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Pressure ramps up on Black Sticks

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/05/2016

Blacks Sticks coach Mark Hager wants to see his team deliver under pressure at the women's International Hockey Open in Darwin later this month.

Ranked fourth in the world, New Zealand will take on No.3 Australia, 10th-ranked Japan and world No.13 India in the five-day tournament.

Hager said the Darwin games provided a great opportunity to give players game time and acclimatisation to warm weather in the lead-up to the Rio Olympics.

"Darwin gives us the chances to continue looking at players and how they perform during high intensity games," he said.

"We see the series as a valuable and critical part of our build up to the Champions Trophy and also Rio."

Hager has named an 18-strong squad to travel to Darwin, with strikers Petrea Webster and Kirsten Pearce returning after injury.

New Zealand open their campaign against India on May 31, and Hager expects to name his squad for the Champions Trophy in London on June 18-26 at the end of the Darwin tournament.

Black Sticks women: Georgia Barnett, Sam Charlton, Sophie Cocks, Emily Gaddum, Amelia Gibson, Ella Gunson, Charlotte Harrison, Pippa Hayward, Rose Keddell, Julia King, Rachel McCann, Olivia Merry, Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Neal, Kirsten Pearce, Anita Punt, Liz Thompson, Petrea Webster.

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