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New coach named for Black Sticks men

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/02/2017

Former New Zealand international Darren Smith has been named new head coach of the Black Sticks men's hockey team.

Smith, who played 212 tests for New Zealand between 1995 and 2006, takes over the role from Colin Batch, who left late last year to coach the Australian men's team.

Smith was assistant coach of the Black Sticks men from 2007 to 2012 before leading the Ireland women's programme as head coach until 2015.

His most recent role was as high-performance director at Softball New Zealand.

Smith said he was "absolutely thrilled" to be taking over at the head of the Black Sticks.

"It's been something I've thought about for 20 odd years, and a lot of my life choices have been moulded towards one day being in this role," he said.

"The Blacks Sticks programme is something I'm hugely passionate about and I think it's in great shape with plenty of potential to do even better.

"I'm really looking forward to getting in and spending time with the players, getting a depth of knowledge within the programme, and getting started on the pitch."

Smith begins his role next week, with his main focus the World League semi-finals in Johannesburg in July, which serve as a dual qualification event for the World League Final as well as next year's Hockey World Cup.

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