Netball World Cup: Claire Maxwell says Scotland aiming for top eight

Scottish Thistles team talk
The Scottish Thistles start against Samoa on Friday
2019 Netball World Cup
Dates: 12-21 July Venue: M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
Coverage: Every match from 15 July onwards will be broadcast by the BBC. Live texts on Home Nations matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

Scotland need not worry about inspiring people at the Netball World Cup because their sport "will do the talking", says captain Claire Maxwell.

The Thistles are one of 16 nations playing in the tournament in Liverpool.

They will face Samoa on Friday's opening day of the competition, before meeting England and Uganda in their Group D preliminaries over the weekend.

"Our sport will show how fantastic it is and how fast, dynamic and strong our athletes are," Maxwell said.

"After Glasgow 2014, there was a big increase in participation numbers and I predict the same will come out of this."

Over the past few months, Scotland have risen to their highest ever ranking of seventh in the world.

Drawing England, the host nation, Commonwealth champions, and one of the tournament favourites, was unfortunate, but Maxwell is undeterred.

She sees no reason why the Scots cannot finish in the top three of their group and make an impact in the second stage.

"It's a tough draw but we're looking for a top-eight finish," the 30-year-old said.

"It's going to be amazing to be playing England with the atmosphere around the game because I think it sold out within 24 hours.

"We're absolutely buzzing to be here and we're just excited to take to the court and play some of the greatest athletes on the netball scene."

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'We've been playing as Scotland all season'

The 12-strong Scotland squad, led by Gail Parata, contains eight of the players that finished ninth in last year's Commonwealth Games.

And the entire group, with the exception of Glasgow Saltires' Lauren Tait, play their domestic netball for the Strathclyde Sirens in the Superleague.

Maxwell, who will claim her 100th cap on Merseyside, says that familiarity will be an advantage.

"We've been able to play pretty much as a Scotland team, so our combinations are really strong," she says.

"Our average age is only 24 so there's lots of young ones in there keeping us old ones young and we have a lot of fun.

"Ideal outcome is top eight and if we can cement that we'd be really happy. We've got a really tough draw so some must-win games in there which will be targeting."

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

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