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Batch tipped for Kookaburras job

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/12/2016

Black Sticks men's coach Colin Batch has resigned after four years in the position, Hockey New Zealand said on Tuesday.

And good friend Ernie Merrick, the Wellington Phoenix coach who stood down on Monday, says the former Australian international is taking over as head coach of the Kookaburras.

"It's coincidental, isn't it, that two or three positions changed," Merrick said at a media conference on Tuesday.

"I got a text from a friend of mine, Colin Batch, who's the Black Sticks national coach - he's resigned as well.

"He's taking over the Australian team, I believe.

"Maybe I've spoken out of turn. Was that common knowledge? Maybe he hasn't resigned yet."

Hockey New Zealand high performance director Terry Evans confirmed Batch's resignation.

"We wish Colin all the best and thank him for his dedication to the Black Sticks men's programme" Evans said.

"Colin has developed an international programme that will lead to success into the future."

A former Australian international, Batch has coached the Black Sticks for the past four years, taking over from Shane McLeod after the 2012 London Olympics.

He has also coached the Belgium men's team, and was assistant coach of Australian for eight years.

Under Batch, the Black Sticks won silver the 2014 World League Final and gold at last year's Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

This year, they won bronze at the Six Nations in Valencia, and at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

The Black Sticks were beaten 3-2 in the Rio Olympics quarter-finals by Germany, while Australia were downed 4-0 by the Netherlands at the same stage.

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