29 Oct 2013

Sport: Samoa Hockey keen to test themselves against best

12:30 pm on 29 October 2013

The Samoa Hockey Federation says this week's Oceania Cup tournament in New Zealand is a chance to see how far the sport has developed.

In a country where rugby dominates, Samoa recently surpassed 1000 active hockey players.

The national men's and women's team will compete in Taranaki from Wednesday against New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea, with the top two finishers qualifying for next year's World Cup in the Netherlands.

The President of the Samoan Federation, and national men's coach, Taiva Ah Young, says this week is something of a litmus test.

"We've only developed hockey in the last five years since 2008 so we've been sending out a lot of national players and development players and this team is about the best team that we could field so far. It's really a challenge for us playing against Australia and New Zealand because it's going to really gauge the skills level that we are and where we're at so it's really very exciting for us to know where we are in terms of competing with the world number one and the world number five."

The Samoa men's team play Australia first up on Wednesday with the women taking on Papua New Guinea in the second match of the day.