Jess Thirlby will not be travelling with her squad to New Zealand
08 October 2020

England netball head coach Jess Thirlby tests positive for coronavirus and misses New Zealand Test series

England netball head coach Jess Thirlby is set to miss the New Zealand test series after testing positive for Covid-19. 

The 40 year-old is asymptomatic and self-isolating, but is ‘extremely disappointed’ she will not be travelling with the team. 

She will provide support for the squad virtually during the three-Test series as Saracens Mavericks’ head coach Kat Ratnapala will lead the side instead. 

Ratnapala has acted as an assistant coach to Thirlby for the last 12 months. 

Thirlby said: "We cannot take any risks. The safety of all involved is the priority. I am extremely disappointed to not be travelling.

"Every precaution has been taken; remaining in small bubbles during training, having staff wear masks at all times, as well as players wearing masks when not on court.

“We have also been social distancing, doing temperature checks on arrival, plus self-isolating at home and undergoing a pre-flight testing plan prior to travelling.

“To date, I have not shown any symptoms of COVID-19 so this result has come as a shock. However, I am thankful that we have a strong team in place to help support the squad in person.”

The 16-player squad will quarantine for two weeks after arriving in New Zealand and will be tested prior to the series which is due to begin on October 28. 

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