Proteas take down Tonga to book Uganda clash

Hosts South Africa took on Tonga on Friday in the battle to determine who will meet Uganda in the playoff for fifth place at the Netball World Cup 2023... Read more
Proteas take down Tonga to book Uganda clash

Hosts South Africa took on Tonga on Friday in the battle to determine who will meet Uganda in the playoff for fifth place at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town.

South Africa’s Rugby World Cup-winning captain, Siya Kolisi, was among the vocal home crowd cheering for their side and willing them to a 72-46 victory.

The opening quarter was a tight one, with the teams remaining neck and neck throughout. The Proteas were turning plenty of ball, but their shooters were struggling to settle in the circle. Ine-Mari Venter converted only five of her nine shots before being replaced by Elmeré van der Berg towards the end of the period. Even the usually reliable Nichole Taljaard finished the first quarter with a 67 per cent shooting average at goal attack, although she improved that considerably in the rest of the match.

At the other end, former Silver Ferns star Cat Tuivaiti was shooting at 100 per cent at goal shooter, as was her goal attack Marie Hansen, meaning the Tongan Tala kept up with the Proteas to reach the first quarter break level on 12-12.

It was a different story in the second quarter, however, as Van der Berg made sure the South Africans’ efforts on defence were rewarded. The young goal shooter fired in 14 of her 14 attempts while Taljaard also settled to slot in all of her efforts. Tonga brought on veteran former Australian Diamond Mo’onia Gerrard at goalkeeper 12 minutes into the second quarter to try and stem the flow, but she couldn’t prevent the South Africans from taking a seven-goal lead into halftime.

The South Africans continued to build on that momentum in the third quarter, moving the ball down the court with ease and easily finding Van der Berg in the circle. That saw them extending their lead to 11 goals by the final break.

Having had a significant lead against Uganda whittled down in the final period a day earlier, the Proteas would have been determined not to allow a repeat scenario against Tonga. They did that in some style. Even with South African coach Norma Plummer bringing on Khanyisa Chawane, Owethu Ngubane, Shadine van der Merwe and Nicola Smith as late replacements, the Proteas continued to storm ahead, winning the quarter by 25 goals to 10 and securing their place in Sunday’s fifth-place playoff with a 72-46 victory.

Speaking after the match, Proteas captain Bongi Msomi said” “Firstly I want to say I’m really proud of the team. Coming here we only had one loss to Jamaica… we drew against New Zealand and we actually just can’t have a semifinal based on goal difference and I think that, we can be proud of.

“We had a chat yesterday and I’m quite pleased to see that the girls could bounce back from that disappointment, because it was quite disappointing, and come here today and really just want to play what we called our semifinal. We have a ‘final’ against Uganda on Sunday.

“They’re a really good side and they actually gave it to us when we played yesterday so we’re looking forward to another battle. You can’t really shy away from the fact that we’re ranked fifth. We want to finish at least fifth at this stage… I’m really still proud of the girls. I thought there was some great netball being played by the Spar Proteas and to see that the youngsters are coming through, really playing good netball. That is something we can take forward and be proud of what is happening in netball in South Africa.”

Tonga wing attack Salote Taufa said it is a dream come true to play out for seventh spot in Tonga’s second appearance at a Netball World Cup.

“We are all just taking it in as it comes. We are a little nation trying to put our country on the map and shake things up a bit. And I think we definitely did that. We look beyond it being a game of netball, we are a family and we bring that into our game.”

SCORES

Q1:12-12

Q2: 30-23 (18-11)

Q3: 47-36 (17-13)

Q4: 72-46 (25-10)

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Elmeré van der Berg (South Africa)

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