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CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 25: during the Vitality Netball Superleague match between Celtic Dragons and London Pulse at the Sport Wales National Centre on March 25, 2019 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images for England Netball)

All ten Vitality Netball Superleague sides are being represented at the Vitality Netball World Cup in Liverpool this July. When South Africa face Trinidad and Tobago at the M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, on the opening day, five players who were involved in the 2019 VNSL season will be hoping to star.

The Lowdown

When these two sides take to the court on Friday night, a vast amount of World Cup lineage will be on display. Both have qualified for every tournament since 1995 and each have won multiple medals.

The SPAR Proteas qualified for this competition automatically thanks to their place within the top five netball nations, according to the INF World Rankings, and will do so again when they host in four years time. They made an impact last time they participated in a World Cup on British soil, finishing second after 25 years of isolation following apartheid, and will be hoping to make a similarly seismic statement this time around.

Netball is the most successful sport in Trinidad and Tobago. Indeed, in 1979, they became the only nation other than Australia and New Zealand to win the World Cup. They have also appeared in 13 of the 14 editions of the tournament. Affectionately known as the Calypso Girls, Wesley Gomes’ team went through their regional qualifiers undefeated to book their place in Liverpool.

VNSL Players Involved

  • Bongiwe Msomi (South Africa & Wasps Netball)

Bongiwe Msomi enjoyed a fruitful Vitality Netball Superleague season as she helped Wasps reach a third consecutive Grand Final. The 31-year-old has represented the SPAR Proteas at two previous World Cups (2011 and 2015) as a dynamic wing attack and will captain her country this summer.

  • Shadine Van Der Merwe (South Africa & Surrey Storm)

Shadine Van Der Merwe will make her World Cup debut in Liverpool. The 25-year-old played for Surrey Storm in the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague season but joined Adelaide Thunderbirds as a permanent replacement player for an injured Beth Cobden soon after.

Van Der Merwe has worked hard to earn a place in Norma Plummer’s squad and her immense contribution to Storm’s Fast5 qualification, as well as winning Surrey Storm’s Best and Fairest Award in her first season with the club, certainly helped her cause.

  • Maryka Holtzhausen (South Africa & Severn Stars)

Maryka Holtzhausen became the first South African to play in the Vitality Netball Superleague when she joined Loughborough Lightning in 2015. The goal attack has since moved to Severn Stars and has now amassed more than a century of caps for her country, appearing at two World Cups thus far.

  • Sigi Burger (South Africa & Surrey Storm)

A late addition to the South African squad due to a training injury to Ine-Marí Venter, Sigi Burger will be looking to capitalise on this chance. The goal shooter had a tremendous season for Surrey Storm with an impressive shooting percentage of 94% and the league’s highest average number of goals per match. Burger has 13 caps for her country and this will be her first World Cup.

  • Kalifa McCollin (Trinidad and Tobago & Celtic Dragons)

Vibrant, athletic and accurate, goal attack Kalifa McCollin will represent Trinidad and Tobago this summer. The 23-year-old was a standout player for Celtic Dragons in 2019 and was rewarded with a place in the league’s All-Star VII. McCollin scored 419 goals last season and achieved a 92% shooting average at the 2015 World Cup.

Head-to-Head

All of Dragons, Stars, Storm and Wasps faced off on a number of occasions during the recent Vitality Netball Superleague season, giving this collection of South African and Trinidadian talent the chance to compete against one another on a regular basis.

Wasps’ Bongiwe Msomi was triumphant in all games against her countrywomen and her Caribbean counterpart last season. She proved integral in all of these matches, especially in the two victories over McCollin’s Dragons.

Despite her attacking prowess, McCollin was also on the losing side in both fixtures against Maryka Holtzhausen’s Stars but did the double over Storm. The goal attack exerted her influence in the 58-51 win over the Surrey outfit later in the season, scoring the first goal of the game.

Storm’s Shadine Van Der Merwe made a stellar contribution to her side last term and this was showcased by her Player of the Match performance against Wasps in February. Van Der Merwe got the better of her international teammate Holtzhausen when they beat Stars in Round Six.

Holtzhausen enacted her revenge later in the season, though, with a 46-51 win. Stars competed well when facing other sides involving South African and Trinidadian stars with Holtzhausen particularly shining in her side’s first win over Dragons.

South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago have gone head-to-head on six occasions at previous World Cups with the SPAR Proteas winning five of those encounters.

Make sure you’re following the Vitality Netball Superleague on Twitter for the latest news and updates!

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