The Silver Ferns have made a change to their line-up ahead of the Australian leg of the Constellation Cup, adding defender Jane Watson.

The 27-year-old replaces dynamic midcourter Whitney Souness, who will remain in New Zealand for family reasons.

The loss of Souness is a big blow to coach Janine Southby's plans to develop her midcourt options over the Constellation Cup series. Souness had impressed in her limited appearances over last month's Quad Series, and Southby was keen to see what the 21-year-old could offer in the centre position as she seeks back-up options for Shannon Francois.

The addition of Watson therefore appears a curious move.

Advertisement

While on the surface the change brings the Ferns squad back to the more traditional split of four shooters, four midcourters and four defenders, Watson's inclusion has created an inbalance in the team.

The Ferns are now effectively carrying four specialist goal keeps. Efforts have been made to develop Watson into a more versatile defender, with the newly-signed Tactix star having a couple of short stints at wing defence during the Taini Jamison series, with limited success.

Watson was left out of the Constellation Cup team after slipping down the pecking order behind young defenders Kelly Jury and Temalisi Fakahokotau. She will be hoping to get another chance to show what she is capable of against the Diamonds this week.

The setback comes at an inopportune time for the Ferns, who are hoping to revive their series in Wednesday night's third test in Adelaide.

The Diamonds have a 2-0 lead in the series after victories in Auckland and Christchurch.