Early NZ World Cup clash ideal for Diamonds

THEY may have world No.2 New Zealand in their pool, but Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander (pictured) says she thinks the World Cup draw has worked out perfectly for her team.

Australia, unbeaten in its past 19 matches and overwhelming favourites to win its third consecutive World Cup, opens its title defence against the 10th-ranked Trinidad and Tobago in Sydney tonight.

That match will be followed by a clash with Barbados - ranked No.9 - tomorrow before the final Pool A game against the Kiwis on Sunday afternoon.

The top two teams in each of the four pools will then play three crossover finals each to decide which countries clash in the semi-finals next Saturday, with the winners meeting in Sunday week's grand final.

The Diamonds haven't lost a game this year, and Alexander said the first two matches were an ideal opportunity to mix-and-match the players to see which combinations might work best against the Tall Ferns.

"It's always intelligence and seeing those really subtle connections together, combinations that you're looking for as a coach, and whether things are just humming," she told reporters.

"It's kind of hard to describe it as a particular skill or tactic that you're looking for, but it's just that ability to know what's working for us. If there's some really good strong connection together, that might be what we need against New Zealand."

The tournament starts today with a match between Fiji and Wales at 9.50am.

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