THE Fiji Pearls left the country yesterday in high spirit for the Pacific Netball Series (PNS) which starts next week.
The series, which will be held from June 3 to 7 in Cook Islands, will also serve as the qualifier for the World Netball Championship in Australia next year.
Defending champions Fiji will face host Cook Islands, Samoa and Papua New Guinea in the series.
Team skipper Matila Waqanidrola said they were wary of other teams in the series but quite optimistic of their chances.
The tough defender said they had a good mix of players in the team to defend the PNS title.
"It will be a challenge for us given we are the defending champions and other teams will be coming hard on us to win the title," Waqanidrola said.
"It is also the qualifiers for the world cup and all teams will be coming with the aim of making the world cup so that makes it harder.
"But we have a good mix of players. There are some new exciting players in the team and we believe we have what it takes to defend the title."
Fiji will play Cook Islands in the opening match on Monday.
Fiji Pearls - Afa Rusivakula, Alesi Waqa, Debra Delana, Raijeli Daveua, Lusi Robanakadavu, Maria Lutua, Matila Waqanidrola, Nina Cirikisuva, Sera Dakuitoga, Teimumu Vukinavanua, Vaiti Waqatabu, Unaisi Rauluni
Fixtures - Monday June 2 - Fiji-Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea-Samoa; Tuesday June 3 - Fiji-Samoa, Papua New Guinea-Cook Islands; Wednesday June 4 - Samoa-Cook Islands, Fiji-Papua New Guinea; Thursday June 5 - Samoa-Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands-Fiji; Friday June 6 - Cook Islands-Papua New Guinea, Samoa-Fiji