New Zealand’s national netball team, the Silver Ferns, qualified for NWC2015 based on the virtue of their number two world ranking as of July 1, 2014. They will go into the competition in Sydney as the world’s second ranked netball team, as well as the second most decorated nation at World Cup level.
Along with Australia, England and Jamaica, the Silver Ferns are one of only four nations to have competed at every World Cup, with NWC2015 to mark their 14th appearance at netball’s pinnacle event. They are also the only nation to date to have hosted the tournament three times (in Auckland in 1975, Christchurch in 1999 and in Auckland again in 2007), a record which Australia will match at NWC2015.
The Silver Ferns placed second at the inaugural World Cup (then known as the World Netball Tournament) hosted in Eastbourne, England, in 1963, before going on to be crowned World Champions in 1967 in Perth, a title which they would go on to win on another three occasions. At the event held in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1971 the Silver Ferns placed second, before finishing third at the event they hosted in Auckland in 1975; their lowest finish at a Netball World Cup to date.
In 1979 at the event hosted in Port of Spain by Trinidad & Tobago, the Silver Ferns along with Australia and the host nation, recorded a three-way tie for the title of World Champions, reflecting the Round Robin nature of the tournament at the time. They then finished second at the event hosted by Singapore in 1983, before winning their second outright (and third in total) World Title when the tournament was hosted in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1987.
Finals were first introduced to the Netball World Cup schedule when the tournament was last held in Sydney, 24 years ago in 1991. Of the six World Cup finals that have been played since then, the Silver Ferns have been involved in five, with the results of all five of these matches being decided by five goals or less. In 1991 the Ferns finished second, after a tight 53-52 score line against hosts Australia at the Sydney Entertainment Centre.
After missing the final at the 1995 World Cup hosted in Birmingham, England, and finishing third, the Silver Ferns went on to finish second when they hosted the tournament for the second time in Christchurch in 1999, were crowned World Champions in Kingston in 2003, hosted and finished second again in Auckland in 2007, and most recently in 2011, finished second at the event hosted in Singapore.
In total, of the 118 World Cup matches the Silver Ferns have contested, they have won 106, lost 11 and drawn 1, giving them a formidable World Cup winning percentage of 90%.
At NWC2015, Leana de Bruin will represent the Silver Ferns at her fifth consecutive Netball World Cup, equaling the record currently held by six former players, including former teammate and netballing legend, Irene van Dyk. Like van Dyk, de Bruin represented her birth country of South Africa at the 1999 World Cup in Christchurch, before making a permanent move to New Zealand in 2000, and representing New Zealand at the 2003, 2007 and 2011 World Cups.
The Silver Ferns’ coaching staff also have a wealth of World Cup experience they will be bringing to NWC2015, with head coach, Waimarama Taumaunu playing for the Silver Ferns at the 1987 and 1991 World Cups, whilst assistant coach, Vicki Wilson, represented Australia at four Netball World Cups (1987, 1991, 1995 and 1999), and was part of the World Champion team on three out of those four appearances.
*Rankings based on the International Netball Federation’s (INF) current World Rankings as of June 4, 2015. Please note that the Netball World Cup Pool allocations are based on the INF World Rankings of 1 July 2014.