South Africa will be looking to top their best-ever performance at an international Fast5 tournament, when the Proteas arrive in Melbourne for the 2016 Fast5 Netball World Series on October 29 and 30. The Spar Proteas finished third in the 2012 tournament in Auckland, but have managed just fourth and fifth in the two most recent World Series competitions in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
But South African Fast5 coach Elsje Jordaan said her team is excited to make their mark on the competition, making its debut in Australia for the very first time.
“We’re very excited to be coming back to Australia, We do expect a lot of support, since the Aussies are known for their support and love for the game.” Jordaan said.
The South Africans will be led by captain and Proteas international Lauren-Lee Christians. Charmaine Baard, Marlize De Bruin, Vanes-Mari du Toit, Tshinakaho Mdau, Fikile Mkhuzangwe, Tanya Mostert, Mignesia Nhleko, Juline Rossouw and Ine-Marie Venter round out a youthful Proteas squad.
Jordaan said with the nature of Fast5 favouring the attacking nature of netball, her team’s ability to defend some of the world’s best scorers would be key to being a contender in the World Series.
“Our preparation is very much focused on how to utilise all the attacking space that is available and to move the ball with speed and accuracy. We’ll try to score as much during power plays, but to always make sure that we score when we are at our end,” Jordaan said.
“Our defence focuses on shutting down the attacking space as far as possible and to utilise defensive rebounds that are available, especially the two and three-pointers.”
Despite their number five ranking in the world, strong performances in the most recent Quad Series against Australia, New Zealand and England and their retaining of the Diamond Challenge title last week have given the South Africans cause for optimism.
Jordaan believes fans won’t be disappointed by the display her side puts out on court. “We want to contribute to the World Series by bringing our own, truly South African style of netball. Since we are known as the rainbow nation, we will be adding as much as colour, flair, energy and competitiveness to the series as possible,” the South African coach said.
“We are passionate about our country and this beautiful game, so we will be giving it our all.
“We will try to add as much excitement and energy to the series, so fans can be treated and spoiled with a brilliant Fast5 World Series.”
Fast5’s revolutionary rules include five players-a-side (down from seven in traditional netball), shortened quarters, multiple point shots and double point power plays over the exciting two-day series format at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena.