You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Tough test for Black Sticks rookies

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/01/2017

Three rookies feature in a versatile Black Sticks women's hockey team to contest next month's six-Test series in Argentina.

Head coach Mark Hager has named three players who will make their New Zealand debuts in Buenos Aires - midfielders Stephanie Dickins and Tessa Jopp, and goalkeeper Grace O'Hanlon.

The series, which runs from February 10-22 , will be the Black Sticks' first competition of the year as the young squad builds towards the Women's World League Final in Auckland in November.

The team is led by experienced defender Stacey Michelsen, who has played 216 tests for world No.5 New Zealand.

She has plenty of seasoned support, with Sam Charlton, Liz Thompson, Rose Keddell, Olivia Merry and Ella Gunson all have played more than 100 games.

Hager says opening the year against the world No.3 Argentinians provides a great opportunity.

"This will be a fantastic tour for the group in their first international competition of 2017," he said.

"We have three debutantes and a lot talent who will be pushing for the additional five spots still up for grabs in the national squad.

"Following the Rio Olympics, it's a new era for us and it will be exciting for all these players to have a high quality hit-out ahead of a big year."

Black Sticks: Georgia Barnett, Sam Charlton, Michaela Curtis, Frances Davies, Stephanie Dickins, Natasha Fitzsimons, Erin Goad, Jordan Grant, Ella Gunson, Tessa Jopp, Rose Keddell, Rachel McCann, Olivia Merry, Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Neal, Grace O'Hanlon, Amy Robinson, Kelsey Smith, Phoebe Steele, Jenny Storey, Liz Thompson.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon