Netball: Silver Ferns overcome Jamaica to win inaugural Nations Cup

New Zealand have won the inaugural netball Nations Cup tournament, beating Jamaica 67-56 in a tense and physical final in London on Monday (NZ time). 

After winning all three group games, including a 71-48 demolition of Jamaica on Thursday, the Ferns were favourites for the decider, but were pushed to the limit in the showpiece final at the Copper Box Arena. 

The match was much closer than the scoreline suggested, with Jamaica overcoming an early deficit to lead most of the second quarter, before the Ferns fought back to level things up at halftime. 

Dame Noeline Taurua's side pulled away in the third quarter, holding off a late Jamaica fightback in the final quarter in a seesawing contest. 

The Ferns were missing 562 test caps' worth of experience at the tournament, playing without 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 coach Taurua will be pleased with her new young core of players, with the likes of shooter Maia Wilson, centre Kimiora Poi, winger Whitney Souness and defender Karin Burger all impressing during the tournament.

Wilson was named Player of the Final for her career-high 44 goals from 47 shot attempts.

New Zealand raced out to an early 7-1 lead, but  Jamaica reined them in and the Ferns led just 16-15 after the first quarter.

The teams went blow-for-blow to start the second term, but a strong passage of play from Jamaica allowed them to pull ahead by two goals. 

Taurua made her first change, with Souness replacing Gina Crampton at wing attack, while Poi replaced Burger, forcing Shannon Saunders to move to wing defence. 

The changes worked, as both teams went into the break locked at 30-30. 

Mistakes started creeping into Jamaica's game after the main break and the Kiwis made them pay to lead 49-41 into the final quarter. 

Jamaica threatened a late fightback in the final term, but the Ferns were clinical enough to secure victory. 

Overall, the Silver Ferns had a strong tournament, enjoying a 16-goal win over England and 48-41 over South Africa.

Defender Jane Watson was named Player of the Tournament

Earlier, England claimed bronze, with a hard-fought 65-63 victory over South Africa.