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Neville believes England are ready for South Africa test

The Roses defeated Trinidad and Tobago 72-46.

Neville believes England are ready for South Africa test

Tracey Neville believes England are ready for another examination at the Netball World Cup after they qualified for the semi-finals following a 72-46 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.

England maintained their 100 percent winning record at the tournament but it was far from a vintage performance at the M&S Bank Arena, their opponents closing to within three goals in the second quarter.

Once Helen Housby came off the bench to replace Rachel Dunn, withdrawn because of an elbow injury before returning for the final quarter, England quickly seized the initiative though the Calypso Girls were far from pushovers.

Tracey Neville admitted England were not at their best in the win over Trinidad and Tobago
Tracey Neville admitted England were not at their best in the win over Trinidad and Tobago (Nigel French/PA)

Neville accepted that her side were not at their best but is confident they will be equal to the challenge that faces them on Friday when England will seal top spot in their group if they overcome South Africa.

The England coach said: “I knew we were going to come out a little bit flat.

“Trini: far dos to them, the first eight minutes of every quarter they really came hard and seemed to die off towards the end. That really helped us to be able to accelerate through to that 15 minutes.

“To be honest, I’m glad we came out with 70-odd goals and although the performance wasn’t as clinical as we wanted, I didn’t expect (a clinical performance). But it’s important to keep that winning momentum as we go through.

“We’re going out to win every single game. It’s a really good match-up (against South Africa), we obviously got tested (against Jamaica), we got tested against Uganda and I think it’s a good time for us to be tested.”

Jo Harten was again on form for England
Jo Harten was again on form for England (Nigel French/PA)

England’s qualification to the last four was confirmed with South Africa’s 67-40 defeat of Uganda later on Wednesday.

Housby and Chelsea Pitman were both benched while a couple of others started or were given time in unfamiliar positions, with Neville giving court time to all 11 players available to her as she looks to assess her options.

However, Dunn’s injury meant Housby and Jo Harten resumed their successful partnership, which yielded 57 goals at 90 percent and 91 percent shooting accuracy respectively in Liverpool.

Neville said: “We know it’s a gold-medal-winning partnership (the pair helped England to top the podium in the Commonwealth Games last year).

“We have to know who makes a difference and who can come on and make an impact and what position they can do it in.

Australia will face New Zealand for top spot in the other group at the World Cup
Australia will face New Zealand for top spot in the other group at the World Cup (Nigel French/PA)

“I think every nation has a starting seven and a very cemented seven that you could probably predict that they’re going to come.

“I think it’s the changes that are absolutely key and we’ve got to play around with that and see what suits us.”

Neville insists she is paying no attention to matters in the other group, where Australia and New Zealand have already clinched their places in the last four and will take each other on for top spot on Friday.

Australia are the top-ranked side in the world while New Zealand defeated England in the 2015 World Cup.

Neville added: “It’s irrelevant what’s happened in the other group and after (South Africa), we’ll face who we’ve got to play on Saturday.

“We’ve got no preference because if you want to stand on the top of the podium you’ve got to beat everybody, that’s the most important thing to us.”

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