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Netball boost for Plummer's Proteas

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/08/2016 Cathy Walshe

Coach Norma Plummer's ongoing quest to raise South Africa's world netball ranking has received a double boost.

Firstly, her world No.5-ranked team pushed New Zealand hard for three quarters of Wednesday's quad series match at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton.

Ahead 16-14 after 15 minutes, the Proteas' tenacity flustered, disrupted and nearly derailed the second-ranked Kiwis, who only opened out in the last quarter to a deceptively flattering 65-46 win.

Secondly, the two-time world championship-winning coach is hopeful New Zealand and Australia's new and extended domestic competitions will next year offer golden opportunities for South Africa's best players.

"We're getting some calls - I'm hopeful that a few will be picked up," Plummer said.

"It'll be the greatest thing for them."

South African netball bosses remain wary of players heading overseas, although it has been some years since star players Irene van Dyk and Leana de Bruin made the move from the republic to New Zealand.

Both went on to construct stellar careers for the Silver Ferns - van Dyk earning 145 caps in a 13-year stint, and de Bruin 104 before she retired earlier this year.

International eligibility rules have been tightened since then, and Plummer has no worries about any of her players remaining overseas.

"It wouldn't be in their interests anyway, and they want to play for South Africa," Plummer said.

"To come into the competition, they'd really grow.

"It would be fantastic. To me, that's the only thing missing."

With the winding up of the trans-Tasman league, three new teams are being added to make a new eight-strong domestic Australian competition while another New Zealand team will bring the Kiwi league to six.

Players such as young shooter Lenize Potgieter, midcourter Bongi Msomi and defender Karla Mostert all impressed against New Zealand, and will be looking to do the same in Sunday's final quad series match-up against England in Melbourne.

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