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Netball: London Pulse look to silence Sirens in Superleague opener

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 February 2020

Olivia Tchine in action for London Pulse (Pic: Marc Morris)

Olivia Tchine in action for London Pulse (Pic: Marc Morris)

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London Pulse begin the new Superleague campaign with a trip to Arena Birmingham to face Strathclyde Sirens on Saturday.

Having endured a challenging debut season, which ended with Pulse winning just two of their 16 games, fans will be hoping the many changes made to the squad and coaching staff will be the spark that ignites a successful second season.

Samantha Bird has joined as Director of Netball, having left her role as head coach of the Severn Stars at the end of last season, and Pulse fans can get excited by the wealth of experience Bird will bring to the position.

Having coached in the Superleague since its inception, after a successful playing career which saw her represent England at every age group, Bird revealed her ambitious plans for the club ahead of the new season.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Bird said: "We [CEO Natalie Seaton and I] are very keen for London Pulse to be one of the best clubs in the country.

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"That's tough when you're a new club, so it's really important that you recruit the right type of personnel - players who are going to take that ambition on."

Bird has wasted no time in making wholesale changes to last season's squad, with only Chiara Semple and Olivia Tchine retaining their places from 2019.

Fans will be particularly excited to see South African international Sigrid Burger at the Copper Box, as the shooter joins Pulse from Surrey Storm, where she played the previous two seasons and showed unnerving accuracy under the net.

Other eye-catching additions include former Saracens Maverick pair Michelle Drayne and Lindsay Keable, as Drayne brings an abundance of experience in mid-court, while Keable adds much-needed solidity to the defensive unit.

Bird also outlined her vision for Pulse and told fans to expect an "exciting" team, adding: "It's really important for London Pulse to have a really strong culture and philosophy about women being proud to play sport in London and having really good role models in London.

"Pulse reflects London in that it's a very diverse team. We want to be a very exciting team, we want to play with a lot of style but be driven about performance."

Saturday's fixture will pair two of last season's strugglers with Sirens only managing three wins last season and both will see it as the ideal opportunity to start the 2020 campaign with a victory.

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