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Netball Quad Series: Geva Mentor nervous and excited for 150th England Vitality Roses cap
England's Vitality Roses face South Africa in the first match of the Netball Quad Series at 2pm; Geva Mentor made her international debut in 2000 against New Zealand; the Silver Ferns take on Australia in the second game on Saturday; coverage will be live on Sky Sports from 1.45pm
Last Updated: 15/01/22 4:39pm
Geva Mentor is poised to make her 150th appearance for England's Vitality Roses on Saturday afternoon and despite having been a mainstay of the team since 2000, she admits that the nerves will still be bubbling at the Copper Box Arena in London.
Mentor made her debut for England back in 2000 against New Zealand. She was just 16 years old and that encounter marked the beginning of one of the most impressive careers that netball has seen.
The 37-year-old has excelled in England and Australia at a domestic level, plus she has played in five Netball World Cups and five Commonwealth Games competitions since first putting on an England dress.
Despite having this wealth of experience, the stalwart admits that the nerves are always there.
"I can't say I'm the emotional type," she told Gail Davis of Sky Sports News. "I tell you one thing though... I still get extremely nervous. From game one to hopefully my milestone 150th this weekend. I'll be just as nervous."
Netball Quad Series - Live on Sky Sports and Sky Sports YouTube channel
|Saturday, January 15||Vitality Roses vs South Africa||2pm|
|Saturday, January 15||New Zealand vs Australia||4.15pm|
|Sunday, January 16||Australia vs South Africa||2pm|
|Sunday, January 16||Vitality Roses vs New Zealand||4.15pm|
|Tuesday, January 18||South Africa vs New Zealand||5.30pm|
|Tuesday, January 18||Vitality Roses vs Australia||7.30pm|
|Wednesday, January 19||Third vs Fourth||5.30pm|
|Wednesday, January 19||Final||7.30pm|
This Netball Quad Series between England's Vitality Roses, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, marks the first netball Mentor has played on English soil since the 2019 Netball World Cup.
This Christmas just gone was the first time she had been back in the country for two-and-a-half years, due to her home and career, being in Australia.
"I do remember stepping out for the first time at the World Cup in Liverpool and the crowd were electric. I remember that sent even more nerves shooting through me because the atmosphere was amazing.
"Now, I'm expecting this English crowd who have been deprived of so much international netball over the last couple of years, to be electric again. Hopefully, the energy that they bring will calm my nerves a little bit and I'm able to just step out on court and just do my thing."
Vitality Roses Squad - Netball Quad Series
|Imogen Allison||Eleanor Cardwell||Jade Clarke|
|Beth Cobden||Sophie Drakeford-Lewis||Georgina Fisher|
|Stacey Francis-Bayman||Layla Guscoth||Serena Guthrie (captain)|
|Natalie Haythornthwaite (vice-captain)||Helen Housby||Laura Malcolm|
|Geva Mentor||Eboni Usoro-Brown|
Despite it being over two decades ago, Mentor also recalls elements of her maiden international cap.
"I remember not really knowing too much about what I was supposed to do, just stepping on court and hopefully connecting with my team-mates," she said.
"I managed to get my hands to a couple of intercepts and deflections that came down. Hopefully this time, with a more mature head on my shoulders, I'm able to get two hands on the ball and pull more in for turnover ball!
"Really though, I don't remember too much other than it being away in New Zealand, obviously being against the world No 1 goal shooter at the time Irene van Dyk.
"Coming up against the South Africans, for my 150th milestone will be just as exciting. The important thing for me is to stay connected with my team-mates and make sure that we get the job done."
England's Vitality Roses have never won a Netball Quad Series. However, they are going into it having, in Mentor's words, "ticked off bits of history" in recent months.
A first series win over the Silver Ferns in New Zealand came last September and more recently, a first series win against Jamaica since 2013.
Mentor is keen for more to be achieved and a great deal to be learned from this Quad Series at the start of a Commonwealth Games year.
"It's important what we do now, but also what we've done prior that counts," the defender added.
"Every time we step out on court, we look to go out and win. There's also so much that we can take out of this Quad Series. It's not just about what we're doing and the combinations we're putting out there, it's about getting exposure to the different nations.
"We haven't seen Australia for the last two years; South Africa have a completely new side almost as well. It's going to be so interesting to see what style they're using, what players they're using and what combinations they're in.
"All of these top nations are craving this competition and it's going to be a great prelude leading into the Commonwealth Games."
Watch every match of the Netball Quad Series live on Sky Sports and streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel. England's meeting South Africa is live from 1.45pm on Sky Sports Arena and Mix; New Zealand versus Australia follows on Sky Sports Arena.