The Silver Ferns are finally in a position where they can consolidate their midcourt lines in their tests against Jamaica and England after two years of uncertainty and experimentation.
Over the past couple of seasons retirements, pregnancies and injuries have seen a steady stream of players rotated in the midcourt, with wing attack being the most problematic position.
Liana Leota, Grace Rasmussen, Camilla Lees, Bailey Mes, Anna Thompson, Courtney Tairi, and Shannon Francois have all been paired with dynamic centre Laura Langman since Temepara Bailey retired after the 2011 World Cup. Even Langman has been used at wing attack, as the selectors looked to convert athletic defender Kayla Cullen into a centre.
This month’s tour to Britain is the closest coach Waimarama Taumaunu has had to a full-strength midcourt line-up since she took over the reins, with Lees returning from a foot injury that ruled her out of the 2013 international season and her surprise replacement in the starting side, the Steel’s Francois, snapping the recent midcourt curse by being available to tour.
With the matches against Jamaica and England being the Ferns’ final test hit-outs before the Commonwealth Games, Taumaunu is relieved to have some clarity in the midcourt.