Durban, South Africa – There are three new faces in the 14-member SPAR Protea team announced by Netball South Africa for the coming SPAR Challenge international netball series against Wales in Durban later this month.

Vice Captain of the SPAR Proteas Bongiwe Msomi
Vice Captain of the SPAR Proteas Bongiwe Msomi

North West Flames shooting partnership, the lanky Sigrid Burger and her shorter goal attack, Renske Stoltz, make their first appearance in the national team and the third newcomer is the Gauteng Jaguars goalkeeper, Jeanie Steyn.

Twenty-two year old Stoltz was named player of the tournament after the final of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League (NPL) last weekend and won much acclaim for her gutsy attitude and her willingness to shoot at goal from anywhere in the circle. She attributed her confidence to having a tall shooting partner, Sigrid Burger, under the goalpost. Burger had the best shooting average in the competition.

“You know she can get to the ball if you miss,” she said.

The pair worked together very well during the NPL, where the Flames were unbeaten until the knock-out stages of the tournament. Steyn was also a stand-out player at the NPL, winning at least one player of the match award.

Free State Crinums goal attack Maryka Holtzhausen will captain the team, with Bongiwe Msomi of the Kingdom Stars as vice captain. Two members of the squad, Jaguars goalshooter Lenize Potgieter and Crinums goal defence Karla Mostert, returned three weeks ago from playing for Bath in the English Super League. Their experience in one of the world’s top netball leagues should be invaluable for the Proteas.

The Captain of the SPAR Proteas Maryka Holtzhausen
The Captain of the SPAR Proteas Maryka Holtzhausen

Exciting news for South African netball is that the SPAR Proteas will be coached by Australian Norma Plummer, who coached the Proteas at the Netball World Cup in Sydney last year. Plummer coached Australia when they won World Cup gold in 2007 and 2011, and is regarded as one of the top coaches in world netball.

Fifth-ranked South Africa and eighth-ranked Wales last met at the World Cup last year, when the Proteas won by 60 goals to 38. South Africa have won all 11 matches between the two teams.

Plummer said she was happy with the team that had been selected.

“The top seven, who were at the World Cup last year, know what I expect of them and the new players will follow their lead,” she said.

“I think it is a very versatile team and we can utilise all their strengths.”

“I am particularly excited by young players like Siggie (Sigrid) Burger and Renske Stoltz, who are the basis for future development. They both slotted into the team very well,” said Plummer.

Netball South Africa have also announced a Baby Proteas team to play Wales Under-21 in curtain-raisers to the three Test matches

The matches will be played at the Durban International Convention Centre on Friday June 17, Saturday June 18 and Sunday June 19.

Tickets are available at computicket.

SPAR Proteas team: Sigrid Burger, (North West Flames), Erin Burger (Southern Stings), Lauren-Lee Christians (Free State Crinums), Maryka Holtzhausen – Captain (Crinums), Rochelle Lawson (Stings), Izette Lubbe (Gauteng Jaguars), Phumza Maweni (Kingdom Stars), Karla Mostert (Crinums), Bongiwe Msomi – Vice Captain (Stars,), Precious Mthembu (Stars), Lenize Potgieter (Jaguars), Renske Stoltz (Flames), Jeanie Steyn (Jaguars), Zanele Vimbela (Eastern Cape Aloes)

Coach: Norma Plummer, Nicole Cusack, Dorette Badenhorst

SPAR Baby Proteas: Charmaine Baard, Stephanie Brandt, Khamyisa Chawane, Melodine Jacobs, Khomotso Mamburu, Sasha-Lee Petersen, Jo Prins, Alicia Puren, Margarethe Rademan, Jeante Strydom, Ine-Mari Venter, Talja Venter (Captain and Vice-Captain to be announced)

Coach: Jenny van Dyk, Dumisane Chauke