Fiji, Samoa ready for netball world cup openers

​Former Fiji coach Julie Hoornweg will be an interested observer when the Pearls open the Netball World Cup against Wales later this morning.

Hoornweg coached Fiji in the 90s and was in charge for a short stint last year when the Pearls qualified for the World Cup by defending the Pacific Series title.

She will be in the crowd for the opening match but admits there will be an element of divided loyalties.

"This week in Tasmania I have been working a little bit with the Welsh team so my heart's in two places in that game: cheering for Fiji for half a game and Wales for a little bit [laughing] - no, I'll be just cheering loudly for good netball. The Wales team are looking quite good - they're quite speedy and they've got quite a bit of athleticism and a little bit of height - not a great deal but a little bit - so they're a little bit taller than they have been in the past".

Fiji also have a bit of history against the Welsh, winning one and losing another clash at the last World Cup, while also beating them at the 2007 tournament.

Meanwhile Samoa open their tournament against Jamaica today with coach Marcia Hardcastle anticipating a tough initiation.

"They've got some good height there and their timing of game is different - a lot of aerial stuff. Jill McIntosh is involved in there now and will bring a taste of the Australian style, a flatter ball, so I think it will be interesting to see what they provide out on court."

Samoa also face Scotland and England in pool play, with Fiji's other matches against Uganda and Zambia.