Nia Jones Sets Wales Target As They Start First World Cup Campaign For Eight Years


The eyes of the netball world will be on Wales this weekend as they take on hosts South Africa at the Netball World Cup.

Australia and New Zealand got off to winning starts on Friday morning, but the locals will provide a sell-out back drop in Cape Town when the Welsh Feathers provide the opposition on Friday night.

South Africa will be firm favourites as this is Wales’ first appearance at the tournament since 2015 and skipper Nia Jones – who won 30 caps for Wales as a footballer – believes any finish above their current ninth-place world ranking would be a major plus.

“Anything inside the top eight for us in this tournament would be a huge achievement,” says the former Celtic Dragons star, now with Leeds Rhinos.

“There’s a huge contrast of styles among the teams and we are taking some inexperienced people as well, so it’ll be awesome for them and great for the future of our team.

“The fact we have to play seven games in eight days is a challenge in itself but we definitely have to be picking up some wins in there as well.

“We’ve waited so long and we qualified in brilliant fashion. We won five out of five games in qualifying so we don’t want to be just taking part, we’ve got strong aspirations to be climbing the world rankings.

‘”We’ve been cruising around eighth, ninth or 10th in the last few years and we need to be playing some of these top teams more often, that would be massive for our calendar. We can’t just wait every four years to be playing teams and stars we’ve never faced before.”

South Africa finished sixth at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, but with a squad of 24 full-time players they are expected to be far stronger in front of their home fans.

Wales have faced the South Africans 19 times previously and have yet to beat them.

Wales will also face one of the tournament favourites Jamaica and then Sri Lanka in Group C.


Miguel Angel Jimenez would have lit up a fat cigar and reflected on a job well done after day one of the Seniors Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl.

The Spaniard – who famously used to enjoy a puff on a large Cuban, sometimes out on the course – took a two-shot lead into day two of the tournament after an opening five-under-par round of 66.

The weather was not very Spanish, and the forecast is for more wind and rain through Saturday on the famous links course.

Bradley Dredge leads the Welsh challenge after a level par round.


Geraint Thomas and his Ineos Grenadiers riders have this week been confirmed as one of 16 teams who will compete for the Tour of Britain title in September.

Wales’ former Tour de France winner will be back on Welsh roads when the tour spins around Wrexham on stage two on September 4.

There will be a second chance for Welsh fans to see Thomas when the tour comes into South Wales and runs from Margam to Caerphilly on September 10.

Relaunched in 2004 after a five-year absence from the calendar, the Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, held annually across eight days in September.