28 Jun 2019

Sport: Fiji Pearls suffer second heavy loss

2:50 pm on 28 June 2019

Fiji suffered another lopsided defeat in the Cadbury Netball Series in Auckland, this time beaten 99-32 by an All Stars selection.

The Pearls, who were thrashed 93-19 by the New Zealand men's team on Wednesday, trailed the All Stars by 19 goals after the opening quarter, 36 goals at half-time and were 53 goals adrift heading into the final period.

Fiji recently won a test series in Singapore and secured the gold medal at the Arafura Games in Darwin (above).

Fiji recently won a test series in Singapore and secured the gold medal at the Arafura Games in Darwin (above). Photo: Netball Fiji

Captain Una Rauluni was Fiji's best performer, converting 11 of her 16 attempts at goal, before exiting the game in the final quarter with an injury.

It doesn't get any easier for the Fijians who take on the Silver Ferns tonight, who were pipped 54-50 by the New Zealand Men's team.

The Ferns won 88-27 when the teams met in March last year and Pearls coach Vicki Wilson said it would be another tough ask for her young side.

"For us, it's all about the opportunity for that match-play getting ready for Liverpool because we are ranked number 13 in the world and the Ferns are ranked (fourth) so we highly regard the way they play and we know it's going to be a huge step."

"The World Cup is our pinnacle event and not too many people get to play in a World Cup," said Wilson, a former Silver Ferns assistant coach. "So for any athlete who is selected in a team to represent their country it's just a wonderful moment - not only for them but for their family - so for all of us involved with the Pearls the girls are very much looking forward to getting over to the World Cup.

"It's exciting times and they know they have to do a lot of hard work and it's going to be tough and if it was easy everyone would be able to go but there's only 16 teams and all I'm just asking for the girls is they just keep trying and keep working hard and looking for that improvement with every game."

NZ Men's Junior Levi on defence against Silver Ferns Jane Watson.


Meanwhile, Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua said she planned to rest some key players for tonight's match.

"There's a couple of players that I played full-time for both games (against the All Stars and Men's team). One is Laura Langman so looking to give her a bit of a rest, probably introduce her at the end of the game (against Fiji) to get her ready for the men's game (in the final). I think Jane (Watson) is probably another one who needs to be rested as well but also want to just keep ourselves improving."

The four-team series will wrap up on Saturday with the top two teams playing off in the final and the other two competing for third place.

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