Dame Noeline Taurua has named a 14-strong squad for next month’s four-match Constellation Cup against the Australian Diamonds.
Taurua revealed the New Zealand squad on Breakfast from her car in Pukehina while on “the school run” this morning.
The squad includes the return of veteran shooter Bailey Mes, who has had a lengthy layoff due to a calf injury, and uncapped midcourter Maddy Gordon.
Taurua said the selection process was “harsh” but she’s glad she was able to communicate directly with her players despite recent Covid-19 restrictions.
“We had a camp [in Wellington] 10 days ago so I was able to tell the players face-to-face at the time,” Taurua said.
“I’ve been on the reciprocal side so you know what it feels like – it’s part of the job.”
Taurua has opted for a heavy midcourt presence with seven midcourters selected but that also sees the squad light on defenders with just three selected.
“We’re a bit short on the old defence through various reasons – we’ve got a couple that are pregnant which is absolutely beautiful and we’ve got an injury in regards to Michaela Sokolich-Beatson so we’re a bit short.
“It’s just how it is but that means more opportunities open for our midcourters.”
Gordon, who made the Silver Ferns squad late last year after an impressive ANZ Premiership campaign, is the only player in the side yet to make her international debut.
The series marks the first time in over a year since the World No. 1 Australian Diamonds have played an international Test, which Taurua said added to the excitement of the traditional trans-Tasman rivalry.
“I can’t wait – we’re playing against the No.1s, we’ll only find out how good we are once we play up against them and it’s been a long time since drinks.
“We’re ready. This is what it’s all about.”
The first two Tests will be played at the Christchurch Arena on 2 and 3 March while the Trustpower Baypark Arena in Tauranga hosts two matches on 6 and 7 March.
Silver Ferns - Constellation Cup