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Vitality Roses squad named for Netball World Cup

Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby has named a squad featuring eight players from the Netball Super League (NSL) that will fly out to South Africa to compete in the Vitality Netball World Cup.

Taking place from 28 July to 6 August, the 16th edition of the World Cup will take place in Africa for the first time.

League leaders London Pulse lead the way with four players named in the squad. For double-centurion Jade Clarke this will be an international record-equalling sixth World Cup, matching Trinidad & Tobago’s Rhonda John-Davis. Her teammate, and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Chelsea Pitman returns to the Roses squad for her first major tournament since the last World Cup in Liverpool.

Joining them will be World Cup debutants, Funmi Fadoju and Olivia Tchine. Both players made their senior debuts for the Roses back in October against Uganda and have been prominent players in Sam Bird’s Pulse side this season.

Another player in line to make her World Cup debut is Imogen Allison from Team Bath. The 25-year-old centre played in her first major tournament last summer at the Commonwealth Games.

After being the youngest player in the squad in 2019, Fran Williams returns to the Roses for her second consecutive World Cup. The Loughborough Lightning defender is enjoying her best season in the NSL and is second in the league for intercepts behind Strathclyde SirensTowera Vinkhumbo.

Manchester Thunder captain Natalie Metcalf and 2022 NSL Player of the Season Layla Guscoth have also received call ups. Metcalf is currently top of the feeders’ leaderboard, with 453 feeds whilst Layla is in the top 10 for deflections, turnovers and intercepts after an impressive season with Surrey Storm.

Joining the squad will be three travelling reserves: Halimat Adio (London Pulse), Amy Carter (Manchester Thunder) and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (Surrey Storm).

Jess Thirlby, Vitality Roses Head Coach, commented: “The unveiling of our Roses squad is a hugely exciting moment and the culmination of years of hard work that the players and the wider team have put in to drive the depth and breadth of our talent pool, as well as our performances on the international and domestic stage.

“This squad strikes a great balance of experience whilst also introducing an exciting point of difference with some of our incredible young talent who are deserving of their place in the squad amongst some of the sport’s longest serving players. It provides the versatility needed to combat what we know to be the key areas of focus for us, as uncovered during recent international match ups. Importantly, this team along with our three travelling reserves, speaks to what we believe is one of our greatest strengths – our tactical diversity – and gives us the best chance to counteract those styles of our biggest rivals.

“The global game has moved on since the last World Cup and now more than ever, the margins between the top nations are at their narrowest. Tournament netball and its conditions are like no other league in the world and it will be important to call upon those varying styles of play within the team in order to help move us closer to breaking into a World Cup final for the first time.”

“The team are highly ambitious, hugely supportive of each other and I trust together we will do whatever we can to perform at our best in Cape Town.”

The Vitality Roses, who finished third at the event in 2019 in Liverpool, will begin their World Cup campaign against Barbados on Friday 28 July, followed by the Malawi Queens on Saturday 29 July before a Home Nations clash with the Scottish Thistles on Sunday 30 July.

Their next fixtures in the competition will be determined by their results in the opening stage. The Final will take place on Sunday 6 August and a full guide on how the competition works can be viewed here.

Details around the squad’s leadership group as well as the full broadcast schedule for the Vitality Netball World Cup for UK viewers will be shared in due course.

Name Club Position
Imogen Allison Team Bath WD, C
Eleanor Cardwell Adelaide Thunderbirds (Australia) GS, GA
Jade Clarke London Pulse C, WD
Funmi Fadoju London Pulse GD, GK, WD
Layla Guscoth Surrey Storm GD, WD, GK
Helen Housby NSW Swifts (Australia) GA, GS
Laura Malcolm Trident Homes Tactix (New Zealand) C, WD, WA
Geva Mentor Collingwood Magpies (Australia) GK
Natalie Metcalf Manchester Thunder WA, GA
Chelsea Pitman London Pulse WA
Olivia Tchine London Pulse GS
Fran Williams Loughborough Lightning GD, GK

Travelling reserves

Name Club Position
Halimat Adio London Pulse GK, GD
Amy Carter Manchester Thunder C, WD
Sophie Drakeford-Lewis Surrey Storm GA, WA

For more information about the Vitality Netball World Cup, visit their website.

Watch all of the selected Vitality Roses in the Netball Super League on Sky Sports.

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