England cancels netball tour to Australia

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England have cancelled their planned three-Test netball series in Australia next month citing the ongoing impact of coronavirus restrictions.

England are currently in New Zealand, having completed a 2-1 series victory there, but say talks aimed at securing the continuation of the tour to Australia had proved unsuccessful.

England Netball said in a statement: "A planned international test series between the Vitality Roses and the Australian Diamonds is unable to go ahead due to the evolving Covid-19 restrictions in Australia, and the implications of Government regulations relating to travel and quarantine.

"The Vitality Roses, who are currently in New Zealand following their series victory against the Silver Ferns, were due to travel on to Australia to compete in a further three fixtures in October.

"However, despite huge efforts behind the scenes by Netball Australia and England Netball to navigate the evolving Covid-19 restrictions in Australia and make the series possible, the Vitality Roses will instead return home from New Zealand in the coming days."

Australia's quarantine requirements, already some of the toughest in the world, increased in the wake of the team's departure for New Zealand, raising concerns over player welfare as well as practical aspects such as training.

England Netball performance director David Parson said: "The athletes, performance team and everyone at England Netball are extremely disappointed that this series is not able to go ahead.

"Everyone had been so excited about the opportunity to take on the Diamonds and demonstrate the progress that we've been making as a team."

England's cricket team are expected to learn imminently of the quarantine requirements that will be imposed during the upcoming Ashes series, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warning of "no special deals" for visiting sports stars.

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