Taurua defends decision to rotate Silver Ferns players :

A week ago the Silver Ferns were sitting pretty – 2-nil up in the Constellation Cup and it looked like the Cup would stay in New Zealand’s hands.

A week later, the Constellation Cup is back in Australia and the Silver Ferns have got some work to do to get closer to their arch rivals.

The Australian Diamonds recouped the Constellation Cup after beating the Silver Ferns 57-53 on the Gold Coast last night.

The Silver Ferns led 30-25 at half time but had a horror third quarter, which they lost 19-8.

Australia has now won the Constellation Cup 10 times, to New Zealand’s two.

The score line was much better than Test 3 on Wednesday, when the Diamonds thrashed the Silver Ferns 62-47 in Melbourne.

Silver Ferns’ coach Dame Noeline Taurua said the first five minutes of the third quarter hurt them big time.

“Two offensive contacts and a missed shot …then we’re on the back foot,” Dame Noeline said.

Australian shooters Sophie Garbin and Steph Wood started running rings around the New Zealand defenders.

“Defensively we got caught on the back and there was a lot of speed, they got onto the circle edge. We got caught into catch up mode in our defence end, couldn’t stop it, couldn’t plug it.”

Dame Noeline was pleased the Ferns were able to improve to win the final quarter but lamented her side’s ability to execute in crucial moments.

In the first two Tests it looked like Australia was sorely missing pregnant super star shooter Gretel Bueta.

But Garbin has been a revelation in the last two tests and will give coach Dame Noeline plenty to ponder about how best to combat her.

The win levelled the series 2-all but the Diamonds won the cup by way of greater goal percentage.

“That’s probably about right I think how far we are away from Australia, so that’s probably within cooee I think of how much more we have to do.”

Dame Noeline has used the series to give opportunities to more midcourters.

Maddy Gordon and Kimiora Poi got game time again last night.

“I think our ability to hold and sustain that intensity sometimes eludes us and we’re not as consistent but also the only way you’re going to get your feet is if you’re out there against the best.

“We’ve got Gina still to come back who we know will strengthen it and when we get to final selections it’s going to be very competitive.”

After a riveting series Dame Noeline said she loved the rivalry with Australia.

“I’ve only got massive respect as I think they have for us …they are strong, they are tough and that’s why they’re so good.

“I think Stacey’s [Marinkovich] done a really good job and I can only commend her because her entry into being a head coach wasn’t as smooth for her and she’s quietened a lot of people so full respect.”

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