Netball: Ferns step up to the occasion

Silver Ferns coach Ruth Aitken said her side has raised the bar from pool play to dispose of South Africa and set-up a semifinal showdown with Jamaica tomorrow night.

The Silver Ferns fried South Africa 82 - 23 in Auckland tonight, scoring more against their Southern Hemisphere rivals than they did against Botswana two days ago.

Coach Ruth Aitken said after the game that it was the defence that made a real step up and while the scoreboard did not show it, South Africa tested the Ferns.

"We could still be crisper...I still think we could use our angles on attack more," Aitkin said.

She said the game was good preparation and in the end there can be no excuses.

The Ferns were strong on defence, spoiling South Africa's ball that was plagued by wayward passes and lose ball handling.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the court Irene van Dyk's accuracy was supported by some sharp shooting from Maria Tutaia.

In contrast South Africa struggled under the net and only found consistency when Sindisiwe Gumede, with a bandaged knee, came on in the last quarter.

Silver Ferns goal keep Casey Williams said the team went out "looking for a fizz from the start".

"At the moment I'm trying to do the bread and butter really well and hopefully the jam on top will happen," Williams said.

The 22-year-old defender said communication was important and she was ensuring the team was not lacking in that department.

"We're not there to babysit eachother. I'm saying: 'Get there, get there' and maybe demanding a bit more of each other and maybe myself," Williams said.

South Africa Centre Bronwyn Bock-Jonathan said New Zealand had a point to prove and they proved it.

She was questioned by the South African press about some of the team selections but Bock-Jonathan said selections were not up to the team or the captain but management.

"The head coach ultimately has the last say on team selections and at the end of the day she is also held responsible for what happens," she said.

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