On Sunday morning (11:00) in Cape Town, the Proteas will have the chance to mitigate the disappointment of not qualifying for the semi-finals of the World Cup netball tournament when they play Uganda in the play-off for fifth place.
On Friday evening, the Proteas made sure that they made it to this showdown when they beat Tonga 72 – 46.
After the first quarter ended in a 12 – 12 draw, the Proteas, with Elmeré van der Berg replacing the experienced Ine-Marí Venter after only a few minutes, caught fire and won the last three quarters with 18 – 11, 17 – 13 and 25 – won 10 to triumph easily.
Uganda, who provided solid opposition to the Proteas in the last of the play-offs, beat Malawi for the first time when they prevailed 57 – 46.
Regardless of what happens against the Proteas in the play-off, this is the best Uganda has ever done at a World Cup tournament. Their previous best was a seventh position in 2019 in Liverpool.
In Friday night’s first quarter against Tonga, the Proteas’ Venter succeeded with just five of her nine attempts (55%) before she was replaced by Van der Berg.
Van der Berg finished with a pass rate of 94.4%.
Thanks to her accurate play in the second quarter, when Van der Berg was in the spot with all 14 tries, the Proteas were fueled to victory.
The coach, Norma Plummer, sent Khanyisa Chawane, Owethu Ngubane, Shadine van der Merwe and Nicola Smith as substitutes in the last quarter. This fresh breeze fueled the Proteas to score 25 goals (against 10) to win.
Van der Berg was deservedly voted most valuable player of the match.