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Mel Mansfield leads huddle

Mansfield: ‘International success will benefit’

Mel Mansfield believes the international prowess of her Wasps Netball players will show on the domestic court in her first season as Head Coach.

Three of Wasps’ stars featured for the Vitality Roses during the off-season, with Fran Williams, Jade Clarke and Rachel Dunn all shining for the national side.

South Africa captain Bongi Msomi has also returned to Wasps, after spending last season in Australia.

Goal defence Fran Williams was given her England debut in the test series against Uganda, impressing Head Coach Tracey Neville who then gave her a starting berth.

Mansfield said it was a proud moment for her to see Wasps players starring on the international stage, and believes it reinforces the strength in depth of her squad.

She said: “It’s been non-stop this summer for the England players but how good is it to see Wasps players, past and present, shining on the international stage?

“At times there had been four on the court for England at the same time and deservingly so.

“We’ve got Rachel Dunn who wowed everyone in last season’s play-off final, and then built on that in Fast5, before getting back into the England squad.

“Jade Clarke also has an incredible amount of experience in big games, and she will be a key force for us again this year.”

Mansfield has also managed to retain the same defensive line-up that recorded the second-best goals-against record in the Vitality Netball Superleague last season.

She explained: “The past couple of seasons have proven what a formidable defensive unit we have in our squad. To keep hold of defenders as talented as Sam May, Josie Huckle and Hannah Knights is a coup for us.

“Fran Williams will also be pushing for a starting seven spot.

“She is a natural leader and I’ve already noticed the difference in her within training in terms of how confident she is and how she runs the defensive end. She has really grown as a player in the last two seasons and we’re excited to see what she can achieve this year.

“We have a range of combinations that we can play, which is key for any successful team, so it is a good headache for me to have.”

The two-time Vitality Netball Superleague champions will begin their 2019 campaign against Loughborough Lightning on Saturday 5 January (centre-pass 1pm).

The opening fixture is part of Super 10, which will be hosted at Arena Birmingham, and sees all ten Superleague sides competing at one venue on the same day. You can get tickets to watch all 10 teams in action at the Super 10 season opener here.

Wasps Netball season memberships are now on sale, and individual tickets for the first six Wasps Netball home fixtures of the 2019 season are also available. Visit www.waspsnetball.co.uk for more information.