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Netball boost

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, April 17, 2014

FORMER Fiji netball coach Julie Hoornweg will return to guide the Fiji Pearls this season.

The veteran Australian mentor coached the national side to the 1999 World Netball Championship where Fiji recorded its best-ever finish in the event on sixth.

Netball Fiji, while announcing Hoornweg's appointment, said she would be in charge of the team for the WNC qualifiers event in Rarotonga, Cook Islands in June.

The former England coach will also guide the Pearls in the Tri-series Plus One scheduled for May 6-9 against Northern Ireland and Papua New Guinea in Suva.

Hoornweg was delighted with the appointment and said she was pleased to assist the Pearls in preparation for the WNC.

"Obviously, the major objective would be to ensure that Fiji wins the tri-series next month and successfully defends the Pacific Netball Series title in the Cook Islands," she said in a Netball Fiji statement.

Netball Fiji president Wainikiti Bogidrau said they were fortunate to have someone of Hoornweg's calibre as national coach.

Bogidrau said the expatriate's salary was funded by the Fiji National Sports Commission through a government initiative to improve sports teams' performance as announced in the budget last year.

"We all know of her capability, skills and experience and we are fortunate to have secured her services for the Fiji Pearls," she said.

Hoornweg will join the national team later this month and will be supported by former national rep Alivina Waqa who has been appointed as the team technical officer.

Former Suva Netball Association president RubyAnn Sorovaki is the new national team manager.

Meanwhile, four new reps have been named in the Fiji Pearls team for the Tri-Series Plus One event.

They include secondary school students Vilisi Davui of Suva and Kelera Nawai of Lautoka alongside Fiji under-21 reps Deborah Delana and Ana Rusivakula.

Teimumu Vukinavanua and Sera Dakuitoga have reclaimed their positions in the national side after a lay-off of about two years.

The other players in the team include Matila Waqanidrola, Alesi Waqa, Vasiti Waqatabu, Maria Lutua, Afa Rusivakula, Asilika Sevutia and Nina Cirikisuva.

Australia-based Jane Costello and Alisi Naqiri of Nadi have also been named as training partners for the Pearls.

Tough defender Raijeli Daveua, Unaisi Rauluni and Taraima Mitchell are not available for the May series but will be considered for the PNS team.

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