England series in Australia called off

England were set to face Australia following a series win over New Zealand

England’s netball Test series in Australia has been called off because of “the evolving Covid-19 restrictions” in the host country.

“To get to this stage and not be able to complete the Australian leg is very saddening,” said England Netball performance director David Parsons.

England’s players will return home in the “coming days” from New Zealand.

The dates and venues for the games in Australia had yet to be confirmed as England Netball and Netball Australia worked to organise the series.

“Since departing from England for the New Zealand leg of the tour, border restrictions have changed in Australia with an extended length of quarantine introduced, significantly limited opportunities to train and prepare for international competition, and stricter conditions now in place that compromise player welfare,” said England Netball.

There were also some Roses players in Australia waiting to join up with their England team-mates when they arrived from New Zealand.

“We will now look ahead to reuniting those players back home and preparing as one playing group for the series against Jamaica on home soil in November and December as we continue our journey to Birmingham 2022 (the Commonwealth Games),” added Parsons.

Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had asked his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison to allow the families of England’s cricketers to bypass the country’s strict Covid-19 travel protocols so they could travel to this winter’s men’s Ashes series.

Some England players have been considering pulling out of the tour, which starts in December, because of the tight restrictions and the amount of time they would have to spend away from their families.

However, Morrison said there would be “no special deals”.

Australia plans to ease restrictions once 80% of adults are vaccinated. Morrison said that figure will reach 50% this week.

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