Vitality Roses name Serena Guthrie and Laura Malcolm as co-captains for New Zealand series

The Vitality Roses have named Serena Guthrie and Laura Malcolm as co-captains for the upcoming three-match Test series against the Silver Ferns in New Zealand. 

Guthrie is set to gain her 100th cap as she returns to action following a short break from the international scene on the back of leading the Vitality Roses to bronze at last year’s World Cup.

Malcolm, part of the Manchester Thunder team that won the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague title, served as England vice-captain during the 2019 Test series in South Africa and January’s Netball Nations Cup. The pair will also be supported by vice-captain Fran Williams.

Roses head coach Jess Thirlby cited the experience of both playing a role in her decision and alluded to the idea she was spoilt for choice when it came to leaders across the squad.

Kat Ratnapala will be undertaking additional coaching responsibilities in New Zealand as Thirlby leads things virtually after recently testing positive for COVID-19.

“Serena and Laura are well respected members of the team and I’m really proud to name them co-captains,” said Thirlby. “Serena has a wealth of international knowledge and exposure, which is important for a captain to have going into a series against the current world champions and after such an unsettling year for all.

“It’s brilliant to have her back in the mix and back in the red dress, the players really look up to her and I know she’ll do an outstanding job.

“Laura is a positive, hardworking and highly motivated member of the team and has a natural ability in knowing how to get the best out of those around her. Over the last 12 months she’s proved her ability to be a leader throughout training and previous international competitions.

“The great thing about this squad is we have a very leaderful team, with many players ready and raring to step up whenever the time requires it and Laura leads by example both on and off the court.”

Vice-captain Fran Williams, who plays for Wasps Netball in the Vitality Superleague, has 13 caps to her name and played a key role in the Roses’ journey to the podium at the World Cup.

Thirlby added: “This is a really exciting and important opportunity for Fran, she’s been on a phenomenal journey with the Vitality Roses to date and has really made a name for herself on the netball scene.

“The whole team has been tested due to the pandemic; being forced to train from home and then in a different environment when returning to camp, however Fran has shown resilience and a positive attitude throughout. I couldn’t be more proud of Fran and the team.

“Despite not being able to fly to New Zealand with the squad due to a positive COVID-19 test result, I have complete confidence in knowing we have such a great leadership team in Serena, Laura and Fran.

“I will be working closely with them, albeit virtually, throughout the series and can’t wait to see them back on the international stage.”

The Cadbury Netball Series, which will see the Vitality Roses face the Silver Ferns for the first time since January, will be aired live via Sky Sports on October 28, 30 and November 1.

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