12 Oct 2019

Injury blow for Silver Ferns ahead of Constellation Cup opener

6:38 pm on 12 October 2019

Midcourter Whitney Souness has been named for the Constellation Cup opener against the Australian Diamonds tomorrow as a replacement for Gina Crampton, who has been ruled out with a knee sprain.

Whitney Souness

Whitney Souness Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The experienced Crampton was in the starting team who pipped the Diamonds 52-51 in the Netball World Cup final in July.

The specialist wing attack had formed a slick combination with captain/centre Laura Langman and the shooters.

Shannon Saunders spent some quality time at wing attack at the World Cup so coach Noeline Taurua might start her in that position tomorrow, with Souness there as back-up.

The dynamic Pulse player has four Test caps over a stop-start career.

Souness first made the Pulse in 2015, the then 19-year-old earned a Silver Ferns trial the same year despite limited court appearances but was ruled out by a serious knee injury which kept her out of the game completely in 2016.

Souness then quickly made up for lost time in 2017 and got her first Test debut against South Africa later that year.

The first Test of the Constellation Cup gets underway from 4pm at Horncastle Arena tomorrow.

Teams then head to Auckland for the second Test on Wednesday 16 October before travelling across the Tasman for a further two matches.

Diamonds ready for another battle

Australian midcourt star Liz Watson had hoped New Zealand's World Cup win meant she'd seen the last of Laura Langman.

But the ageless Langman is not only playing in Sunday's opening Constellation Cup match in Christchurch, but this week signed to play another year in the Super Netball competition with Sunshine Coast.

"I thought she'd retire and I'd have a bit of a break from her," Watson joked.

Watson actually credits 33-year-old Langman for making her a better player, with the Victorian last year recognised with the award as Australia's best netballer.

"I actually debuted with the Vixens against Laura back in the day and we've had some good battles along the way, but I've learnt so much off her," Watson, 25, said.

"She's definitely brought out my best game from having to learn how to play against her in tight games - just seeing how she steps up to take it on."

The Diamonds are out for revenge after that one-point World Cup loss and are desperate to keep the Constellation Cup, which they held for the past six years.

Watson said the pain of the loss was still keenly felt, with Australian coach Lisa Alexander in no rush to sweep it aside.

"When we first got to Christchurch, Lisa read out a bit of a theme for the tour and that's that our opponents are going to be the world champs for the next four years," the vice-captain said.

"To hear it like that it's like 'wow it's so true, we've got to wait four years to earn back that world championship title'.

"But we are still ranked world No.1 and we want to show why, and this is an opportunity for us to show that."