NEW Zealander Melissa Bessell is the new Severn Stars head coach.

Bessell will start her new role in September after taking over from Sam Bird who moved on at the end of last season.

She is to lead the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire co-owned team for the first time at October's British Fast5 All-Stars Championships.

Bessell, whose coaching career spans more than 30 years, told Stars fans they could expect a side that would be “dynamic, disciplined and fit with a smile”.  She said: “I am hyper-excited to be taking on this role.

"Stars have done a fantastic job in the Vitality Superleague since their inception and I am thrilled to be working with them.

"I’ve been out of the league in a head coaching role for a few years now and the time was right.

"Working with a young, exciting franchise while having the support of the University of Worcester and the University of Gloucestershire was a no-brainer.

“My ambition for the coming season is to build a new culture and play some dynamic netball while putting out some top-class performances.

“They are a very talented, exciting group of athletes and I cannot wait to work with them, especially with the blend of some new faces to the franchise for this season.

“I am looking forward to walking out at the first home game with the new team and the Stars supporters. There is nothing better than the home fans’ support.”

Bessell played for New Zealand Maoris and started coaching through the age groups of the national side in New Zealand who won the world cup against Australia in Liverpool at the weekend.

She eventually coached the New Zealand Maori national team and then Fiji for two years before leading Wales from 19th to eighth in the world over four years while gaining Commonwealth Games qualification and gold at Netball Europe.  Bessell also coached Celtic Dragons in the Vitality Netball Superleague, guiding them to their first grand final in 2013.

She became director of netball for Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate near York, winning the National Schools Championship.

Bessell, whose maiden name is Hyndman, will continue as head coach of amateur side NW Panthers in Chester.

She has also been assistant coach at Team Northumbria in the 2017-2018 campaign and at London Pulse last season.

Stars co-director of netball Anita Navin said: “A key priority in the recruitment process was to appoint a coach who had a strong tactical profile and I am thrilled we have secured Melissa.

"Her ability to develop individual players into a successful team has been confirmed on many occasions at performance level.

"I am confident she will bring a game style fitting to take Stars to the next level in the quest to be challenging the top four teams.  "Melissa also has a passion to develop local potential and with interaction and engagement in the pathway we will no doubt see a more competitive performance all-round.”