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Proteas adapting to Quad Series deep end

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/08/2016 Angelo Risso

Veteran netball coach Norma Plummer was able to read her South Africa side so well, she could see their mistakes before they happened.

But at least, she said, they were having a crack.

The Proteas fell to a 68-43 loss to Australia in their Netball Quad Series opener in Auckland, having been outclassed in all thirds of the court.

But Plummer, a former world champion as coach of Australia, was delighted with her side's display.

The Proteas had bettered their 35-point drubbing against the Diamonds in last year's World Cup and were clearly on the rise, she said.

Shooter Lenize Potgieter had netted a respectable 30 points from 27 attempts, while centre Erin Burger made good yardage in the midcourt.

"We're making those inroads and we have to be able to keep challenging ourselves," Plummer said after Saturday's match.

"We only have to get all that fine-tuning done - the trouble is that I don't have them every day and I don't have a daily training environment."

Plummer has been travelling between her native Australia and South Africa while at the helm of the Proteas, attemting to get the side in shape.

On a recent trip to the Rainbow Nation, Plummer held a seminar for coaches in the hope of accelerating local players' development.

Further mentoring was required at all levels of the game.

"They play an awful lot of netball over there game-wise, but they don't do the intense training that's required," Plummer said.

Diamonds shooters Caitlin Bassett and Caitlin Thwaites bullied Plummer's defensive rearguard in Auckland, netting goals with ease.

Both goal shooters, towering at 193cm and 188cm respectively, exploited their height and reach advantage over Proteas goal keeper Phumza Maweni.

Plummer said Maweni, who only started playing the game at 28 years old, was doing a good job in the circumstances.

"Give me Phumza every day for 12 months and she'll compete," Plummer said.

"We have to teach her how to correct and come off the body and learn how to rotate, that's all the process."

Fellow defender Karla Mostert, 26, echoed her coach's message.

"Our league back home isn't this intense, so being exposed to that type of intensity is what we need," Mostert said.

"We're taking it step by step, you can't take the big steps yet, just to become better every time you play."

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander was unsurprised Plummer, her former coach, had the Proteas in good shape.

They had clearly improved in the past 12 months, she said.

"They'll continue to get better and the more they get that experience, the more they'll improve," Alexander said.

South Africa will now travel to Hamilton to take on the Silver Ferns on Wednesday.

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