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Netball Nations Cup: England set up Australia clash in final with narrow win over New Zealand

England won a nail-biter against New Zealand 58-57 to set up another clash with Australia in the Netball Nations Cup final; The Diamonds had beaten Uganda earlier in the day; Watch the third-place play-off and final at Leeds' First Direct Arena live on Sky Sports on Sunday

LEEDS, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: Eleanor Cardwell of England jumps to catch the ball during the Vitality Netball Nations Cup match between England Vitality Roses and New Zealand Silver Ferns at First Direct Arena on January 27, 2024 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Image: England edged out New Zealand to book their place in the final

Jess Thirlby expects a different test from Australia this time around after England booked a place against the Diamonds in the Netball Nations Cup final.

The Vitality Roses held out to beat New Zealand 58-57 in Saturday's winner-takes-all group-stage clash at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, setting up a repeat of last year's World Cup final.

Australia had the beating of England on that occasion and secured a narrow 61-59 victory over the host nation in this tournament last week, but head coach Thirlby is in no doubt the Roses know what they need to do to lift the trophy on Sunday.

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Highlights of Australia’s 63-49 win over Uganda in the Netball Nations Cup

"It's a different context this week," Thirlby told Sky Sports. "You've seen the game we've had to get through to give ourselves the right again for a finals test, so it will be different for sure.

"Last week, we went back to the footage, and it was the easy wins where we let ourselves down, so that was quite reassuring, but we're coming off the back of a very different Saturday match.

"It's brilliant - it's replicating everything from the World Cup, which is exactly where we want to be."

It was New Zealand who had the upper hand in the first half, leading 31-30 at the break, but the hosts had enough down the stretch to take the win, thanks in no small part to an interception from Funmi Fadoju with seconds remaining.

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Highlights of Australia’s 63-49 win over Uganda in the Netball Nations Cup

Nat Metcalf's 42 feeds helped earn her the player of the match accolade as well, and she is excited by what lies ahead in Sunday's final, live on Sky Sports, in Leeds.

"It's awesome to be able to get into that final," Metcalf told Sky Sports. "To be able to play the Ferns, who are a formidable side, then have to back it up against the Diamonds is something to look forward to.

"We're going all guns blazing for that trophy. We've never gone for it before, so we want to focus on our performance and do our best out there."

Earlier in the day, Australia made it three wins from three in the group stage as they defeated Uganda 63-49.

Sunday, January 28 - First Direct Arena, Leeds

Watch live from 1.30-6pm

Third-place play-off: Australia vs Uganda (2pm)

Final: England vs New Zealand (4.15pm)

Watch the final day of the Netball Nations Cup live on Sky Sports Mix from 1.30pm on Sunday. New Zealand face Uganda in the third-place play-off followed by England taking on Australia in the final. Also stream with NOW.

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