NEW Wasps Netball coach Mel Mansfield has pointed towards the international prestige amongst her squad as the key advantage Wasps will possess in their attempt to win the title for a third successive season.
Mansfield’s squad contains a large Vitality England Roses contingent, with Jade Clarke, Rachel Dunn and Fran Williams all featuring in the off-season, most recently in the Roses’ 3-0 series win over Uganda, whilst South Africa captain Bongi Msomi returns to Wasps after a season away in Australia.
The new head coach admitted her pride at seeing Wasps represented on the international stage, pointing to the greater depth that international experience adds to the squad.
“It’s been non-stop this summer for the England players but how good is it to see Wasps players, past and present, shining on the international stage?
“At times there had been four on the court for England at the same time and deservingly so.”
Mansfield highlighted the impact Clarke could have on the upcoming season and believes the mid-court defender will be key to Wasps’ chances of further success, whilst pinpointing Williams as one to watch in 2019.
“She is a natural leader and I’ve already noticed the difference in her within training in terms of how confident she is and how she runs the defensive end. She has really grown as a player in the last two seasons and we’re excited to see what she can achieve this year.”
Going into the new season with the same defensive line-up which achieved the second-best goals-against record last campaign is undoubtedly a pleasing sight for Mansfield, as she admits: “The past couple of seasons have proven what a formidable defensive unit we have in our squad. To keep hold of defenders as talented as Sam May, Josie Huckle and Hannah Knights is a coup for us.
“We have a range of combinations we can play, which is key for any successful team, so it is a good headache for me to have.”
Wasps begin the defence of their title with a fixture against Loughborough Lightning in a repeat of 2018’s Grand Final, on Saturday January 5 at Arena Birmingham, as part of the Super 10 – with all ten Vitality Superleague sides appearing on the same day.
Wasps Netball season memberships are now available to purchase, whilst individual tickets for the first six Wasps Netball home fixtures of the 2019 season are also on sale. Visit www.waspsnetball.co.uk for more information.