Netball: Silver Ferns open Quad Series, World Cup build-up with comfortable win over hosts South Africa

Coach Dame Noeline Taurua has given her full squad a run against hosts South Africa, as the Silver Ferns began their World Cup build-up with a a 61-41 in their Quad Series opener at Cape Town.

Six months before they atry to defend their world crown, the NZ women eased past the Proteas, courtesy of a 20-5 third quarter that ended their rivals' hopes of an upset.

Shooter Grace Nweke and midcourt Kate Heffernan logged a complete 60 minutes, with Nweke converting 42/44 attempts (95 percent) to emerge as Player of the Match.

The match marked the return of defender Jane Watson, after two years on the sideline with injury and maternity leave.

South Africa never led, but trailled by only five at halftime, before six straight goals catapulted the Ferns into a double-figure lead they would never relinquish.

The third-quarter line-up featured Nweke and Maia Wilson under goal, Peta Toeava, Heffernan and Karin Burger in the midcourt, and Watson and Sulu Fitzpatrick at the back. Nweke and Wilson shot a combined 20/22 during that period, while the defence restricted the Proteas to only six attempts at goal.

New Zealand led by as many as 22 goals late in the fourth quarter, tut that same line-up was held to 11-11 over the final period, providing Dame Noeline with plenty to analyse, as her team prepare to face archrivals Australia on Monday morning (NZ time).

"It was really fun out there, and we were happy to come away with our first win and keep buildingin the series," reflected Nweke. 

NZ 61 (Nweke 42, Ekenasio 11, Wilson 8) South Africa 41 (Potgieter 25, Taljaard 13, Venter 3)