Roses rise into third in latest INF rankings
ENGLAND has leapfrogged Jamaica on the lates International Netball Federation (INF) world rankings, moving into third spot in the world as seeds were confirmed for next year’s Netball World Cup. The 2023 Netball World Cup is being held in Cape Town, South Africa, with the home nation ranked fifth in the world, still comfortably edging out Malawi (sixth) and Uganda (seventh) from the continent.
England has regained its third spot in the INF World Rankings after failing to claim a medal at the most recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Having taken home the Gold Medal in 2018 on the Gold Coast, the Roses were unable to replicate that performance. Though that success dropped off their rating for the August update, England was able to regain points through recent series wins over Uganda and Jamaica. Though the Roses lost to Australia in the other international test series, England will head into next year’s World Cup as third seed.
The SPAR Proteas have played more international matches than any other nation in the recognised top 53, with a whopping 68 tests in the past four years. That has enabled South Africa to build a world-high 8,178 point, but just a 157 rating. It means that while the South Africans have played a lot of matches and earned more points than their opponents, the quality of opposition from those wins, was not as high as the top four nations.
South Africa’s 157 rating is still well clear of Malawi (126) and Uganda (122), with the former overtaking the latter thanks to its second placed finish behind the SPAR Proteas at the World Cup Africa Qualifiers. As Uganda did not partake, then lost its three test matches to England, the She Cranes dropped back to seventh in the world following their automatic Netball World Cup qualification from an outstanding Commonwealth Games performance.
At the top of the list, Commonwealth Games champions Australia retain the world number one spot, with the Diamonds and second ranked New Zealand Silver Ferns the only two nations to hold the top ranking position since the INF first released rankings in 2009. Australia heads into the 2023 World Cup as top seed with New Zealand second, while the Silver Ferns go in as defending champions, having defeated the Diamonds by a goal in the 2019 World Cup final.
In more recent tests, Australia won the Constellation Cup against the Silver Ferns, edging the Diamonds up to 200 rating points from 44 tests, the second lowest amount of matches in the top seven. The only nation with less in the top seven is Jamaica (42), with the Sunshine Girls maximising their time on court, earning a Silver Medal at the Commonwealth Games and even beating the other three nations in the top four. Though losing to New Zealand and England in recent series, the Jamaicans were not at full strength, though they did go undefeated in the Netball World Cup Americas Qualifiers, having already booked their spot in Cape Town.
The surprise packet of the recent INF World Rankings is Tonga, with the Oceanic nation rising to eighth in the world off just 15 matches. Tonga went undefeated in its World Cup Qualifying after previously not winning a major competitive tournament. That rise saw the nation qualify for its first ever World Cup next year, and rise an additional spot above Wales.
The tougher European World Cup Qualifiers saw Wales top the tournament and secure ninth spot in the world, marginally ahead of 10th placed Scotland who finished on 114 rating points. Northern Ireland – who finished third overall after losing to those two nations – dropped back to 12th in the world and is the highest ranked nation not qualifying for the 2023 Netball World Cup.
Americas qualifiers Trinidad & Tobago (11th) and Barbados (14th), and African qualifier Zimbabwe (13th) were able to stamp their tickets to the international event. The 15th ranked Fiji and 16th ranked Sri Lanka will also head to Cape Town for the event, while Singapore – ranked 30th in the world – is the surprise qualifying nation, having earned its spot through the Asia World Cup Qualifiers.
The 2023 Netball World Cup runs from July 28 until August 6 next year, with 16 nations competing for glory in Cape Town.