Belfast Telegraph

New Zealand end title wait as England grab bronze

 

Casey Kopua
Casey Kopua

By Mark Staniforth

New Zealand held off an Australian fightback to win their first Netball World Cup since 2003 with a dramatic 52-51 triumph in Liverpool.

The Silver Ferns' success completed a recent revival after they had failed to medal for the first time at last year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Leading by six points midway through the penultimate quarter, the underdogs saw their lead begin to dwindle and a pair of late interceptions from Casey Kopua proved crucial in protecting their lead.

Their win, which was greeted by a court invasion from substitutes and team staff, brought immediate retribution for the single-goal defeat they had suffered to the same team in the group stages on Thursday.

And it gave them their first world title since their win over the Australians in Kingston, Jamaica in 2003 - since when their opponents had turned the tables with three consecutive crowns.

New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua said: "Our country and our clubs all had to be on board to pull the best out and strengthen our competition and it was a case of method to the madness.

"It's been a long process and we've come through different stages and I'm so happy that it's come to this end and we've been able to lift the Cup up."

Meanwhile, England rebounded from their painful semi-final defeat to New Zealand by beating South Africa to claim a bronze medal.

Less than 24 hours after a painful three-goal defeat to the Silver Ferns wrecked their hopes of a first World Cup win since 1975, Tracey Neville's team dominated their opponents with a 58-42 win.

It marked a third consecutive third-placed finish in the tournament for England.

England captain Serena Guthrie said: "When Tracey first came into his job it was a whirlwind, but to see her grow as a world-class international coach has been pleasure."

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