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Netball teams set to sparkle in Diamond Challenge

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Two South African netball teams – the SPAR Proteas and the President’s Twelve – have been announced for the Diamond Challenge that starts in Durban on Sunday.
Zimbabwe and Uganda are the other teams taking part.
‘I’m very happy with the national team, because the ability of the players is very much on a par, and there will be no panic if I have to make any changes,’ said coach Norma Plummer.
‘With Commonwealth Games and the World Cup on the horizon, we have to start making sure that we have the right players in the team. I can try out different combinations and see what works best,’ she said.
It was at her suggestion that a President’s team was included in the tournament.
‘It is a way of exposing more players to international netball, and increasing the depth of South African netball.  These players are all knocking on the door of the national team – in fact some of them have already played at the top level. It is very good to have healthy competition for places in the side, so that no-one becomes too complacent,’ said Plummer.
There are two changes to the Proteas team that played in the Quad Series against New Zealand, Australia and England last month, with Juline Rossouw and Vanes-Mari du Toit coming in for Rochelle Lawson, who is getting married on Saturday and Jeanie Steyn, who is in the President’s Twelve.
Du Toit, a very experienced national player, who has also played in the ANZ league, recently made her comeback after a long lay-off because of injury. This season Du Toit plaid for the Yorkshire Jets in the UK’s SuperLeague.
Rossouw was a member of the squad for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and also played in the national Fast Five team.
‘Our training camp has been going very well, and we will be concentrating on the more technical aspects for the next few days,’ said Plummer. ‘We even had a session where we brought in rugby tackle bags – not because we want to kick our opposition off the park, but because netball can get very physical, and the players need to learn how to deal with physicality and how to be stronger.’
The President’s Twelve open the tournament when they take on Uganda at 4pm on Sunday. The SPAR Proteas will play Zimbabwe in the second match, at 6pm.

Picture of Du Toit courtesy of Reg Caldecott

SPAR Proteas: Lenize Potgieter, Renske Stoltz, Sigrid Burger, Vanes-Mari du Toit, Izette Lubbe, Bongiwe Msomi, Erin Burger, Precious Mthembu, Karla Mostert, Juline Rossouw, Zanele Vimbela, Phuma Maweni
President’s Twelve: Ina-Mari Venter, Thuli Nhleko, Elsunet du Plessis, Lindie Lombard, Rome Dreyer, Marlize de Bruin, Nadia Uys, Tshina Mdau, Tanya Mostert, Nobubele Phuza, Simphiwe Sithebe, Jeanie Steyn, Alicia Puren


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