New Zealand vs England: Serena Guthrie to captain Vitality Roses for three-match series

Watch all three games on the Sky Sports YouTube channel – Game One begins at 8am on Monday September 20, coverage also available on Sky Sports Arena & Mix

Last Updated: 17/09/21 11:25am

Serena Guthrie will lead England in their three-match tour of New Zealand (AP Photo)

England have confirmed that Serena Guthrie will captain the Vitality Roses for the first leg of their overseas tour, which starts in New Zealand on Monday.

Jess Thirlby’s squad will take on the world champions in Christchurch in a three-match series, and you can watch all the action live on Sky Sports Mix, Arena and for free on the YouTube channel.

Guthrie captained England at the World Cup in 2019, and also on their last trip to New Zealand in 2020 and as one of the nation’s most decorated netballers, she will head up a leadership group that includes Laura Malcolm, Nat Haythornthwaite and Fran Williams.

“I am absolutely honoured to be given this role, this group are incredible, and they inspire the country, they inspire me, and they inspire the fans back home and we are looking forward to putting some great performances out on the court.

“We appreciate your [the fans] support; we can feel you across the water. I’m just looking forward to getting out there with the girls.”

Serena Guthrie, England Roses captain

It is the first stage of a trip where the Roses are also scheduled to play Australia in early October and the Test against the world’s top-two ranked nations is the start of England’s countdown to the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

England will defend the gold medal they won so dramatically on the Gold Coast in 2018, next year in Birmingham and the competition will be Thirlby’s first major tournament as head coach.

Vitality Roses’ New Zealand and Australia Series – Live on Sky Sports

September 20 New Zealand Silver Ferns vs England Vitality Roses
September 22 New Zealand Silver Ferns vs England Vitality Roses
September 24 New Zealand Silver Ferns vs England Vitality Roses
October (Date TBC) Australian Diamonds vs England Vitality Roses
October (Date TBC) Australian Diamonds vs England Vitality Roses
October (Date TBC) Australian Diamonds vs England Vitality Roses

“Serena embodies all of what being a Rose means and the values that the group work hard to uphold.” Jess Thirlby told England Netball.

“Not only is she able to inspire people by the way she expresses herself on court, but her energy off it motivates the team to go on the journey with her too. She is a proven force and well respected on the international stage and is restless in wanting the team to be better day in, day out.

“I am a big believer in shared and collaborative leadership and am proud of the growth the team have shown in this area over the last two years. Serena is well supported by the leadership group of Nat, Fran and Laura and also by a Roses team with an abundance of leadership experience.

“The trio that makes up the leadership group have been outstanding over the past two years in navigating some challenging times and have done so with humility, passion and drive.”

Vitality Roses Squad for New Zealand and Australia Series

Ella Clark Rhea Dixon George Fisher
Eleanor Cardwell Sophie Drakeford-Lewis Laura Malcolm
Hannah Joseph Serena Guthrie Beth Cobden
Imogen Allison Jade Clarke Geva Mentor
Layla Guscoth Francesca Williams Vicki Oyseola
Stacey Francis-Bayman (Australia leg only) Joanne Harten (Australia leg only) Helen Housby (Australia leg only)
Natalie Haythornthwaite (Australia leg only)

England face New Zealand in Christchurch on Monday, before the second and third games of the series, which are scheduled for Wednesday and Friday.

The squad will then travel on to Australia for a three-match series with the Diamonds, where the squad will be boosted by the availability of four Suncorp Netball-based stars.

Joe Harten, Helen Housby, Sara Francis-Bayman and Haythornthwaite will link up with the 15-player party in New Zealand.

Watch live coverage on Sky Sports Arena, Mix and YouTube channel of England’s series in New Zealand as Jess Thirlby’s squad begin preparations for the defence of their Commonwealth Games gold medal in Birmingham in 2022

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