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Fresh group of NSL Roses selected for England's international test series with New Zealand

A 14-strong squad containing stars from the Netball Super League (NSL) have been selected to represent the Vitality Roses in next month’s international series with New Zealand.

Following a summer that concluded with a silver medal and England’s history-making performance at the Netball World Cup, a fresh cohort of players have been picked for England’s first international series of the new cycle.

Amongst the Vitality Roses’ squad are seven players in line to make their England debuts.

This includes Emma Thacker, who has recently signed with Saracens Mavericks for the 2024 NSL season. She’ll line up alongside fellow new Mavericks’ Ellie Rattu, who received her first international cap last year against Uganda, and Vicki Oyesola whose last appearance came in 2020 against New Zealand.

Manchester Thunder’s second signing for 2024, and Future Rose, Ella Bowen has received her first international call-up. She’ll be joined by her teammate and World Cup reserve Amy Carter who has six Roses caps, three of which have come against New Zealand.

Following a best-ever season for London Pulse in 2023, Hali Adio, who was also a reserve at the Netball World Cup, will fly out to New Zealand with Berri Neil and Alicia Scholes who have been named in their first Roses squad.

The Vitality Roses will be led by a temporary coaching and staff team as players and members of staff from the 2023 World Cup take a planned break.

Leeds Rhinos Head Coach, and Vitality Roses Technical Coach, Liana Leota, will step in to temporarily lead the side as Head Coach. She will be assisted by London Pulse Head Coach Sam Bird, who joins the coaching team specifically for this series, and former Vitality Rose and NSL star Jo Harten who had also provided support for the team at the World Cup.

All athletes and staff will return under the leadership of Vitality Roses Head Coach, Jess Thirlby, for the three-match home series against South Africa in December 2023.

Vitality Roses squad for New Zealand Series: 

  • Hali Adio (GK, GD)
  • Ella Bowen (GD, GK, WD)
  • Amy Carter (C, WD)
  • Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (GA, WA)
  • Sasha Glasgow (GA, GS)
  • Alice Harvey (GK, GD)
  • Hannah Joseph (WA, C)
  • Elle McDonald (C, WA)
  • Berri Neil (GA, GS)
  • Vicki Oyesola (GD, WD, GK)
  • Jayda Pechova (GD, GK)
  • Ellie Rattu (C, WD)
  • Alicia Scholes (WA, C)
  • Emma Thacker (GA, GS)

Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby commented: “This series presents a brilliant opportunity for new, returning and current Vitality Roses and Future Roses athletes to get much-needed exposure to international competition soon after our World Cup campaign. It’s important that we keep up the momentum in the short term but with the longer-term ambition of achieving further success in the next cycle with the World Cup in Sydney firmly in our minds. That work starts now and I’m looking forward to supporting this very talented squad through this Taini Jamison series.

“Many of this squad have had fantastic seasons within the NSL, earning them selection onto our Roses and Futures programmes for the coming year alongside more seasoned players who narrowly missed out on the recent World Cup. They have been working hard in camp and are hungry to pull on the red dress and I’m sure this will help to accelerate both the individual and collective development of our team.

“My role will be to provide performance support to both the staff and player group whilst gaining valuable insight into our current performance levels to help inform our strategic plans moving forward. It’s great to bring together Liana, Sam and Jo who will lead the team on this occasion and who I know will both challenge and support the team in equal measure.”

Liana Leota added: “I feel privileged and honoured to be able to lead the Roses to New Zealand in a three-match test series. For me, it’s an opportunity to develop. I enjoy and love my role as a technical coach in the Roses environment so this is a chance to see what else I can learn in this role. This is also a great opportunity for the youngsters and new players we’re bedding in. It’s the start of a new four-year cycle so it’s a chance for those who have not got as much experience to come up against New Zealand. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have to offer and the experience we can provide to them on the international stage.”

Performance Director David Parsons said: “It was important after such a busy summer, which in itself brought a culmination of three years of intensive training and competition, for most of our athletes and staff to ensure they had the time needed to reset as we enter the next international period determined to build upon the progress we saw at the Netball World Cup. This provides a brilliant opportunity for us to learn more about the athletes who will be pressing to be part of Roses during this cycle and beyond.

“Coming up against such a strong and highly competitive netball nation like New Zealand gives us the chance to gain some early insight at the start of this important phase, but also this will be a great test and learning opportunity for our athletes.

“We are also intent on supporting the development of the coaches working across the Netball Super League, as well as those that may have a contribution to make to the international game in the future, so we are delighted that Liana, Sam and Jo will be leading this tour and we will continue to look for opportunities to develop our coaching workforce.”

The full list of fixtures and timings for fans in the UK are as follows:

  • Sunday 24 September at Christchurch Arena, Christchurch: FCP 4am
  • Wednesday 27 September at Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua: FCP 7:30am
  • Saturday 30 September at GLOBOX Arena, Hamilton: FCP 7:10am

Broadcast details for fans in the UK will be confirmed in due course.

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