6 Sep 2019

Netball: Langman and Folau put retirement on hold

4:36 pm on 6 September 2019

There were discussions about retirement but coach Noeline Taurua says it's "fantastic" that Silver Fern greats Laura Langman and Maria Folau have decided to remain on the international scene for now at least.

Langman and Folau were figures in New Zealand's World Cup triumph but it was believed they could follow veteran defender Casey Kopua into retirement.

However, the pair have both been included in a 16-strong Silver Ferns squad which will be trimmed to 12 ahead of the four-match Constellation Cup series.

Taurua says she discussed retirement with Langaman and Folau but is pleased they've committed to play in the Constellation Cup and the Northern Quad series in England in January.

"There were discussions about that (retirement) and what they wanted to do ....but I don't know if I was surprised but I was really excited (they were staying on) knowing the value they bring to the Silver Ferns and netball in New Zealand.

New Zealand captain Laura Langman holds the Netball World Cup trophy along with Maria Folau and Phoenix Karaka.

New Zealand captain Laura Langman holds the Netball World Cup trophy along with Maria Folau and Phoenix Karaka. Photo: Photosport

Taurua said the experience Langman and Folau bring is invaluable and having them in the group means they can pass on so much to the younger players in the side.

"I felt we made great strides at the world cup and to those two back in the mix is fantastic and I am absolutely elated."

Reflecting on the advances the side has made in the past year Taurua cited both attack and defence.

"In defence we were working a hybrid of 'man-on-man' which is the Australian way but also the New Zealand style of zone defence and by the time we got to the business end of the World Cup we were purely back on New Zealand style."

That said Taurua said the challenge now is to make sure they can't be predictable.

"We have got to be open to new ways in our defence and our style can definitely be consolidated a bit more.

"In the attacking end I think our possession of the ball was a key especially in pressure situations where before we may have made a pass and an error. We also had a great rotating circle which we haven't had for a very long time, with both Maria and Ameliaranne (Ekanasio) which offered us something different," said Taurua.

"It would now be good to explore a holding shooter so we have a bit of variety.

"But I think our biggest gains were made in our fitness levels and the standards we set for our training ethic. I think there was a massive shift there."

Despite winning the World Cup Taurua only gave the side a seven out of ten as she believes there is still plenty of room for improvement if the side is to reach its full potential.

While she hopes the side can bring some momentum from the World Cup success into the Constellation Cup series she warns they need to realise they are starting over again.

Taurua said she one of the biggest things she has noticed in the players since winning the World Cup is the growth in self confidence.

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Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua. Photo: Photosport

"When I came back for the parliamentary reception that was one of the first things I noticed - the rise in the level of confidence not only as a team but also within individuals. They have a much clearer understanding of what is now required to play the game style that we want to ...and that shift that we have made in that respect has been huge."

As for Taurua's own future she is still putting off making a decision on that until she gets some time to herself in November.

She's now preparing the Sunshine Coast Lightening for the final of the Australian domestic competition and will then head straight into preparation for the tests against Australia.

Only then will she get some time to herself to think and investigate "whether there are other things I could possibly delve into."