14 Oct 2015

Black Sticks women named for Oceania Cup

1:54 pm on 14 October 2015

The New Zealand women's hockey team has been named to compete at the Oceania Cup in Stratford next week.

Black Sticks captain Anita Punt

Black Sticks captain Anita Punt Photo: Photosport

The Black Sticks women and men will take on Australia, Fiji and Samoa for the Oceania Cup in the Taranaki town from October 21st to 25th, with continental titles on the line.

The tournament doubles as an Olympic qualifier and despite both the New Zealand and Australia women having already qualified, valuable world ranking points are on the line.

The Black Sticks women are fresh off their South Island tour where they drew the series 2-2 with world No.3 Argentina.

Several key names return to the mix after missing the recent series, including influential midfielder Stacey Michelsen, goalkeeper Sally Rutherford, National Hockey League MVP Brooke Neal, Ella Gunson and Jordan Grant.

Auckland striker Charlotte Harrison and North Harbour defender Kat Henry have both earned a place in the side based on their recent performances.

Emily Naylor was ruled out through injury, while Kayla Whitelock is not quite back at full fitness and Gemma Flynn is unavailable for personal reasons.

Head coach Mark Hager said it was a strong group brimming with speed, and the tournament was the perfect way to continue preparations for December's FIH World League Final in Rosario, Argentina.

"This is a critical tournament for us - we need to perform well and make sure we achieve our targets and secure world ranking points," Hager said.

"We've named the strongest team we have based on form and availability, with all these players having performed well during the Ford National Hockey League and Argentina series.

"It's a great opportunity for us to view players on the international stage in preparation for the World League Final, which is just two months away."

Meanwhile, the Oceania Cup is all or nothing for the Black Sticks men, who need to beat world champions Australia and win the tournament to book a spot at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Head coach Colin Batch will name his team on Thursday.

New Zealand women's hockey team for Oceania Cup, 21-25 October:


Sam Charlton Midlands Defender/Midfielder 23 144

Sophie Cocks Canterbury Striker/Midfielder 21 73

Amelia Gibson Auckland Goalkeeper 24 43

Jordan Grant Canterbury Midfielder/Striker 24 55

Ella Gunson Northland Midfielder/Defender 26 121

Pippa Hayward Canterbury Defender/Midfielder 25 76

Charlotte Harrison Auckland Striker 26 186

Kat Henry North Harbour Defender 24 25

Rose Keddell Midlands Defender/Midfielder 21 95

Julia King Auckland Midfielder/Striker 22 90

Olivia Merry Canterbury Striker 23 100

Stacey Michelsen Northland Midfielder/Defender 24 180

Brooke Neal Northland Defender 23 57

Kirsten Pearce North Harbour Striker 24 24

Anita Punt (Captain) Capital Midfielder 28 213

Sally Rutherford Midlands Goalkeeper 34 96

Liz Thompson Auckland Defender 20 83

Petrea Webster North Harbour Striker/Midfielder 27 119