Vitality Roses squad for Netball World Cup revealed

Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby has named the squad that will be flying out to compete in the Vitality Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.

Taking place from 28 July to 6 August, the 16th edition of the World Cup will take place in Africa for the first time.

The 12-player squad features a mixture of experience and youth, with 810 caps shared amongst the group.

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Both Jade Clarke and Geva Mentor have been named in their sixth World Cup squad, surpassing the England record set by Assistant Coach Sonia Mkoloma and matching the international record of Rhonda John-Davis of Trinidad & Tobago.

For Funmi Fadoju and Olivia Tchine, this will be their first major senior tournament with the Vitality Roses, whilst a first World Cup beckons for Imogen Allison, Eleanor Cardwell and Laura Malcolm. Chelsea Pitman and Fran Williams meanwhile return for their first major tournament with England since the last World Cup in 2019.

For the first time, World Netball are permitting teams to have three travelling reserves who can remain with the team throughout the tournament, and in the event of a tournament-ending injury, illness or unforeseen personal circumstances, these players can act as a permanent replacement for the remainder of the tournament.

Jess Thirlby, Vitality Roses Head Coach, commented: “The unveiling of our Roses squad is a hugely exciting moment and the culmination of years of hard work that the players and the wider team have put in to drive the depth and breadth of our talent pool, as well as our performances on the international and domestic stage.

“This squad strikes a great balance of experience whilst also introducing an exciting point of difference with some of our incredible young talent who are deserving of their place in the squad amongst some of the sport’s longest serving players. It provides the versatility needed to combat what we know to be the key areas of focus for us, as uncovered during recent international match ups. Importantly, this team along with our three travelling reserves, speaks to what we believe is one of our greatest strengths – our tactical diversity – and gives us the best chance to counteract those styles of our biggest rivals.

“The global game has moved on since the last World Cup and now more than ever, the margins between the top nations are at their narrowest. Tournament netball and its conditions are like no other league in the world and it will be important to call upon those varying styles of play within the team in order to help move us closer to breaking into a World Cup final for the first time.”

“The team are highly ambitious, hugely supportive of each other and I trust together we will do whatever we can to perform at our best in Cape Town.”

The Vitality Roses, who finished third at the 2019 edition in Liverpool, will begin their World Cup campaign against Barbados on Friday 28 July, followed by the Malawi Queens on Saturday 29 July before a Home Nations clash with the Scottish Thistles on Sunday 30 July.

Their next fixtures in the competition will be determined by their results in the opening stage. The Final will take place on Sunday 6 August. A full guide to how the competition works can be viewed here.

David Parsons, Performance Director at England Netball, said: “The Netball World Cup is obviously such a high-profile event for our sport, and therefore naming the squad that will represent England in the summer is hugely exciting. We certainly won’t be underestimating the size of the challenge in front of us. But when you look at the strength of the squad that has been selected, and the blend of proven quality and young talent, I believe we can head into the tournament with optimism that we will be able to go toe to toe with the best teams in the world. Congratulations to all of those selected.”

Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball, added: “This is another big moment for our sport. Last year over seven million people tuned in to watch netball at the Commonwealth Games and we saw participation levels rise back up to pre-Covid levels. This summer is going to be another significant peak in visibility for women’s sport and I’m looking forward to seeing this exciting Vitality Roses squad inspire many more people to take to courts across the country.”

Details around the squad’s leadership group as well as the full broadcast schedule for the Vitality Netball World Cup for UK viewers will be shared in due course.

For more information about the Vitality Netball World Cup, visit their website.

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