Wood inspires Diamonds to Quad win over NZ

Steph Wood has shone for Australia's Diamonds with an inspired shooting display helping them down world champions New Zealand and power into the final of the Netball Quad Series in Cape Town.

Wood had been frustrated by what she felt was a sub-par display by her standards in the opening win against England but the goal attack channelled her annoyance on Sunday (Monday AEDT), with her fleet distribution and fourth-quarter long shots proving key to Australia's 59-57 victory.

With a perfect record after two games, coach Stacey Marinkovich's team were delighted to seal their place in Wednesday's (Thursday AEDT) final with a game to spare as they go for a seventh triumph in eight editions of the four-team event.

They next play hosts South Africa on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT), while the winners between New Zealand and England will likely battle it out with the Diamonds in the showdown.

The South Africa-England match had earlier ended 46-46 after an astonishing finale in which the hosts, down to just six players after having goal keeper Phumza Maweni sent off, somehow managed to eke out a wholly unlikely draw.

If Australia land a final rematch with the Silver Ferns, it promises to be another close affair after the world's leading two sides - who'd won two matches apiece in October's Constellation Cup - again proved hard to separate in a tough, physical encounter at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Just as against England, when they came back from a nine-goal deficit, slow-starting Australia had to show their mettle against their trans-Tasman rivals when slipping behind by eight soon after the start of the second quarter.

They narrowed the deficit to 29-28 down by halftime and then edged into a 44-43 lead going into the final quarter thanks to a late third-quarter strike from their on-song goal shooter Cara Koenen.

Then Wood, who also provided 25 feeds, began to shoot with deadly accuracy from distance to constantly keep the scoreboard pressure on the Ferns, who found it increasingly hard to puncture the Courtney Bruce-led defence.

Ending with 21 goals from 24 attempts, the 31-year-old star's excellent movement particularly caused problems for the towering but less mobile New Zealand defender Kelly Jury, who'd been thrust into the final-quarter fray.

"I was a bit disappointed with my shooting against England," Wood said afterwards.

"Sometimes, people say I look a bit angry, so I took some of that (anger) and just tried to put out a good performance."

Australia stretched out their lead to five and though the Silver Ferns made a late charge to get the score to within two with a minute left, the excellent Koenen sank her 38th goal out of 40 attempts - a 95 per cent success rate - to seal the win.

"It was a step up from the England match. We wanted to put more out there and we did it for a solid part of that game, but we're still working towards doing it for 60 minutes," added Wood, who was praised for her "amazing game in the shooting circle" by captain Liz Watson.

"It's always a grind against New Zealand. I was really proud we were able to stick at it and when the game opened up a bit at the end, were able to take it on," said Watson.

"But the slow start seems to be a bit of a problem at the moment, it's something we have to work on. Hopefully in the next round, we can iron it out."