28 November 2019

'I always said to myself if I ever got a gold medal, I’d just retire' says England netball star Jade Clarke

England netball player Jade Clarke will lead an inexperienced Roses side for a three-match test series against South Africa this weekend. 

While some thought the 36-year-old may be coming to the final stages of her career, she insists she has no intention of hanging up the red dress.

It took 16 years for Clarke to achieve her ultimate goal when England beat Australia at the Commonwealth Games last year. 

"I'm just going to keep going until they tell me not to," she said.

"I always said to myself that if I ever got a gold medal, I’d just retire, but after we won at the Commonwealth Games I still wanted to carry on.

"I realised it wasn't all about winning, but it's about the journey you're on with the England girls."

Clarke is the Roses most capped player ever with 169 appearances and has been playing for her country since 2002.

She was also part of the bronze medal winning World Cup team in Liverpool this summer, and will continue riding that wave by leading the team against South Africa.

The series will be the first time the team will play under new coach Jess Thirlby after Tracey Neville left following England's World Cup campaign. 

"Going to Cape Town and trying to beat South Africa at their home will be good practice for us ahead of the next edition of the World Cup in 2023," Clarke added.

"Even though we beat them twice at the World Cup, they really put a stake in the ground. They wanted the world to take them seriously as gold medal competitors. 

"Unlike us, they've retained a lot of their summer players for the series so will no doubt be very settled, but it will be up to us to rise to the challenge."

England will open the test series against South Africa on Friday, November 29, with the final match being played on Sunday.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox