Netball: Silver Ferns hold off Uganda to earn third-place finish at Nations Cup

Silver Ferns have cemented a third-place finish at the Nations Cup in Leeds with a 62-57 win over Uganda.

The sides were neck and neck throughout the hardfought contest, as the ever-improving 'She Cranes' sought revenge for their defeat by the NZ women earlier in the competition.

Coach Dame Noeline Taurua called on experience off the bench at halftime, which helped her side extend to as much as a six-goal advantage.

The African side closed to within a goal in the final quarter, but the reshuffled Ferns line-up were able to keep the Africans at bay and close out victory. 

Amorangi Malesala shoots at goal.
Amorangi Malesala shoots at goal. Photo credit: Photosport

The result provided a positive finish to a difficult tournament for the New Zealanders, who lost Sunday's match to England in dramatic finish and were soundly beaten by the world champion Australians.

Shooter Grace Nweke rounded out an outstanding week by sinking 51 of her 54 attempts on goal for a 94 percent success rate. Kelly Jury was superb in the defensive circle, while Whitney Souness added valuable impetus through the midcourt.

Taurua rolled out a newlook starting line-up, with co-vice captain Kate Heffernan ruled out with an Achilles tendon niggle and Maddy Gordon out as a precaution, after suffering a head knock at training.

Mila Reuelu-Buchanan lined up at wing attack, Tayla Earle donned the centre bib and returning international Michaela Sokolich-Beatson slotted in at wing defence. After debuting in the previous match, goal attack Amorangi Malesala made her first international start.

Given the strong focus on development at the competition, Dame Noeline is pleased with the overall efforts of her squad.

"We came out with the win and, once again, with this current group, the only way that we can learn is by being on the job," she said.

"There were some really good moments, but on the opposite side of that, there were some areas that we really need to tidy up on.

"This group has grown massively. We had 150 caps less than England in yesterday's game and really pushed that game to the wire.

"Our ability to back up from one game to another is still a bit of a workon and our ability to close the door when we need to is still a workon, but we can be really proud of those who made their Silver Ferns debuts and there were a few during this tournament."

Australia will take home the Nations Cup, after crushing England 69-49 in the final.

Silver Ferns 62 (Nweke 51/54, Malesala 11/12) Uganda 57 (Cholhok 45/47)