SEVERN Stars' captain Liana Leota has been added to England Netball's Vitality Roses coaching team alongside Sonia Mkoloma and Olivia Murphy, all of whom will join head coach Jess Thirlby.

Mkoloma has been appointed as the full-time Vitality Roses assistant coach, and both Murphy and Leota join as technical coaches.

As the countdown to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next summer begins, the appointments bring huge experience and netball DNA to the heart of the off-court team supporting the Vitality Roses as they look to repeat history on home soil.

Leota began her netball career in her native New Zealand and spent 13 years captaining numerous teams participating in the ANZ Championships. Her time with the Silver Ferns on the international stage ran alongside her club career in the Southern Hemisphere, having debuted back in 2003 for New Zealand U21s earning 41 caps.

Vitality Netball Superleague fans will know Leota well for her time representing Manchester Thunder before joining Severn Stars in 2019 where she is team captain.

Like Murphy, Leota will be providing technical and tactical support to the Roses players, to bring tactical plays to life on court and allow the team to challenge at the highest level. Murphy and Leota both take on technical coaching roles that will see them working with the team in camps and competitions in a part time capacity.

All three coaching additions are experienced medal-winners at multiple Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cups, they will all work with the Vitality Roses until post the 2023 Netball World Cup.

Jess Thirlby, Vitality Roses Head Coach, said: “If you know netball, you know Liv, Sonia and Liana. Their passion and collective experience from playing and coaching at the highest level over many years in multiple high-performance environments across the world will be a huge asset for the Roses as we prepare for Birmingham 2022.

“Liana is well known within the netball community and beyond as a World class athlete with huge knowledge of New Zealand having competed and won honours for them over a long period of time. I first met Liana when I went on a coaching placement to ANZ team Southern Steel and I played against her when she was a part of the Silver Ferns. It was clear then what an incredible athlete Liana was and how she inspired others too. She always wants to share her knowledge of the game and has been doing so for many years whilst still performing herself."

Liana Leota, Vitality Roses Technical Coach, added: “I am honoured to have the opportunity to be involved in international netball again and I am looking forward to working with one of the World’s best teams. My transition from player to coach is what excites me as does the challenge of working in an elite sporting environment and contributing to the growth of the Roses.”