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BLACK STICKS MEN-NEWS

Black Sticks Men name side for winner takes all Tokyo qualification series

  Darren Smith has named his strongest side possible to contest the winner takes all Olympic Qualification event in Stratford starting on November 2nd where the New Zealand Men will take on the World Number 16 ranked Korea.   Vantage Black Sticks Men’s Coach Darren Smith commented on the teams’ preparation “It was a very valuable 9 days together playing Japan at the venue of the Olympic Qualifier. Japan proved to be tough opponents and to get the opportunity to match up against a quick/aggressive team was ideal preparation”.   On the challenges that the selection of the squad Smith said “The selection was tough with some players who have vast experience missing out. Once we analysed the Pro League, Olympic Test Event, Oceania Cup and the recent series we feel that this is the best 18 that can perform against Korea in two weeks’ time”   “Steve Edwards, Leon Hayward Simon Child and Dylan Thomas who were added to the team following the Oceania Cup have all been selected for the Korea series. Especially pleasing was Simon and Steve who return after long absences to get stronger and stronger through the four games against Japan”   “Over the next two weeks, we will see fixtures throughout the world where teams will be matching up for Qualification. With this comes pressure and how we manage the moments in the game and deal with the times of consequence that will come our way will decide who will be in the starting blocks at Tokyo. We need to be prepared and ready to win those moments.”   The side will now turn their attention to the Koreans “They have been preparing for these games for over a year. Returning to their squad is a number of players who are proven internationals and over 2019 they have had success at the Azlan Shah, World Series and in their test series that they have played. This is a dangerous team who will be highly motivated to get the Olympic ticket but so are we.   Kane Russell has been in outstanding form in 2019 for the New Zealand side. Russell has played in 20 matches this year and scored 10 goals. Not only has Russell been in impressive form with his drag flicks, his play at right half has been electric for the side as he has been putting opposition defences under a lot of pressure with his great acceleration and stick skills.   Since the start of August, the Vantage Black Sticks Men have been in great form having a record of 6 wins, 4 losses and a draw. The New Zealand side has been playing with more confidence and aggression on the attacking end of the field and this has been reflected in some outstanding results against some quality opposition.   New Zealand and Korea haven’t met since 2016 where New Zealand would go on to win their four-match test series 2-0. Stephen Jenness would go onto finish that series as the leading goal scorer with four goals for the series. Eight of the Black Sticks squad from the 2016 series return and will be counting on that experience to help them against a Korean side who is incredibly dangerous.   Jihun Yang is a great penalty corner flicker and is no stranger to scoring against the New Zealand team. In the four matches that yang has played the New Zealand side, he has managed to find the back of the net four times. Look for the New Zealand penalty corner runners to shut down his flicking lanes and attempting to nullify his opportunities.  
       
  Tickets for the Olympic Qualification matches can be purchased from Dash Tickets. All matches will be live-streamed on Spark Sport   Schedule
Saturday 2nd November – 3:10 pm Sunday 3rd November – 3:10 pm  
Media Accreditation 
  Please see the attached form for Media Accreditation for the Olympic Qualification series. I will have the forms at the qualification series to be completed on the day. If you are after accreditation for the series then please email through to [email protected]  

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