Fiji Pearls have final hit-out before naming World Cup squad

The Fiji Pearls (black kit) against the Malawi Queens on the Gold Coast earlier this year. Photo: Netball Australia

The Fiji Pearls (black kit) against the Malawi Queens on the Gold Coast earlier this year. Photo: Netball Australia

Netball Fiji is holding a final selection event for the Pearls squad for next month’s World Cup in South Africa.

President and Executive Officer Vivian Koster told RNZ Pacific that the QUAD Series this week offers local and overseas-based players the opportunity to confirm their spots in the squad which is due to be named later this week.

Koster said overseas players have been identified from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The Fiji Pearls training squad has been divided into two teams, the Possibles and the Probables.

A New Zealand invitational side, featuring some Central Pulse players, and a Fiji men’s team are the other two teams in the series.

Koster said they expect tough competition during the series.

“We will then continue to play matches against our training partner team the Fiji men’s team, who give us strong opposition always,” Koster added.

Head coach Unaisi Rokoura is being assisted by a top New Zealand netball coach, Yvette McCausland-Durie.

Fiji is one of two Pasifika countries which have qualified for the Netball World Cup in Cape Town, along with the Tonga Tala.

Fiji and Tonga meet on July 28 in their first pool match before the Pearls take on Zimbabwe a day later and Australia on July 30.

Tonga’s second game is against one of the giants of the game, Australia, and they finish off their pool games against Zimbabwe.

Andrews-Tasola named Pulse coach

Former Cook Islands player and coach Anna Andrews-Tasola is the new coach of one of New Zealand’s top teams, the Central Pulse.

Andrews-Tasola, who has been the Central Pulse assistant for the past two seasons, will take over from Yvette McCausland-Durie next season.

McCausland-Durie guided the Pulse to three ANZ Premiership titles in 2019, 2020, and 2022.

“It’s been amazing working with Yvette,” Andrews-Tasola said.

“She’s super supportive. She’s been a great role model for all of us, as women, so it’s really important that we continue the strong legacy and foundation that’s been built. I hope that she leaves knowing that we’re going to work really hard to make sure that we continue to do well.

“I know I’ve got big shoes to step into and all I can do is try my best. While there is change, we have got an exceptional group of women from our players to our support staff and we want to try and minimise the disruption, try and keep the foundation, and continue to build on that.”

Andrews-Tasola coached the national team to gold at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.

“Netball Cook Islands would like to congratulate her on her appointment at the Pulse Coach 2024,” Netball Cook Islands secretary Tekura Moekaa said.

“Also keeping in the same vein as the Pulse team – Netball Cook Islands would also like to congratulation Tiana Metuarau (co-captain of the Pulse team) of Mauke, Cook Islands lineage, for her selection as a travelling reserve for the Silvers Ferns to the Netball World Cup to be held in South Africa in July.”

Andrews-Tasola played domestic netball for the Wellington Shakers and Western Flyers, while also representing the Cook Islands at World Cup level.