Welsh Netball is pleased to announce that it has appointed Sara Hale as Wales Head Coach.

Hale has been working with the squad since joining the Welsh senior team coaching staff as Assistant Coach back in October 2018. In that time, she has helped guide Wales through seven successive international test matches without loss. This also includes winning a silver medal at the 2019 Netball Europe Open Championship in Belfast.

Following Netball Europe, Hale was integral to the selection process for the current 2019/20 Wales senior long squad. She then shortly thereafter led preparations for Wales’ training matches against New Zealand and South Africa which took place prior to the Vitality Nations Cup in January.

Prior to coaching, Hale earned 87 senior caps for Wales. She represented her country at two Commonwealth Games: Manchester (2002) and Melbourne (2006) as well as at three World Championships: Jamaica (2003), New Zealand (2007) and Singapore (2011) where she captained the side.

Hale also played for Celtic Dragons from 2005 to 2013, leading the franchise to the 2013 Superleague Grand Final. Moreover, she won the Superleague title with Manchester Thunder in 2014 before retiring from playing and moving straight into a coaching role as an assistant coach at the franchise, until 2018. She has also worked under former England head coach Tracey Neville as an assistant coach for the England Netball Roses.

Hale shared her thoughts regarding her appointment as Wales Head Coach. She said:

“I am honoured to be appointed as Wales Head Coach, having the opportunity to lead your country is the pinnacle of any coach’s career.

“It’s been an ambition of mine for a long time, and I am thrilled to be able to make the dream a reality. I am looking forward to working with this exciting, dedicated group of athletes, and leading them through the next stage of their development ahead of the Commonwealth Games and Word Cup.”

Sarah Jones, Wales Netball CEO said: “We are thrilled to have appointed someone of the quality and calibre of Sara.

“Sara enjoyed a distinguished playing career in elite international netball and demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities during her time on court. As a coach, she has worked with and learned from the very best and her work with the squad has already yielded some fantastic results with Wales storming back into the world’s Top 10 ranked netball nations.

“To have a successful Welshwoman of such extraordinary talent in charge of the Wales senior team is a source of enormous pride for the National Governing Body, our athletes, members and public. We are confident that Sara, her fellow management team and our players will be enjoying even further success as we move into a critical year, with qualification for Birmingham 2022 on the horizon.”

With many of the Wales senior squad athletes returning to Vitality Netball Superleague duties over the coming months, Hale and the rest of the Wales management team will continue to work with other squad members. The full Welsh squad will return to training later in the year with preparation for the 2020 Netball Europe Open Championships on the horizon.

Sara Hale, one of Wales’ most distinguished netballers, has now taken the reins as Head Coach of her country – © www.sportingwales.com- Ian Cook