Netball South Africa (NSA) chief executive Blanche de la Guerre said New Zealand had approached NSA about playing the matches, and South Africa had jumped at the opportunity. “New Zealand is one of the strongest teams in the world, and it will be an excellent experience for our players. It also means they have time to recover from jet lag and get acclimatised before the World Cup, which starts on August 7,” said De la Guerre.
The Tests will be played in Hamilton on July 27 and in Auckland on July 29. The Proteas will remain in New Zealand until August 3 when they will fly to Sydney. New Zealand is currently ranked second in the world, behind Australia. South Africa are ranked sixth.
“We see it as something of a compliment that they have invited us to play there,” said De La Guerre. “We surprised them in 1995, so maybe they want to see what we can do,” she said. In 1995, South Africa beat New Zealand in the semifinal of the World Cup in Birmingham in England and went on to win the silver medal, after losing to Australia in the final.
De La Guerre said the hosts would pay South Africa’s accommodation expenses while they were in New Zealand.