HAMPSHIRE Cricket marketing boss Neil Rider will be the England team manager at the forthcoming Womens World Cup in South Africa.

Rider, who is an ECB Level 3 coach, has been involved with the England team for four years and he's confident his charges will make an impression in the eight-nation tournament, which begins on March 22.

Rider, pictured, who doubles up as assistant coach to former Notts spinner Richard Bates, reckons England will reach the semi-finals and be "lively outsiders" behind Australia and New Zealand in the two-week competition being staged in South Africa's northern provinces.

"The England women's team has improved tremendously since the 2001 whitewash by Australia," said Rider.

"Since then, they've twice beaten South Africa and, last summer, the World champions New Zealand, so confidence is pretty high.

"We've drawn Australia in the first of the seven round-robin tournament matches and, if we can beate them, who knows what can be achieved.

Australia, Sri Lanka, Ireland, India, New Zealand, the West Indies and the host nation are England's opponents in the competition.