World Cup glory for New Zealand’s netball Silver Ferns

New Zealand completed an astonishing turnaround under coach Noeline Taurua as they secured World Cup glory by beating Australia in Liverpool

New Zealand landed their fifth Netball World Cup title with an epic 52-51 victory over defending champions Australia in Liverpool.

The Silver Ferns completed a remarkable turnaround in their fortunes, with the global triumph coming just 15 months after a thumping 65-44 defeat to Australia in the Commonwealth Games semi-finals.

They also lost to Jamaica in the third-place match at that tournament in Gold Coast but have been a team transformed under the leadership of coach Noeline Taurua, who took the helm last August.

New Zealand edged past England in the last four of this World Cup and held their nerve at the end of a gripping title match against the 11-time champions to finally capture the trophy after three consecutive final defeats to Australia.

It was the Ferns’ first World Cup triumph since 2003, having faced trans-Tasman rivals Australia in six straight finals, and Taurua said: “I’m absolutely proud, like always.”

The veterans in her squad have become known as ‘the fossils’, and Taurua said: “Our fossils stood up and led from the front.

“It’s amazing and it was a great game as well. It was an epic encounter.”

Captain Laura Langman told the BBC: “It’s been a journey, and I think full credit has to go to Noeline and Deb [assistant coach Deb Fuller]. They turned our environment around and the level of expectation that’s in there.

“Just to see the growth of players from where they started in August to where they are now – even us fossils – it’s been unreal.”

Hosts England earlier secured bronze with a crowd-pleasing 58-42 victory over South Africa.

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