Proteas eliminated from World Netball champs

2011-07-08 13:22

South Africa were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the World Netball Championships after a 58-28 loss to world No 1 New Zealand in Kallang, Singapore, today.

The Proteas, ranked sixth in the world, started well and held an 11-10 lead after the first quarter.

The Silver Ferns, however, bounced back in the second quarter and drew clear, leading 27-17 at halftime, and won comfortably to progress to the semifinals.

South Africa came out all guns blazing at the start of the match, and were first to score.

They led for most of the quarter, although New Zealand moved into the lead for a brief period after 10 minutes.

The Silver Ferns made several changes for the second quarter, with former Protea player Leana de Bruin coming on as goalkeeper to earn her 50th Test cap for New Zealand, to add to her 34 caps for South Africa.

New Zealand outscored South Africa by 17 goals to six in the second quarter.

Another ex-Protea, Irene van Dyk, arguably the most accurate goalshooter in the world, showed no mercy for her former compatriots, living up to her formidable record.

Van Dyk went off at halftime, to be replaced by Paula Griffin, who also gave the South Africans little breathing space.

The Proteas fought hard throughout the match, but were undone by the Silver Ferns’ greater speed and accurate passes.

New Zealand scored 15 goals to South Africa’s six in the third quarter and 16-5 in the fourth.

Van Dyk, who was part of South Africa’s silver medal-winning team in 1995, was full of praise for the Proteas.

“South Africa came out on fire,” she said. “If they can string four quarters like that first quarter together, they can be world beaters.”

After the match, South African goalshooter Claudia Basson said the team believed they could compete with the top teams in the world.

“If we can maintain our consistency, we can beat any team,” Basson said.

Proteas head coach Elize Kotze said she was pleased that New Zealand had been forced to make a number of substitutions.

“They had to change their game plans, because we weren’t allowing them to play the way they wanted to,” Kotze said.

“I am delighted that the team is playing with courage and pride, and they no longer feel inferior to the top teams.

“I think this team is just beginning to show what they can do.”

South Africa will play Northern Ireland tomorrow, with the winner earning the right to play in the fifth-sixth place playoff on Sunday.

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