In their third outing of the Vitality Netball World Cup, the Vitality Roses once again take on Samoa following their encounter in Australia four years ago.
Samoa are relative newcomers to the competition compared to their opposition, first appearing at the World Cup in 1991. The Samoans have been consistent when on the world stage, though, qualifying for every edition since their debut and finishing in the top ten on six separate occasions.
Now fourteenth in the INF World Rankings, Samoa defeated all four of their Oceanic counterparts Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the Cook Islands in their regional qualifier event to confirm their place in Liverpool.
Ones to Watch
Auteletoa Tanimo (GS, GA) – A niece of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and relative of former Silver Ferns player Linda Vagana, Auteletoa Tanimo has carved a legacy of her own thanks to her ability in the shooting circle. This will be the 25-year-old’s second appearance at a World Cup having turned out for Samoa in 2015.
Geraldine Solia-Gibb (GD, GK) – Geraldine Solia-Gibb’s sporting prowess runs in the family. Solia-Gibb’s four elder sisters have played netball for Samoa while her husband has represented the country’s rugby 15’s and rugby 7’s sides. The goal defence and goalkeeper already has one World Cup under her belt, when she played in New Zealand in 2007, and is co-captain alongside Brooke Williams.
While no current Samoa internationals play in the Vitality Netball Superleague, Cat Tuivaiti (below), who featured for Strathclyde Sirens in the early stages of the 2019 season, amassed 30 caps for the national team before switching to New Zealand, the country of her birth, in 2011.
Meanwhile, seven of the England squad – Helen Housby, Joanne Harten, Rachel Dunn, Serena Guthrie, Jade Clarke, Eboni Usoro-Brown and Geva Mentor – were in Australia to face Samoa in 2015.
The Vitality Roses and Samoa have met on the court on just a handful of occasions – in 1999 and in the last edition of the Vitality Netball World Cup four years ago. England ran out comfortable winners, triumphing in all four quarters to record a convincing 85-34 victory in Sydney.
Samoa Squad in Full
Eseta Autagavaia, Ariana Luamanu, Lenora Misa, Ann Helen Nu’uali’itia, Rachel Rasmussen, Soli Ropati, Tee Salanoa, Afi Lafaiali’i-Sapolu, Gene Solia-Gibb (Co-Captain), Toa Tanimo, Sanita To’o, Brooke Amber Williams (Co-Captain).
By Conor de Smith