Netball: New-look Silver Ferns dominate England in Nations Cup

A new-look Silver Ferns side began their 2020 campaign with a commanding 64-48 victory over England in the Nations Cup in Nottingham on Monday (NZ time).

The Ferns were missing 562 test caps worth of experience from the self-titled 'Fossils' core of Laura Langman and defender Katrina Rore - both taking a break - and shooter Maria Folau and defender Casey Kopua, who have both retired since last year's World Cup triumph. 

But that didn't stop Dame Noeline Taurua's side dominating most of the match with slick defence and sublime shooting. 

Despite their dominance, the Ferns endured periods of sloppiness, but will focus on the positives before Thursday's match against Jamaica, who earlier beat South Africa 59-54. 

Like New Zealand, England were without many of their World Cup squad, including influential shooters Helen Housby and Jo Harten.

The Ferns suffered a blow before the game, with confirmation that defender Michaela Sokolich-Beatson had ruptured her Achilles tendon during a training match. The defender won't be replaced in the squad and faces a long recovery. 

Maia Wilson was the star player for the Ferns, replacing Folau and shooting 27/29, as the Ferns landed 64/69 (92 percent) of their attempts. 

They started nervously, but settled quickly to take the first quarter 15-11, with Wilson going 12/12 in the period. 

Taurua introduced Whitney Souness at wing attack for Gina Crampton and Te Paea Selby-Rickit for Wilson in the second quarter, and the changes appeared to work, with the visitors opening up an eight-point buffer.
England made changes and closed the gap to 28-25 at halftime.

With new captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio on the bench, the Ferns dominated the third quarter and opened up a 10-goal lead heading into the final period, allowing Taurua to give her extended squad members game time. 

New Zealand pulled away even more in the final stanza and eventually won by 16 points to boost their chances of playing in the Nations Cup final on Monday.