A friend indeed
Leana de Bruin, a former Silver Fern who will play for Adelaide next year, is a commentator for this month’s Constellation Cup. She arrived in NZ from South Africa to play for the Ferns in 2001, aged 23. Here, she’s pictured with Bernice Mene, on a Stewar
“I must confess I had to put a brave face on, being the new kid on the block from South Africa. My English wasn’t the greatest and I was shy.
In 1999, the World Champs was played in Christchurch and I played for South Africa then. They chose a world sevens team to play against New Zealand in 2000. Our manager for that team was one of the ladies in Invercargill. She asked if I’d like to come and play for a season. I was like, “Oh why not?”
I had no idea what Invercargill was like. My brother’s a pilot in South Africa and his co-worker was from New Zealand. When I told him I was going to Invercargill, he looked at me like, “What have you done!”
Netball in South Africa wasn’t very good and I thought it was a great opportunity to come and learn from the Kiwis. I was nervous, I’m not going to lie about that. Being put into a team with legends like Bernice and Lesley Nichol, and Donna Loffhagen, and Adine Wilson - those are big names I’d looked up to and then, I was in their team... but they were awesome - Kiwis are just so amazing for making you feel welcome.
I find Kiwis talk really fast. So I had to listen really carefully. But it wasn’t so bad because at the end of the day all I needed to understand in English on the netball court is netball terms, which wasn’t a problem. It was more in the day-to-day conversations, the confidence thing was a barrier.
We only played one season together but what I do really remember about Bernice is her laugh - she’s got a really contagious laugh. She was real down-to-earth; she was an idol for lots of people and an amazing player but she didn’t let that go to her head; she was humble and easy to talk to. She was the one who really explained stuff to me. She didn’t get frustrated, she was willing to help.
The challenging thing for me last year when I did commentating for the first time was, I’d just got out of the team, and I had to talk about my teammates. It does make it challenging to commentate when things aren’t going right. But at the end of the day, I’ve got a different hat on now and that’s kind of how I see it. I told them: “Just play well, then I don’t have to say bad things about you.” Easy. Britt Mann
The Constellation Cup screens on SKY Sport 3 on October 8 at 2pm, and on SKY Sport 2 on October 11 at 9.30pm, and on October 14 at 5pm.
2Deep sleep pillow spray, thisworks, RRP $33 for 75ml Made with essential oils lavender, vetivert and wild chamomile, a few spritzes on your pillow before lights out will promote a calm night’s sleep.
3Sleep pulse point, The Aromatherapy Co., RRP $16,15ml Lavender and chamomile mix in a grapeseed oil base. Calm yourself with a circle applied to the temples, with your eyes closed as you lay down to rest.