Hosts Scotland will take on Northern Ireland and Wales for the qualifying spots for next year's World Cup in England ©INF

Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are set to contest to become the first two teams to qualify for the Netball World Cup 2019 when they meet at the Regional Qualifier - Europe in Perth.

Hosts England have qualified for next year's event in Liverpool so the three teams will be competing at the Perth College UHI to secure the two qualifying places available for the International Netball Federation Europe region.

The round robin tournament is due to begin tournament when hosts Scotland meet Wales.

That will be followed on Saturday (January 20) when Wales play Northern Ireland.

Then on Sunday (January 21) Scotland will play Northern Ireland. 

The Scotland squad will feature a blend of youth and experience, an exciting prospect for captain Claire Brownie, who believes the team - known as the Scottish Thistles - is in a good position going into the tournament.

"Our preparation going into the tournament has been the best it’s ever been." Brownie said 

"We’re working hard to ensure we do everything possible to be ready to compete and win both our games."

Having been in the Scotland squad that missed out on qualification for the 2011 World Cup in Singapore, Brownie knows the stakes are high in an event that will also be an important part of all three countries preparations for this year's Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast. 

Scottish Thistles captain Claire Brownie is hoping to lead her team to qualification for next year's World Cup ©Getty Images
Scottish Thistles captain Claire Brownie is hoping to lead her team to qualification for next year's World Cup ©Getty Images

"There’s no doubt it’s going to be a close tournament," she said.

"All three countries deserve to be at the Netball World Cup but it will depend on which teams play their best netball on the day. The level of netball in the region has never been higher, so we have an incredibly tough weekend ahead of us, but I am confident the Thistles will qualify."

After finishing second to England at the Netball Europe Open Championships last October, Northern Ireland head into the qualifier as the highest ranked of the three teams. 

Executive manager Karen Rollo admitted, though, that being ranked eighth in the world is no guarantee of success. 

"The World Cup qualifier is a massive event for us," she said. 

"Having narrowly missed out on the last World Cup, we know the impact this can have both on our performance opportunities and financially.

"The squad are ready and while qualification from the European region is extremely difficult with all three countries being within the top 11 rankings, I am confident the squad will deliver in Perth and be part of what will be an amazing event in Liverpool 2019."

Wales' coach Tracey Wilcox is predicting a close tournament.

"These matches are must wins for us with all three countries so evenly matched we are looking forward to three closely contested test matches," she said.