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Depth key to netball's future: Plummer

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/08/2016 Cathy Walshe

New Zealand and Australia should have a vested interest in developing international netball depth, says South Africa's coach Norma Plummer. © Martin Hunter/Getty Images New Zealand and Australia should have a vested interest in developing international netball depth, says South Africa's coach Norma Plummer. Netball's international future hinges on developing depth outside traditional powerhouses Australia and New Zealand, South Africa's coach Norma Plummer believes.

The former Diamonds coach, who has coached the Proteas for just over a year, says it's vital that nations such as South Africa become more competitive.

And Netball New Zealand chief executive Jennie Wyllie agrees.

Although planning is still in the early stages, NZ Netball are keen to introduce an international component following next year's new-look domestic league.

Wyllie says that's crucial if netball is to continue to develop depth beyond its big four - Australia, New Zealand, England and Jamaica.

"It's crucial that all those developing nations get that level of exposure, because we will become stronger as a sport if the sum of the parts is strong," she told NZ Newswire.

Plummer's fifth-ranked South Africa team are a case in point.

They have just completed the New Zealand leg of the four-team quad series with a 65-46 loss to the Silver Ferns in Hamilton on Wednesday.

Prior to that, they were beaten 65-39 by Australia in Auckland three days earlier.

The margin of the losses doesn't bother Plummer, who guided Australia to successive world titles in 2007 and 2011.

"We're not going to cry if we don't get over the line - we're here to learn," she told NZ Newswire.

South Africa has an impressive player base - Plummer estimates there are over four million netballers in the country - but she says the lack of funding and infrastructure is telling.

"You know that if the African countries could ever get their act together, we might not touch the ball.

"The natural talent there is sensational but they haven't got the coaches and they haven't got the money."

Plummer says netball has to develop depth if it is to achieve on the international stage at events like the Oympics.

"If we don't help the rest of the world come up, nothing's going to change.

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