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Langman reaches new heights for Silver Ferns

Published: 7:06PM Tuesday September 18, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

As the plaudits for All Blacks captain Richie McCaw reach fever pitch, netball's own warrior is superseding all before her in New Zealand's fairer sport.

Silver Ferns centre and stand-in captain Laura Langman has raised her game to a new level in the absence of retired stalwart Temepara George.

The personification of patience and durability, Langman has now played 81 consecutive Tests and was the driving force behind her team's upset win over Australia in Melbourne on Sunday.

"I'm not sure I can put it in context," coach Wai Taumaunu explains. "One would have thought there would have been times when you would have given her a break.

"Some of those 81 Tests include lesser games at World Championships and that sort of thing, yet Laura has been on every single game.

"I'm not aware that anybody else has done that. I'm not aware that in the modern age anyone has been physically capable of doing that in terms of being injury free and healthy and for all those reasons she really is a marvel."

What is even more remarkable is that Australia openly targeted her as a marked woman before the first Test of the Constellation series.

But Langman, ever the team player, naturally passed on the praise to the personnel that surrounds her.

"When it comes to Aussie-New Zealand clashes there is strength throughout the court so really from my point of view I take that as they are focusing on our unit," Langman said.

"Essentially what wins matches is how well those units work but - thank-you - it's great that our attacking unit is working and we like to keep it that way."

With usual captain Casey Williams still struggling with a knee injury ahead of the second Test in Auckland on Thursday night, Langman will likely wear the captain's arm band.

"I think what is great especially in our group, and I really was fortunate at Magic as well, is we've got 12 leaders," she said.

"So I'm temporarily taking over the reins until our captain fantastic is at full strength but it is a great group and it is honouring to be able to lead them out for a Test series and to get a win. I don't feel pressure at all, if anything I will just go back to process and just want to do my job."

As the burden on the 26-year-old only increases on her narrow shoulders, her coach knows she can rise to the challenge.

"Laura rises to everyone's expectations," she said. "I think she has had a wonderful ANZ Championship and I was asked prior to the series if was asking much of her and my response was no - I'm asking what Laura is more than capable of doing and as the expectations on her rise, Laura rises to them."

And with her legend rising, don't be surprised if she leads New Zealand to their first ever Constellation Cup series win.