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FIH PRO LEAGUE-Spain and USA look to shock the Kiwis on their home turf

Spain and USA look to shock the Kiwis on their home turf
  Media Information – During the FIH Hockey Pro League for all Media interviews with the Vantage Black Sticks Teams please contact through to Matthew Williams on 022 063 5705.

Media Availability Darren Smith is available for interviews on Thursday 13th Feb 9:30 – 11:30 am
George Enersen is available for interviews on Thursday 13th Feb 11:00 – Midday   The Vantage Black Sticks Women are unable for interviews except on request this week.    Please see below the link for the Media Kit, Free Use Photos, Highlights and Accreditation for the Matches.   Accreditation
Media Kit
Highlights
Photos  
  Vantage Black Sticks Women vs USA, Saturday, February 15th at 5:10 pm – Nga Puna Wai Christchurch   Georgia Barnett, Grace O’Hanlon, Megan Hull, Fran Davies, Julia King, Brooke Neal, Tayla White, Ella Gunson, Tarryn Davey, Rose Keddell, Stacey Michelsen ©, Holly Pearson, Kelsey Smith, Katie Doar, Gemma McCaw, Olivia Shannon, Olivia Merry, Kaitlin Cotter, Hope Ralph, Alia Jaques *Two to be omitted
In what has been a tough week for the Vantage Black Sticks Women after dealing with the loss of their long-time strength and conditioning coach, the Kiwis will look to regroup as they aim to put together a complete performance on the turf in their fifth FIH Hockey Pro League Match of 2020.

The Kiwis have been bolstered by three vastly experienced players in midfielders Kelsey Smith and Rose Keddell and star goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon. All three players will be called upon to make significant contributions against a USA team that pose plenty of attacking firepower.

Both sides look to play an attacking brand of hockey which is reflected in the 19 matches that these two sides have played since 2013 the goal average is 3.57 per game. New Zealand will be looking to their two Olivias in their strike line, between them the two strikers have now scored six goals in the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League. Olivia Shannon got her first international goal against Great Britain on Sunday and will be looking to play with confidence against the Americans.

The first few rounds have been tough in the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League for the USA; the side is languishing at the bottom of the Pro League table after having failed to secure a point in their opening three matches. The Americans will be hoping that a change in scenery brings a change in fortunes when the two teams met in 2019, the Kiwis managed to come away the victors but were significantly tested by the American side.

Black Sticks coach Graham Shaw reflected after the Great Britain matches “We have some tired bodies in our side after an arduous 14 day period of matches against India, Great Britain and Belgium. The USA are a good side that likes to play an attacking brand of hockey. We are going to have to be organised and well-structured to be able to get the result we are after”.  
  Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Spain, Saturday, February 15th at 7:40 pm – Nga Puna Wai, Christchurch
George Enersen, Leon Hayward, David Brydon, Blair Tarrant, Cory Bennett, Kane Russell, Dane Lett, Dwayne Rowsell, Brad Read, Nic Woods, Nick Ross, Steve Edwards, Xavier Guy, Jared Panchia, George Connell, George Muir, Dylan Thomas, Stephen Jenness, Sam Lane, Jacob Smith *Two to be omitted
Saturday saw the New Zealand Men earn their first victory of the FIH Hockey Pro League. Against a tough Spanish side, they will be looking to play with the same attacking intent that was on display in an outstanding performance against Great Britain. After finding themselves on the wrong side of the ledger, the Kiwis were led by some excellent goalkeeping from Richard Joyce as they took out the match 4-1 in the penalty shootout.

Spain and New Zealand are traditionally two sides that struggle to be separated on the scoresheet. Two of the three most recent battles between these teams has finished with the teams tied at the end of regulation.

Vantage Black Sticks Men’s Coach Darren Smith commented on the Spanish “We have some changes to our squad which is exciting, we have a good opportunity to get back into the Pro League and play some fluid hockey. We look forward to testing ourselves against a quality side like Spain”.

The Spanish side boasts plenty of attacking weapons including one of the competitions leading goal scorers in Pau Quemada, in his 132 matches for Spain Quemada boasts an impressive 91 goals scored for his country. If he is given any space in the New Zealand defensive zone look for Quemada or one of the other Spanish attacking weapons to cause headaches for the Black Sticks.

Never far from a breakthrough goal for the New Zealand side Stephen Jenness is looking to be hitting some excellent form, Jenness got himself on the score sheet against Great Britain last week with a rocket reverse. If Jenness can get free behind the Spanish defence, then fireworks are sure to follow as he possesses one of the best shots in international hockey.  
       
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