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Proteas to test Aust netballers

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/08/2016 Angelo Risso

File photo of Jhaniele Fowler-Reid (L) of the Steel and April Brandley compete for the ball during a match. © Dianne Manson/Getty Images File photo of Jhaniele Fowler-Reid (L) of the Steel and April Brandley compete for the ball during a match. Australia's Diamonds are bracing for a physical and high-octane affair when they take on South Africa in Saturday's netball Quad Series opener.

The world champions go into their match in the double-header at Auckland's Vector Arena as strong favourites over the world No.5 outfit, having thrashed them 63-31 in the 2015 World Cup group stages.

But defender April Brandley, touted as a potential replacement for absent skipper Laura Geitz, was cautious of a side coached by former Australian mentor Norma Plummer, expcting them to be fit, well-drilled and chomping at the bit.

New South Africa captain Bongi Msomi will provide the energy in midcourt, while young gun Lenize Potgieter racks up the points in the shooting circle.

"It's going to be a very fast-paced game, obviously they've had a lot of growth through the team," the 26-year-old Brandley said.

"It's important to get the key things out there that we want to achieve."

Stand-in skipper Clare McMeniman, who will marshall the Diamonds' defensive third, was expecting the unexpected from South Africa.

The 31-year-old hoped to make the most of her leadership experience, having already ushered the side through January's 3-0 whitewash of England.

"We don't have as much exposure to them but they're only going to have strengthened in their skills and line-up," McMeniman said.

Plummer, who took over the South African reins before last year's World Cup, said her side knew the challenge awaiting them.

Her troops would gain valuable experience from confronting the world's best.

"We're certainly not running around with rose-coloured glasses on," Plummer said.

"We hope we can have some sustained pressure and effort out on court, and give it a really good run."

Containing accomplished Australian attacking duo Caitlin Bassett and Natalie Medhurst would be key to producing an unlikely Proteas victory.

Proteas defender Karla Mostert, who is likely to be partnered at the back by Pumza Maweni, said her side would have to produce the perfect performance.

"It'll be important to make sure the combinations within our team, between goal defence, goal keeper and wing defence, are working," the 26-year-old said.

"Especially that the pressure is applied outside the shooting circle.

"We're just going to go full out and focus on what we need to do."

Hosts New Zealand take on England in the other match of the double-header.

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