New Zealand has named a 12-strong team to defend their title at Netball World Youth Cup Gaborone 2017 (NWYC2017), July 8-16.
Headlining the list of names are Silver Ferns Maia Wilson and Kelly Jury, along with a host of players who have had standout ANZ Premiership and Beko Netball League seasons.
Michaela Sokolich-Beatson will captain the side, with Charlotte Elley named vice-captain.
Coach Kiri Wills says it has been a tough selection process with all players in the squad stepping up, but the 12 selected have the edge and x-factor required.
“We’ve seen some amazing performances in the ANZ Premiership particularly. The players have shown that they can stand up and that they can be tough – and we’re going to need tough,” Wills said.
“We’ve picked a team that gives us a lot of variety, particularly at either end of the court. We’ve got holding shooters, moving shooters, we’ve got defenders who can play space and play tight man, and so we can mix it up and really use our game plans to our advantage.”
Since the first NWYC in 1988, the NZU21s team has gone on to win Gold on three occasions (1992, 2005 and 2013). They are the reigning world champions having defeated Australia, 52-47, in 2013.
“It’s a great position for us to be in. Generally we’ve been going in as underdogs, but it’s a good challenge to be the defending champions,” Wills said.
“We’ll be fighting for every inch on the court. Gaborone will be an exciting place to play; there are some huge mountains to climb for this team, but I’m confident that they’ve got the will and the guts to follow that through.”
The NZU21s will depart New Zealand on Monday 3 July where they will continue their preparations in Johannesburg, South Africa, before arriving in Gaborone for the start of NWYC2017.
They have been drawn in Pool A against Sri Lanka, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Samoa, with their first match against Northern Ireland at 8am (local time), Saturday 8 July.
NZU21s team – NWYC2017:
NAMEPOSITIONSTEAM (ANZ Premiership &/or Beko Netball League)
Aliyah Dunn GS/GANetball South / Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel
Charlotte Elley (VC)C/WD/WASilvermoon Tactix
Abby Erwood GK/GDAscot Park Hotel Southern Steel
Monica Falkner GA/GSWBOP Magic
Fa’amu Ioane WA/C/WD/GDNorthern Stars
Kelly Jury GK WBOP Magic
Kate LloydGKHellers Netball Mainland / Silvermoon Tactix
Tiana Metuarau GA/GSTe Wānanga O Raukawa Pulse
Kimiora Poi C/WANetball Central / Te Wānanga O Raukawa Pulse
Mila Reuelu-Buchanan WA/CNetball Central / Te Wānanga O Raukawa Pulse
Michaela Sokolich-Beatson (C)GD/WD/GKSKYCITY Mystics
Maia Wilson GS Northern Stars
Kiri Wills, Head Coach
Julie Seymour, Assistant Coach
Jen Ferguson, Physio
Jill Clapcott, Manager
Anna Cave, Performance Analyst
Dr Penelope Day, Doctor
International Netball Federation Appointed Umpires/Officials – NZL
Fay Meiklejohn (Umpire Appointments Panel)
NZU21s NWYC2017 Match Schedule (all games shown in local time):
Note: Botswana is -10hours behind New Zealand
Day 1, Saturday 8 July: 8am, New Zealand v Northern Ireland
Day 2, Sunday 9 July: 2pm, Samoa v New Zealand
Day 3, Monday 10 July: 10am, Scotland v New Zealand
Day 4, Tuesday 11 July: REST DAY
Day 5, Wednesday 12 July: 9am, New Zealand v Sri Lanka
Days 6 – 9: Finals (Pools reconfigured)
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