New Zealand standing in the way of Proteas semi-final hopes

South Africa are one step away from securing qualification for the 2023 Netball World Cup, but standing in their way are defending champions New Zealand.

The Spar Proteas will take to the court against the Silver Ferns at the Cape Town International Convention Centre of Wednesday.

The Proteas got back to winning ways when they beat Trinidad and Tobago, while Jamaica and England had no trouble maintaining their unbeaten records on the first day of second-stage preliminaries on Monday.

After Sunday’s loss to Jamaica, SA headed into their first Pool G match against Trinidad and Tobago having received another devastating blow to their hopes of contesting for a medal in front of their home crowd.

Goal shooter Lenize Potgieter, who played the first three quarters against Jamaica, was ruled out of the rest of the tournament due to a knee injury. She was replaced by reserve Sesandile Owethu Ngubane – who earned herself only her second cap for the Proteas.

Proteas assistant coach Dumisani Chauke acknowledged that losing Potgieter was not ideal as she has been a prominent member of the team.

“She’s [Potgieter] been quite a strong anchor, so it is a blow,” Chauke said.

“But we do have strong players in the team that are well capable of carrying on with the job and slot in nicely. Lenize is still around though, supporting us and making sure the girls stay together.”

Coach Norma Plummer stuck with the same seven for the first two quarters as the Proteas took a commanding 33-15 lead by halftime. Coming back for the third quarter, Nichole Taljaard moved from goal attack to goal shooter while Elmeré van der Berg came on as goal attack.

Despite the commanding victory by the host nation, their seventh over Trinidad and Tobago in eight encounters at the world cup, the Proteas’ below-par goal shooting would be of great concern against tougher opponents such as New Zealand who lie in wait.

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