Wales netball boss Trish Wilcox wants to follow football lead

By Mark PoyserBBC Wales reporter
Wales centre Kyra Jones in action against Singapore
Wales centre Kyra Jones in action against Singapore

Welsh Netball's head of elite performance, Trish Wilcox, wants to emulate the England women's football team at the World Cup in Australia.

England's Lionesses have made headlines with their run to the semi-finals of their own World Cup in Canada.

Now Wilcox, who on Tuesday named her squad of 12 for the tournament in August, wants netball to capture the public's imagination.

"The more coverage we get to highlight our sport the better," Wilcox said.

"We talk about growing the sport, we need that exposure.

"We need to put these athletic young women in front of people to see what they can do so that other young women want to aspire to be involved in the sport.

"I think it's a very exciting time. Australia are going all guns out to make this an amazing World Cup.

"There's more media coverage than ever before, so hopefully the momentum post-World Cup will then carry on in terms of participation numbers and growth in the sport."

Suzy Drane captains an experienced squad that has won 301 caps between them, as Wales go down under looking to improve on their ninth place in Singapore four years ago.

Wales are in Pool D alongside Fiji, Uganda and Zambia, and begin their campaign against Fiji in Sydney on 7 August.

Preparations in the Wales camp have been overshadowed by high-profile departures off the court in the last 12 months.

Former coach Melissa Hyndman was sacked in June 2014, just weeks before the Commonwealth Games following a disciplinary investigation.

Wales have also seen two chief executives resign - Mike Watson and Alun Davies - with Sarah Jones becoming the third incumbent in that role in the last year.

But Drane believes the instability above them will not have any affect on what they do out on the court in Australia.

"Absolutely not," she said. "We come in, we train, we're a very tight group.

"Our main focus is what goes into training, what goes onto the court and what we put into our competition play.

"They're our main worries. We don't need to worry about anything that goes on behind the scenes."

Before they head off to Australia, Wales play England in a warm-up game in Merthyr Tydfil on Wednesday 8 July, which will be followed by a training camp in Tasmania.

Wales Netball World Cup squad: Suzy Drane (capt), Rosie Pretorius (vice-capt), Lateisha Kidner, Kelly Morgan, Stephanie Williams, Kyra Jones, Nic James, Bethan Dyke, Emma Thomas, Sara Bell, Chelsea Lewis, Georgia Rowe.

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