Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

‘We have built something’: Plummer leaves Proteas in good space

They lost 2-1 against England but the SA team put up a strong fight on their three-match tour.

Outgoing national netball coach Norma Plummer was delighted to end her tenure with the Proteas by guiding the squad to one of their best ever performances in an away series last week.

Turning out against World Cup silver medallists England, the SA side were ultimately handed a 2-1 series defeat, but they put up a tremendous fight against one of the world’s best teams.

The hosts opened the three-match tour by clinching a 54-51 victory in Manchester, but South Africa hit back by securing a 61-59 triumph in the second fixture in Nottingham.

Proteas vice-captain Karla Pretorius credited the team’s faster start and more clinical performance for the rare win over England, with Plummer having fielded a younger side for the match, giving multiple players opportunities which they grabbed with both hands.

“We started far better and were more consistent throughout the game, and we lowered our error rate, which was key,” Pretorius said.

England recovered from the loss and went on to win the third and final match 53-50 in Nottingham on Sunday night.

Promising future

Despite the defeat, however, Australian native Plummer said she was delighted to leave the Proteas squad in a good space after her last match in charge.

While they settled for sixth place at the World Cup in Cape Town earlier this year, with Plummer having been recalled as head coach in the build-up to the tournament, their solid effort against England indicated that the SA squad had the potential to climb the international ladder over the next few years.

Plummer, who guided the Proteas to fourth place at the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool, felt they could build further momentum under new team management ahead of the 2026 Commonwealth Games (which remains without a host) and the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

“I have had the privilege of working with the best bunch of players in this South African team,” Plummer said.

“It is unfortunate we did not win this series, but I can assure you that we have built something here and I can only hope that the team continues to grow.”

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