making for a very dynamic and competitive landscape for the global game. The competition is fierce, and to get opportunities to expose new and emerging talent as well as our existing players is critical in helping to strengthen the team, and for us to continue to uncover and gain advantage over our toughest opposition.”

Returning to international action for the first time since the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Vitality Roses will step back on to court in front of a home crowd against the world ranked sixth side Uganda on 5 October at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena, and on 8 and 9 October at The Copper Box Arena in London.

Amongst the 15, Alice Harvey, Ellie Rattu and Olivia Tchine have been called up from the Vitality Roses programme for their first senior international series’. Future Roses Natasha Pavelin and Paige Reed also receive their first senior call-ups whilst 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Chelsea Pitman returns for her first series since 2020. A number of senior players have been given extended recovery time, whilst George Fisher was unavailable for selection after deciding to take a temporary break from international competition.

Speaking about the Uganda series, Thirlby commented: “We were really pleased how well we dealt to the challenge of Uganda at the Commonwealth Games. However, Uganda went on to find some of their best form in Birmingham, beating South Africa and gaining automatic qualification for the World Cup in 2023. They will be full of confidence, and we are under no illusion as to how competitive the three matches will be. With both next year and the longer term in mind, it provides a perfect test of a new-look Roses side, full of exciting talent to embrace and we will be buoyed to have the support of our home fans.”

Following the Uganda series, the Roses fly to Australia for the first time since 2018 to face the Commonwealth Games champions in a three-match international series.

“To play the world number one team and Commonwealth Games champions on their home soil is something we’ve been keen to do ever since Covid hijacked our plans back in the autumn of 2020,” said Thirlby.

“We know how important it is to play the best teams frequently and in conditions that best prepare us for major tournaments. We look forward to the challenge and to welcoming a few new faces to the team.”

On 5 and 6 November, a squad of ten players will then take part in the FAST5 Netball World Series in New Zealand – a shorter, faster-paced version of the game with five players on each side.

Jess Thirlby added: “The return of FAST5 is a welcome addition to our international calendar as world netball look to strengthen the breadth of the game and its appeal. For us, it affords further opportunity to expose new and emerging talent to the conditions of international netball and will help accelerate some key learnings for those younger athletes who have recently missed out on a World Youth Cup due to Covid and those on the periphery of the team narrowly missing out on selection for recent senior events.”

Referencing George Fisher’s international break, Thirlby said: “We respect George’s decision to take some time away from international netball in the short term, but the door remains fully open for George to return and represent the Roses again in the future. As a founding member of the Roses programme, George has been a significant part of the Roses and has shown huge growth and improvement over recent years showing what a bright future she could have ahead of her in the red dress. She is a much-loved member of the team, and we look forward to welcoming her back.”

More information on all the players selected can be found on our biography pages and for tickets please head here.

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