Rotorua's Erena Mikaere has been called up to the Silver Ferns after returning home from Australia to prepare for the 2019 season with the Northern Mystics.
Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua today named her team to contest the Northern Quad Series against Australia, England and South Africa in England next month.
Mikaere left New Zealand in 2015 when she was scouted by the West Coast Fever in Perth to become the first New Zealand player to be imported into an Australian team in the ANZ Championship.
After a season with the Sunshine Coast Lightning, she returned home to sign with the Northern Mystics for the 2019 ANZ Premiership season.
"Erena obviously brings height to our defensive circle and her experience of playing against the Australian style for a number of years," Taurua said.
Mikaere joins fellow Rotorua player Samantha Sinclair in the team.
In a shock selection former New Zealand captain Katrina Rore (nee Grant) has been dropped for the series.
"It was a tough call, it happened to be that others could do it better, she's not included but everybody will be available for World Cup," Taurua said.
"She's totally disappointed but I know she will be back."
The latest selection proved one of Taurua's toughest yet during her short reign as head coach, as she put 25 hopefuls through a rigorous training camp in Auckland this week.
"They have been put under the pump physically, mentally and emotionally," she said.
"We needed to set the standard with what's required within the team – I've been inspired by the intent and focus out on court."
Taurua said with the step up in intensity, her job of selecting had become more difficult particularly through the mid-court and defensive ends which hold plenty of promise.
"I'm liking what I'm seeing," she said.
Silver Ferns team:
Shooters –Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Maria Folau, Maia Wilson
Mid-court – Gina Crampton, Laura Langman, Kimiora Poi, Sam Sinclair, Whitney Souness
Defenders – Karin Burger, Casey Kopua, Erena Mikaere, Jane Watson
Silver Ferns schedule:
versus England Roses, January 13, 2019 at Echo Arena in Liverpool
versus Australian Diamonds, January 19, 2019 at Copper Box Arena in London
versus South Africa Proteas, January 20 at Copper Box Arena in London