Netball U21s lose ranking after early success

NETBALL South Africa's Under-21 national team have slid from fifth position on the International Federation of Netball Associations.

NETBALL South Africa's Under-21 national team have slid from fifth position on the International Federation of Netball Associations.

The team is currently involved in the World Youth Netball Championships on Cook Island - and will today compete for seventh and eighth position with Northern Ireland, having lost their playoff match against Cook Island, the hosts, yesterday.

The Proteas went down 55-48 to the South Pacific islanders, having earlier lost their quarterfinal encounter against England 44-24.

The team's assistant coach, Claudine Klaasen, said while it was disappointing to lose their rank, the players were positive despite the setback.

"The girls tried really hard but we are staying positive. At the end of the day there had to be a winner. We have been lucky to have the support that we have had from Netball SA," Klaasen said.

This team, coached by Dudu Msane, had earlier fared much better in the group stages, finishing second in a group that included powerhouses Australia, who finished in first place.

In the run-up to the quarterfinals, the South Africans beat Fiji, Samoa and Botswana, though they suffered a 72-22 drubbing at the hands of the Australians.

The team return on Monday.

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