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SA netballers take on top rivals from Down Under

Brutal Fruit Netball Cup 2014

In more much-needed international exposure, a South African invitation netball side will take on the Australian Team of Excellence in the SPAR International series in Potchefstroom between 12-18 October.
Sporting rivalry between South Africa and Australia stretches back over decades, and for many  South African sports stars, getting the better of a team from Down Under is sweeter than any other victory.
As much as there is rivalry between two sporting nations, there is also friendship, and both will be on display in the Series.
The two teams, both made up of players who are 23 or younger, will play three matches against each other, while the Australians will also play the South African Fast5 team in two Fast5 matches.
‘We were approached by Netball Australia, who wanted to give their young players some experience in travelling and playing overseas, and we were only too willing to agree,’ said Netball South Africa chief executive Blanche de la Guerre.
‘It’s a win-win situation, because it means we can give our younger players valuable experience against a team from one of the top netball countries. Some of our invitation team, like Melissa Myburgh, Lenize Potgieter and Kefiloe Tsotetsi have already played for the Proteas, but others are players we have our eyes on for the future.  Many of them were part of the South African Under-21 team that played in the world youth championships last year.’
De la Guerre said the series would be an ideal opportunity to measure South Africa’s development programme against the Australian programme. ‘We will also talk to them about ways we can improve our programmes,’ she said.
The South African Fast5 team is the team that will play in the Fast5 championships in Auckland, New Zealand, in November, and is a combination of young players and some very experienced players, like former Proteas captain Amanda Mynhardt and the current captain, Maryke Holtzhausen.
South Africa finished fourth in the Fast5 last year, and will be hoping to be among the medals this year.

Teams for the SPAR Netball Series:
SPAR Fast5 Team: Lenize Potgieter (Gauteng North), Mari-Lena Joubert (Boland), Maryke Holtzhausen (Mangaung Metro), Lauren-Lee Christians (Mangaung Metro), Amanda Mynhardt (Gauteng North), Mampho Tsotetsi (Gauteng Central), Phumza Maweni (Western Province), Vanes-Mari du Toit (Gauteng North), Tshina Mdau (Gauteng North).
Lindie Lombard (Gauteng North) was named for the SPAR Fast5 team but injured herself in the Varsity Cup. Netball South Africa will be naming a replacement for Lombard later this week.

SPAR Invitation Team: Lenize Potgieter (Gauteng North), Melissa Myburgh (Gauteng North), Mari-Lena Joubert (Boland), Bhongolethu Ngebeni (Dr Kenneth Kaunda), Lauren-Lee Christians (Mangaung Metro), Izette Lubbe (Gauteng North), Sasha-Lee Petersen (Boland), Zandre Kruger (Dr Kenneth Kaunda), Kefiloe Tsotetsi (Dr Kenneth Kaunda), Shadine van der Merwe (Gauteng North), Rochelle Lawson (Western Province), Lentsa Motau


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