22 Jan 2013

Black Sticks Women to play five tests against Argentina

6:46 pm on 22 January 2013

Eight players from the London Olympics and nine others from the Indian series in December have been named in the New Zealand women's hockey side to play five tests against Argetina in four weeks' time.

The Black Sticks coach Mark Hager says although his side had a convincing series win against India they will need to lift their game when they play number two ranked Argentina away from home.

He says the more international experience new players can get early on in an Olympic cycle, the better.

One key name missing from the side is co-captain Kayla Sharland who signalled she would take an indefinite break from hockey following last year's Olympics.

Sian Fremaux, Rose Keddell, Pippa Hayward, Olivia Merry, Cassandra Reid and Aniwaka Roberts are all players who debuted in the Indian series and have since made the side.

Olympians Sam Charlton, Gemma Flynn, Stacey Michelsen, Katie Glynn and Anita Punt have also been named.

Krystal Forgesson, Emily Naylor and goalkeeper Bianca Russell all return having had an extended break following the Olympics.

One final player will be announced once the squad has returned to training next week.

Argentina's silver medal winning team remain largely unchanged since the London Olympics, with seven time World Player of the Year Luciana Aymar likely to line up against the Black Sticks in February.

The Black Sticks leave for Argentina on the 21st February.