England Roses were unable to secure a clean sweep of victories over South Africa, suffering a 54-48 defeat in the final Test in Cape Town on Sunday.
With the knowledge that the series already belonged to them, head coach Jess Thirlby took the opportunity to make personnel changes at both ends of the court.
A new shooting partnership of George Fisher and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis arrived in one circle and Kate Shimmin was handed her first England cap in the defensive end.
In contrast to the first Tests, the Roses were unable to settle and found themselves 27-21 down after the first 30 minutes.
Instead of fluid and clean passing, balls in attack were pushed too far and Lenize Potgieter was unable to be contained at the other end.
The room that Potgieter enjoyed out at GA ignited South Africa's confidence and her accuracy in the 'D' kept the scoreboard ticking nicely.
Thirlby reverted to a more familiar line-up for the second half, re-introducing Kadeen Corbin and Fran Williams, and a strong comeback to 35-35 was the result.
However, South Africa were fiercely determined not to end their home series without a victory and remained composed.
Phumza Maweni was utterly inspired from start to finish, highlighting how much of a threat she will be to all teams in the coming years and like in the first Test, Lefebre Rademan added a new dimension when she came on and combined with Potgieter.
The Roses challenged hard in the final minutes however they had left themselves too much to do and the final victory belonged to their hosts.
|George Fisher – Supply to her wasn’t as easy but she was still giving offers and trying to mix up her game. 7/10|
|Sophie Drakeford-Lewis – Showed moments of pace and creativity but needs to tidy up on her possession and offloads at international level. 6.5/10|
|Nat Haythornthwaite – Stepped up to the challenge of Shadine van der Merwe and won that battle but too many other errors going on around her. 8/10|
|Jade Clarke – Tried everything to get her team back in the game and was her usual solid presence on court. 7.5/10|
|Nat Panagarry – Struggled with the height in South Africa’s attack end, not able to play her usual hustling game as too much ball was going over her head. 6.5/10|
|Kate Shimmin – She’s got range and her tracking ability is good but if England are going to select her, they need to work out how she can fit within their style. 6.5/10|
|Stacey Francis – Stepped up again in this game, has been solid throughout this series and a positive addition to the squad. 8/10|
|Laura Malcolm – Strengthened the defensive end with extra height and hustle, again showed that she’s far more confident at WD. 7.5/10|
|Kadeen Corbin – Came on with great impact and confidence but England were already chasing the game. 7.5/10|
|Fran Williams – Still the strongest defensive partnership is Francis and Williams, but struggled to make the same impact in 15 minutes as in the previous games. 7/10|
With both teams operating under new head coaches, Thirlby and Dorette Badenhorst will have gained valuable lessons from all three matches, about their players and about potential combinations moving forwards.
The next stop for both is the four-team Vitality Nations Cup competition in January. England will start their campaign on January 19 against New Zealand whilst South Africa will meet Jamaica and all four match-days will be live on Sky Sports.
Sky Sports is your home of netball and live action returns with the Vitality Nations Cup in January 2020. The four-nation competition starts on January 19 with England taking on the world champions New Zealand.