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Weary Welsh still raring to go as Test series draws closer
- Updated: June 15, 2016
Not even a marathon 56 hours of travel can stop the Welsh netball team from being upbeat about their upcoming series against South Africa in Durban this weekend.
Wales, ranked eighth in world netball, will meet fifth-ranked South African Proteas in the upcoming SPAR Challenge over three test games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Durban International Convention Centre.
Both the Welsh senior and Under-21 teams were due to arrive in South Africa early Monday morning but a delayed flight out of Gatwick’s London airport saw the 39-member squad miss their connection in Istanbul to Johannesburg.
This meant the squad were delayed for 16 hours in Istanbul before being able to jet out to Johannesburg.
Then, their late arrival at OR Tambo International resulted in them missing their connection to Durban and having to overnight at a Johannesburg airport hotel before boarding their Wednesday connection to Durban.
‘It was a mammoth trip with lots of complications but we made the most of it’ said Welsh captain Suzy Drake. ‘The time together allowed us to gel as a team. We knew we had no other options so although it was a challenge we turned a negative into a positive which I feel will bid us well for the upcoming series against the SPAR Proteas.’
Drake said the delays also gave the Seniors a chance to meet and warm to the Under 21 players. ‘We don’t know our Under-21 players that well and seeing they are the future Welsh stars we have a great opportunity to meet them and share our knowledge with them.’
The Welsh Under 21 team will play their South African counterparts in three games, each preceding the official tests.
Drake said all her team were ‘delighted and excited’ to be in South Africa.
Wales and South Africa have played each other 11 times in international netball with the Proteas winning each test but this is the first time Wales will be playing in South Africa.