30 Jan 2015

Sport: Julianna Naoupu a welcome addition to Samoan netball team

2:51 pm on 30 January 2015

Samoa netball coach Marcia Hardcastle says Julianna Naoupu made a big sacrifice by committing her international future to the Pacific nation.

The 24 year old was a part of the New Zealand squad in 2011 and 2012 but a series of injuries prevented her making it on the court.

After seven years in the ANZ Championship, Naoupu was released by the Canterbury Tactix at the end of last year and put her hand up to play for Samoa.

In a twist of fate she made her debut against the Silver Ferns in last week's Oceania Series and is expected to be a key player for Samoa at the World Cup in August.

With Pacific players classed as imports in the Trans-Tasman league, Marcia Hardcastle was well aware of the potential sacrifice in Naoupu's decision.

"Quite clear on that so I think for us it's to make sure that these girls know their commitment if they do take the plunge. That's been a huge bonus for us to get that experience to come in and that was just she purely realised that she wants to still play at the top level and to get an opportunity to play at a World Cup was only going to give her the opportunity to play further down the track, at the international level, for her country".

The Samoan team will be holding further national trials in Apia, Sydney and Auckland next month.