Ferns likely to show no mercy to South Africa
All signs point to a landslide victory for the Silver Ferns in their opening match of the new Quad Series tournament against South Africa in Adelaide tomorrow.
But this time it'll be a more merciless side which faces up to the Proteas.
In the countries' 23-test history, the Ferns have won 22, with all but one of those being by 11 goals or more.
South Africa's sole victory was the upset 59-57 result in 1995, when a young Irene van Dyk punished her adopted country.
But the last time the two countries met - in the quarterfinals of last year's world championships - a lackadaisical Ferns outfit were left blushing after trailing at quarter time.
They went on to an easy 58-28 win, but coach Waimarama Taumaunu, who was assistant to Ruth Aitken at the time, said they would take plenty of learning from that.
"I think we underestimated them and were duly punished for it," she said.
"I think we were too busy thinking about the semis and the final and forgot to play the game we were supposed to be playing, so it's one big thing we'll certainly be taking forward."
Taumaunu said Casey Williams and Maria Tutaia's knees were good to go - the latter missed the final Constellation Cup test against Australia and the former has not appeared in the black dress for 15 months - although the series will see some newer faces.
"It's a long series, six games over three weeks, so we'll also be looking to make sure that we spread the load as much as possible," Taumaunu said.
In midcourt, Bailey Mes is set to get her first taste of international play and Otago captain Shannon Francois may also be used after being a late inclusion for the injured Grace Rasmussen.