Silver Ferns axe four for Commonwealth Games in wake of woeful quad series results

The Silver Ferns have dropped four players and brought in two replacements to their squad after a disappointing Quad Series for this year's Commonwealth Games.

After losses to both England and Australia last month, coach Janine Southby has opted to bring in Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson for the tournament.

Phoenix Karaka, Whitney Souness, Jane Watson and Maia Wilson have all been dropped after being part of the Quad Series team.

Southby said the selection process was a tough one but necessary after the team's recent results.

"We are aware of the challenge awaiting us on the Gold Coast which I know will bring out the best of these players."

Watch FULL LIVE COVERAGE of the 21st Commonwealth Games free-to-air on TVNZ from April 4, 2018.

Sokolich-Beatson is the new cap in the team, having previously been part of the Silver Ferns Development Squad.

The 21-year-old's elevation comes after a strong season with the Northern Mystics as well as captaining last year's NZ under-21 team at the Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana, which the Kiwis won.

"We are really pleased to be able to name a new cap in the team in Michaela who has had a very strong ANZ Premiership season with the Mystics and her addition to the side means we have cover for both GD and WD," Southby said.

Ekenasio has been recalled to the squad after last playing for the Silver Ferns in 2016.

The shooter left in 2017 to start a family but returned to elite netball last October just months after the birth of her son.

"Ameliaranne brings another layer of experience to our attacking end and her flair at both GA and GS leaves us with plenty of options up front," Southby said.

"She has performed well for the FAST5 Ferns most recently and is ready to return to the top level."

The team's immediate focus will be three training camps in the build-up to the series against Jamaica, Malawi and Fiji for the Taini Jamison Trophy in Auckland from March 21-24.

Former vice-captain Laura Langman was unavailable for selection due to "taking a break away from the sport in 2018", Netball NZ said.

Silver Ferns Commonwealth Games squad:

Shooters: Maria Folau (vc), Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Bailey Mes, Ameliaranne Ekenasio.

Midcourters: Grace Kara, Sam Sinclair, Kayla Cullen, Shannon Francois.

Defenders: Katrina Grant (c), Temalisi Fakahokotau, Kelly Jury, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson.

Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby
Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby Source: Photosport

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Teen pole-vaulter Olivia McTaggart joins brother in NZ Commonwealth Games team

Upcoming teen pole-vaulter Olivia McTaggart has been selected in the track and field team to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

She is not the only McTaggart competing at the Games, with her brother already in the New Zealand weightlifting team to compete in the April Games.

"It was very proud brotherly-sister moment and he's been waiting for it. He was a bit sceptical because I hadn't got it for a while (call) it was actually this morning when I found out," said McTaggart.

"He always knew that I would be going and for us to both be going is really cool."

McTaggart said they were always destined to compete alongside each other on the world stage.

"We've been looking towards this moment ever since we were gymnasts, really little."

Olivia McTaggart beat Eliza McCartney's national U17 record by 11cm last year. Source: 1 NEWS

Watch FULL LIVE COVERAGE of the 21st Commonwealth Games free-to-air on TVNZ from April 4, 2018.

The 18-year-old said her parents were extremely proud of her and her brother’s selection in the team.

"They were over the moon and they were just screaming when they found out that we were both selected.

"It's a really exciting moment for them."

McTaggart broke Olympic bronze medallist Eliza McCartney’s national under-17 record by 11 centimetres last year.

She will now have the chance to compete alongside McCartney at this year’s Games.

The 18-year-old will be heading to the Gold Coast Games with her brother Cameron. Source: 1 NEWS


Video: 'He's playing' - Etene Nanai-Seturo to play at Hamilton Sevens, despite ongoing Warriors dispute

New Zealand men's Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw is adamant 18-year-old star Etene Nanai-Seturo will play in this weekend's Hamilton Sevens tournament despite the ongoing dramas of a contract dispute with NRL club the Warriors.

Laidlaw said Nanai-Seturo is locked in to play his second Sevens tournament, after an impressive debut in Sydney last week.

"Nah, nah he's playing," said Laidlaw.

"His first start he topped our metres which was unbelievable for a guy that played his first ever start."

Nanai- Seturo was training with the Warriors in 2017 and signed a five-year deal as a 15-year-old.

Warriors CEO Cameron George has criticised New Zealand Rugby for lacking respect.

"There has to be respect amongst codes and I believe we are not being shown that right now," George told Radio LIVE.

"There are a number of parties involved in this but at the end of the day, New Zealand Rugby understood the situation of this gentleman, and to simply go name him in that squad, I believe that was disrespectful."

Watch FULL LIVE COVERAGE of the 21st Commonwealth Games free-to-air on TVNZ from April 4, 2018.

Laidlaw said he won't let the drama and outside noise disrupt his preparations with his team for the home tournament.

"We're excited, I know there has been a bit going on in the background, but like I said whatever day it was my job is to coach rugby, his is to play and other people can sort out the behind the scenes things.

"We expect him to get more game time this weekend and to play really well."

ALL BLACKS SEVENS: 1. Scott Curry – co-captain, 2. Tim Mikkelson - co-captain, 3. Teddy Stanaway, 4. Joe Ravouvou, 5. Luke Masirewa, 6. Vilimoni Koroi, 7. Sam Dickson, 8. Caleb Clarke, 9. Regan Ware, 10. Etene Nanai-Seturo, 11. Joe Webber, 12. Sione Molia, 13. Kurt Baker.

Nanai-Seturo made his debut for the All Blacks Sevens last weekend in Sydney, despite the tug-of-war. Source: 1 NEWS