Netball: Karaka called into Silver Ferns squad

Phoenix Karaka, right, in action for the Steel. Photo / Getty
Phoenix Karaka, right, in action for the Steel. Photo / Getty

Southern Steel defender Phoenix Karaka has been elevated into the Silver Ferns team of 12 as the players prepare to embark on their first tour of 2014 to the United Kingdom later this week.

Karaka was initially named as one of four training partners to accompany the Silver Ferns on their UK tour and her promotion into the team comes at the expense of Silver Ferns captain Casey Kopua who continues to recover from scheduled ankle surgery last month.

Karaka was a key part of the New Zealand under-21 team which won the World Youth Netball Championship in Glasgow last year and is in the New Zealand accelerant squad.

Kopua will tour with the team as a training partner to enable the ankle to fully recover in what is going to be a busy netball season ahead.

Netball New Zealand's medical team are confident Kopua will make a full recovery and needs a few more weeks of rehabilitation before taking on the rigours of a full competitive match.

In such a pinnacle year which includes the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the medical team are being cautious not to rush Kopua and are happy for her to travel and train with the team on the five-match tour.

Laura Langman will now be the on-court captain for the side.

The Silver Ferns will play Scotland in two exhibition matches in Glasgow, before travelling down to London to play one test match against Jamaica and one against England followed by one last exhibition match against England A.

The Silver Ferns team:
Laura Langman (on-court captain), Jodi Brown, Leana de Bruin, Shannon Francois, Katrina Grant, Joline Henry, Phoenix Karaka, Cathrine Latu, Camilla Lees, Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit, Maria Tutaia, Irene van Dyk.

Training Partners:
Casey Kopua, Bailey Mes, Malia Paseka, Courtney Tairi.

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