As New Zealand netballers played out almost the entire ANZ Premiership season Covid-19 free, their rivals in the United Kingdom were watching intently with envious eyes.
Stuck in lockdown with strict protocols and only able to train in bubbles of six up until recently, the UK-based England players haven't clocked any court time since March.
But that doesn't mean head coach Jess Thirlby was unprepared when a series against the Silver Ferns came calling.
She said the team have been in and out of training camps preparing for such an opportunity.
"Long-term planning is normally what we're used to but in this reactive space that we're working in, that's just not possible and you have to remain very agile," Thirlby told the Herald. "It has come around quick, but everyone's had their head down and I've been so impressed by how we've pulled this off.
"New Zealand are very much the favourites going into this, not only because they're the world champions, but also having been able to play out the whole of the ANZ season, but we're in a brilliant place against the backdrop of operating over here in England."
The England Roses are set to play the Silver Ferns next month in the Taini Jamison Series, marking the first international netball tour since January's Quad Series.
The Roses will arrive on October 8 to start their 14-day quarantine before facing the Ferns on October 28, October 30 and November 1.
They've been granted a similar training exemption to that of the Wallabies, where they'll spend the first three days in self-isolation before being allowed to train together at a court, provided the team all test negative.
They'll also have space at their quarantine facility allocated for training purposes.
"It requires a little bit of lateral thinking and creativity but if anything, I've definitely been challenged on that in the last few months so I feel well prepared for what that can look like," says Thirlby.
"There is no one else in this country, at all, that is back to playing netball so our reliance has been heavily on our own internal system.
"If anything, we might be getting quite good at how to train as an international side with some of these constraints. The realities are, this could be the situation for the short-term."
None of the Roses who currently play in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) league in Australia, including the likes of Jo Harten, Geva Mentor, and Helen Housby, have been named in the team, with Thirlby taking a player welfare approach in her selections.
The team instead will look to the experience of 176-cap Jade Clarke and 98-cap Serena Guthrie, with the majority of the team relatively inexperienced on the international stage.
"As much as it is a loss, it's not really where I focus my attention and it would be very easy for me and the team to shy away from the opportunity to come over and play the current world champions but that's just not my school of thinking," Thirlby said.
"Of course, we'd want to come with the strongest team possible and those SSN players are incredibly important to us but I've got no doubt that we'll have some pleasant surprises from those players that we're bringing over and hopefully they'll harness this experience and put their best foot forward."
Thirlby added she had a good grasp of the New Zealand style and said they'd formulated a game plan around that.
"I've always been very curious and intrigued with how to break down the New Zealand style of play because I was a big fan of that as well," she said.
"We watched the ANZ [Premiership] from over here so it's been great to get a visual on the up-and-coming stars of the Silver Ferns as well and we've got a game plan. We've very much used this tour as a focus over the last couple of camps to turn our attention to where our strengths lie and how we can counteract them off New Zealand."