New Zealand beats Australia to claim fourth Netball World Youth Cup
Piling on a decisive second half, the New Zealand U21s team secured a fourth Netball World Youth Cup title, fending off Australia 60-57 in a thrilling final in Botswana on Monday (NZ time).
New Zealand won back-to-back titles for the first time, defending the crown they won in Scotland four years ago, while also adding to their triumphs from 1992 and 2005.
The Kiwi side trailed Australia 17-14 after the first quarter and 28-27 at halftime.
Centre Kimiora Poi came on match midway through the second quarter, teaming with her Central Beko team-mate Mila Reuelu-Buchanan to lift the side's momentum.
Goal attack Monica Falkner's introduction helped New Zealand storm to the lead in the third quarter.
Shooter Maia Wilson continued her outstanding tournament with a dominant display under the hoop, while Reuelu-Buchanan and Poi were pivotal in driving forward and finding the shooters while captain Michaela Sokolich-Beatson and Kelly Jury took the sting out of Australia's scoring opportunities.
New Zealand led 45-41 at three-quarter time.
In a frenetic finish, Australia threw everything into their efforts, but anchored by their two Silver Ferns - Jury, the player of the match, and the rock-solid Wilson - New Zealand proved unshakeable.