Black Sticks Anna Thorpe and Jan Burrows have announced their retirement from the New Zealand women's hockey team, with both saying it is one of the most difficult decisions they've ever had to make.
With just six months before the London Olympics, coach Mark Hager says the maturity and strong training ethos that Thorpe and Burrows brought to the side will be sorely missed by the team.
With 55 Test caps to her name, the 27-year-old Thorpe has been in the team that won the 2009 FIH Champions Challenge, at the 2010 Commonwealth Games when they brought home silver, and last year was a key player in the 2011 FIH Champions Trophy team that claimed the bronze.
The 28-year-old Burrows felt that having missed selection for this year's FIH Champions Trophy, it was going to be a tough road to break into the 16-player Olympic side.
The retirement of the duo, has given Petrea Webster (23) and Melody Cooper (28) the opportunity to join the 2012 National Squad and be given a shot at Olympic selection.
The Black Sticks are preparing to take on the world's best at the FIH Champions Trophy starting next week in Argentina.