T&T captain Rhonda John-Davis knows all too well that she and her fellow "Calypso Girls" face an uphill task when they open against South Africa tomorrow in the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England.
Following an intense weekend of warmup matches during the Wales Summer Test Series in Cardiff, the players have been using this week to correct and improve on their game, specifically on defence.
The 10th-ranked T&T played three practice matches against two teams ranked higher than them on the International Netball Federation (INF) world rankings, including Northern Ireland (8th) and Malawi (9th) and also tangled with hosts Wales (12th).
"Our experience in Wales thought us to be more team-oriented on defence instead of the one-on-one (defence). This will help us in slowing the opponent's ball," John-Davis told Guardian Media yesterday.
"We definitely learned what to expect in terms of the physicality. We have to find a way to adjust. They're restricting our movements so we have to find a way to restrict them.
"On attack, we've learned is to be more supportive of each other because of the type of physicality that is being played from the UK teams. We learned that that extra support is needed in order to ensure that our ball gets to the circle."
In the warmups, T&T first drew 49-49 with Northern Ireland, then went under to the Welsh 72-64 before falling to Malawi 53-52 at the Sport Wales National Centre.
Commenting on the experience gained from these matches, John-Davis said, "My teammates and I really appreciated the opportunity. This experience was needed going into the World Cup. These games gave us the opportunity to improve our rankings also to assess the teams and umpires from other regions, especially the UK region."
John-Davis, who will be making history by competing in her sixth World Cup, said she will be aiming to lead the Wesley "Pepe" Gomes team to victory against a tough South African unit, who in two of their warmup matches versus Wales won in dominating fashion 84-32 and 79-44 respectively.
She said, "Part of my job as a captain is to constantly remind my teammates about the importance of team support on attack and defence, as we saw it is needed to be able to counteract the South Africans' style of play."
It will get not get any easier for the "Calypso Girls" as the World Cup progresses either, as they will next face Jamaica in their second preliminary round match in Group C on Saturday. The "Sunshine Girls" are ranked second in the world. In the final first-round match on Sunday, T&T plays 17th-ranked Fiji.