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Netball World Cup bronze for England

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netball world cup, england roses, bronze medalBut can a new coach build a squad to challenge – beat – Australia?

England’s Roses beat Jamaica for the second time in the tournament to finish a fantastic third in the 2015 Netball World Cup.

England coach Tracey Neville’s side did well throughout the tournament losing only to the eventual gold and silver medal winners.

In the second round England were outclassed by Australia, losing 51-41, but they did not lose again until their semi-final against New Zealand when they lost 50-39.

Along the way they beat Scotland, Jamaica, Samoa, Wales and South Africa.

Vengeance was sweet in the third place play-off as this time they beat Jamaica again, having lost to them at the same point at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014.

The Roses started slowly in the game and were down five goals at the end of the first quarter. But they looked a different team in the second, finishing it five goals ahead by half time. From there on the result was not in doubt, and England eased to a 66-44 win.

Wales also had a good tournament, achieving their best World Cup position since 1991 of seventh, beating Uganda 64-41 in their play-off match.

Scotland’s Thistles finished 12th.

The gold medal was taken, yet again, by Australia, who beat their antipodean rivals, New Zealand, 58-55. This was their 11th World Cup tournament win.

New Zealand’s Silver Ferns must have thought they were in with a chance as they claimed a shock win against Australia – their arch rivals – in the preliminary rounds, but it was not to be.

A world record crowd for netball of 16,752 watched the final at the Sydney Olympic Park.

England Roses’ interim coach, Tracey Neville, is now, unsurprisingly, looking to be given the role permanently. She was only appointed in March, afterthe previous coach Anna Mayes, paid the price for England’s poor fourth place at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Neville won 81 caps in her netball career and has to be the clear frontrunner for the permanent role.

Along with being a relatively new coach in post, she had to deal with the sudden death of her father while he was in Australia to watch the tournament. She made a difficult decision and stayed with the team – and they more than repaid her faith in them.

Neville, formerly Manchester Thunder‘s coach, was optimistic in an interview with the BBC, saying: “I’ve had great support throughout this campaign.

“I feel like I have the knowledge to take this country forward.”

And: “…whether it’s with me or with another coach, I’ll be 100 per cent behind these girls.”

It would be hard to find anyone else with the credentials of Neville, who will surely be appointed to build on the work she has already put in.

But then the big question will be, can she build a squad that will challenge the domination of Australia and New Zealand?  It will be tough, but there can be no doubt Tracey Neville will give her all in the pursuit of making England Roses the very best they can be.

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