Tairi still waiting to hear about Ferns debut
Silver Ferns rookie Courtney Tairi has been given no indication whether she's set to make her international debut against Australia on Sunday in Invercargill.
However, with Millie Lees ruled out by injury and Liana Leota unavailable, the 1.8m midcourter appears to have the inside running ahead of Anna Thompson for the wing attack bib in the opening game of the five-match Constellation Cup series.
''We've just been working on different combinations at training and I guess just trying to see what our options are,'' Tairi said yesterday as the Silver Ferns filtered into Invercargill after having their travel plans affected by wild weather across the country.
In many ways it would be fitting for Tairi to earn her first cap in Invercargill.
Tairi made her trans-Tasman league debut for the NSW Swifts in the city and has spent the past two seasons playing here for the Southern Steel.
Her mother is from Invercargill and an aunty works there. Both will be in the SIT Zerofees Velodrome stands on Sunday night.
The Australian-born Tairi will also be lining up against the country she represented at under-21 level in 2009.
It's an exciting time for the 25-year-old, who forced her claims for a place in the Silver Ferns with some strong trial form.
''This has been my first real stint of being involved in a really high performance environment. It's very exciting, but also a bit nervous, which I guess is to be expected.''
The Steel were unable to re-sign Tairi because of the salary cap pressure created by the retention of Jamaican goal shoot Jhaniele Fowler, with Tairi subsequently linking with the Magic for next year's trans-Tasman competition.
While obviously disappointed about not being wanted by the Steel, Tairi is eager to experience life with new Magic coach Julie Fitzgerald.
''I've worked with Julie Fitzgerald at the Swifts, she was my first ANZ coach so I'm pretty excited to be going back under her and furthering the coaching that she did with me back then.''
Ferns assistant coach Vicki Wilson said Tairi offered more than meets the eye.
''Court offers something different because her timing is very good. She mightn't look busy, as such, but she does a lot of work, a lot of preliminary work, which is very important for the timing of the forward line.''
The Silver Ferns had their first training session of the week at Wallacetown yesterday, although three players and coach Waimarama Taumaunu missed it after weather delayed their flights out of Wellington.
Wilson, who oversaw the session, said the disruption would have little impact on the Silver Ferns' preparations.
The Australian team arrived in Invercargill last night and are due to train in Gore this afternoon.
- © Fairfax NZ News