Netball: Silver Ferns to host Constellation Cup return in 2021

  • Updated
  • 21/01/2021

Netball NZ has announced the return of the Constellation Cup in 2021.

Last year, the annual trans-Tasman showdown was postponed due to complications created by COVID-19.

The Silver Ferns will host the Diamonds for back-to-back matches at Christchurch Arena on March 2-3, before the teams head to Baypark Arena in Tauranga for games on March 6 and March 7.

Australia will undergo the mandatory two-week quarantine period upon arrival in Christchurch on February 15 and prepare for the series during their isolation.

The Cup will be contested again later this year as part of the world champions' international calendar, which will also include a Taini Jamison Trophy series.

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua says she's looking forward to the opportunity to test her players against the Diamonds after a long await.

"Australia is deservedly ranked number one in our sport and as a Silver Fern, there is nothing better than gauging yourself against the world’s best," she says.

"We love the trans-Tasman rivalry and Constellation Cup. It truly is a blessing that we can rekindle our connections, and play the sport both countries love in these COVID-19 times."

The Silver Ferns last met the Diamonds in October 2019, where Australia retained the Constellation Cup trophy.

"We’re really excited to confirm this series after the disappointments of postponing the Constellation Cup in 2020 due to COVID-19," Netball NZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie adds.

"We'd also like to acknowledge the Australian Diamonds for agreeing to come to New Zealand where they will go into the mandatory two-week quarantine leading into the series.

"To be able to host international netball in the current climate is something we do not take lightly so we’re excited to see our world champion Silver Ferns have the opportunity to take on one of their toughest opponents."

This series will be another important part of the Silver Ferns build up for the crucial tournaments that are ahead. 

"International netball remains important for our program and we are building up for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games as well as the 2023 World Cup, so that momentum is really important for us to retain," Wyllie says. 

The choice of venues for the Constellation Cup is very interesting. After two games in Christchurch, fans in the Mount will be rubbing their hands together for a bumper weekend of sport. 

The final game of the series on Sunday the 7th will see both the Silver Ferns and Blackcaps in action, which will be a treat for supporters in Tauranga.

"Having Australia quarantine in Christchurch then being able to transition quite smoothly to play in Christchurch was really important and limited the amount of travel," she says. "Then what better venue than to have New Zealand and Australia play in the Mount in summer."