The Silver Ferns will face the Australian Diamonds for the first time in over a year when the Constellation Cup comes to New Zealand in March, as part of the Cadbury Netball Series.
The Constellation Cup, which was postponed due to COVID-19 last year, has been confirmed to be played in New Zealand with Christchurch Arena hosting the first two matches on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 March before the action heads to Trustpower Baypark Arena in Tauranga on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 March.
It will be Australia’s first series in New Zealand under new coach Stacey Marinkovich and the side will undergo a two-week quarantine period to comply with the New Zealand Government’s COVID-19 requirements.
The Diamonds team will travel to Christchurch on Monday 15 February and prepare for the series during 14 days of managed isolation.
Netball NZ Chief Executive Jennie Wyllie said she was delighted to announce the series against their trans-Tasman neighbours after what had been a long wait.
“We’re really excited to confirm this series after the disappointments of postponing the Constellation Cup in 2020 due to COVID-19,” Wyllie said.
“We’d also like to acknowledge the Australian Diamonds for agreeing to come to New Zealand where they will go into the mandatory two-week quarantine leading into the series.
“To be able to host international netball in the current climate is something we do not take lightly so we’re excited to see our world champion Silver Ferns have the opportunity to take on one of their toughest opponents.”
Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua said she was looking forward to the challenge of playing the Diamonds.
“Australia is deservedly ranked number one in our sport and as a Silver Fern, there is nothing better than gauging yourself against the world’s best,” she said.
“We love the trans-Tasman rivalry and Constellation Cup. It truly is a blessing that we can rekindle our connections, and play the sport both countries love in these Covid times.”
The Silver Ferns last met the Diamonds in October, 2019 where Australia retained the Constellation Cup trophy.
The 2021 Constellation Cup is also scheduled to be played again later this year in an international calendar for the Silver Ferns which will include a Taini Jamison Trophy series.
This Constellation Cup series is an International Netball Federation sanctioned event.
All Constellation Cup matches will be broadcast live on Sky Sport 3, with tickets set to go on sale from early February.