Netball newcomers fired up

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

A youthful and inexperienced South African netball team leave for England today, where they will do battle against the English Roses in three Test matches.

The six new caps confessed to feeling a bit like they were being thrown in the lions den in making their debuts against one of the best teams in the world. But they looked sharp going through their drills in the last training session before the team left for the UK.

Without experienced players , interim coach Burta de Kock called up youngsters Tamaryn Bragg, Tsakane Mbewe, Erin Burger, Refiloe Mochaka, Elzet Engelbrecht and Precious Mthembu.

Twenty-year-old Mochaka made it clear that what she might lack in international experience, she was determined to make up for in her attitude.

"I was really intimidated by my teammates Sindi Gumede and Karen Venter because they are so experienced, but I have realised that I have to learn from them and let them lead me, so there is no opposition player I can't face, including any of the England players," Mochaka said.

Initial disappointment did not deter Elzet Engelbrecht, 21, who was brought into the team as a replacement for Yvonne Phiri, who died recenlty. Engelbrecht, a defensive player, impressed selectors in December but did not make the team.

"It's been challenging fitting in, as I now play centre, but my teammates have been wonderful. The English might be one of the best in the world, but they are human and have weaknesses, just like us," she said.

De Kock, said: "I don't fear a beating from England, I believe in the players that I have. My priority is to bring about stability in the team. In other words, this is a new beginning..."

The three Tests will be played next Monday, Thursday and Saturday.