Fierce Rivals Renew Hostilities

Photo: Getty Images/Hannah Johnston
The Constellation Cup is locked up at 1-1. Photo: Getty Images/Hannah Johnston
Australia  and New Zealand  meet in the 3rd Constellation Cup Test at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Friday night, with series all square at 1-1. The Silver Ferns took an early lead in the five match series with a 55-51 victory in the opening stoush at Invercargill but were unable to prevent the Diamonds from drawing level with a thrilling 48-45 victory in Auckland last month.

Now back on home turf after splitting the two matches across the Tasman, Australian coach Lisa Alexander is likely to stick with the starting seven that did the job at the Vector Arena last time out, although she is sure to make full use of her squad. Caitlin Thwaithes is the only Diamonds player that didn’t feature in either of the opening two matches but will feature at some stage in Adelaide. Alexander will also be mindful of the fact that the remaining three Constellation Cup Tests represent the final opportunities to experiment against New Zealand before the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year, where the pair is likely to do battle for the gold medal.

Central Pulse defender Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit has been called into the Silver Ferns squad as cover for Leana de Bruin, with the goalkeeper picking up a calf injury at training on Thursday. Should de Bruin be ruled out, Katrina Grant would come into the starting lineup at the back, with Selby-Rickit on the bench.

There has been little to separate these sides in recent times, with each team boasting five wins a piece from their past ten meetings. The last time Australia and New Zealand met at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, in October 2011, Australia won by seven goals .

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