Vitality Roses depart for New Zealand to face Silver Ferns in international series

The 3rd and final game of the Cadbury Netball Series. England’s Vitality Roses play against New Zealand’s Silver Ferns at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton, New Zealand. 1st November 2020.

England Netball’s Vitality Roses are headed for New Zealand, as they prepare to play a three-game
series against the Silver Ferns, set to take place in late September.

The Vitality Roses will fly to Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island, where they will quarantine
upon arrival as per the country’s Government restrictions due to the ongoing global COVID-19
pandemic.

The squad will exit quarantine on Friday 10 September to allow them to train as a team and prepare
for the three planned fixtures against the Silver Ferns on 20, 22 and 24 September at the Christchurch
Arena, subject to Government lockdown levels being reduced in the South Island.

The series, a key stage of preparation for the Vitality Roses ahead of next summer’s Commonwealth
Games in Birmingham as they bid to defend their historic gold from the 2018 Games, will be the first
time since the Cadbury Netball Series in 2020 that the two teams have faced each other on court.
The Vitality Roses will then travel to Australia to play the Australian Diamonds in a three-game series
in October, with the dates of fixtures and venue to be confirmed. England Netball, alongside Netball
Australia and Netball New Zealand are working hard behind the scenes to navigate the changing
COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine regulations in place between New Zealand and Australia
and will update the Netball Family on plans in due course.

David Parsons, Performance Director at England Netball, said: “To organise a tour of this magnitude
at this time has been incredibly challenging due to the ongoing global pandemic and the restrictions
to travel, testing programmes and quarantine periods as per Government regulations across the
world.

“The backroom teams involved have worked tirelessly over a period of many months to enable the
tour to get to this point and I’d like to thank everyone at Netball New Zealand and Netball Australia
for their continued efforts and partnership throughout. The situation in both countries is changing
daily and we are working with both nations to navigate what that means for the fixtures we have
planned. As part of operating in elite sport during these times, we know that plans could change – but
I don’t doubt that once the games get underway that it will be incredibly rewarding for all involved.
Sport Park, 3 Oakwood Drive, Loughborough, LE11 3QF

“We want to ensure our athletes have the best possible opportunities to compete against the World’s
top teams as we head towards the Commonwealth Games in 2022, however the health and safety of
our players is our priority and we will continue to follow all Government guidance in both New Zealand
and Australia, putting the wellbeing of all athletes first.”

Jess Thirlby, Vitality Roses Head Coach, said: “This tour provides us with the world-class playing and
training opportunities that are so critical to our preparations for the Commonwealth Games in
Birmingham next July.

“This series will enable us to test existing and new combinations within this diverse and talented
squad, and as a team we are really looking forward to journeying to New Zealand and Australia and
taking to the court to match up against some of the world’s highest ranked nations.

“We are excited to have international netball back on court and on screens for fans across the world
to enjoy.”

Fifteen Vitality Roses have been selected to play in New Zealand, with Joanne Harten, Helen Housby,
Natalie Haythornthwaite and Stacey Francis-Bayman joining the planned Australia leg of the tour.

The full squad selected for the series is as follows:

NamePositionsSenior caps
Ella ClarkGA, GS5
Rhea DixonGA, GS, WA0
George FisherGS, GA14
Eleanor CardwellGS, GA30
Sophie Drakeford-LewisGA, WA5
Laura MalcolmWA, WD, C31
Hannah JosephWA3
Serena GuthrieC, WD100
Beth CobdenWD, C26
Imogen AllisonWD, C2
Jade ClarkeC, WD179
Geva MentorGK, GD126
Layla GusgothGD, GK, WD26
Francesca WilliamsGD, GK, WD16
Vicki OyesolaGD, WD6
Stacey Francis-Bayman(Australia leg only) GD, WD, GK73
Joanne Harten(Australia leg only) GS, GA107
Helen Housby(Australia leg only) GA, GS66
Natalie Haythornthwaite(Australia leg only) WA, GA50

All fixtures during the tour will be broadcast on Sky Sports in the UK, with exact timings and
programming to be confirmed.

Tour news and updates will feature across England Netball Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
channels.