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FIH PRO LEAGUE-Pan American Champions to clash with Black Sticks at Ngā Puna Wai

Olympic Champions head to Ngā Puna Wai
  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 Wednesday  26th Feb 1 – 3 pm   For any interviews with the Vantage Black Sticks Women please call or email through to Matthew Williams who will facilitate this.    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 Men vs Argentina, Friday, February 28th at 5:40 pm & Sunday, March 1st at 3:00 pm – Ngā Puna Wai, Christchurch   The Vantage Black Sticks Men are looking to be in good form for their last home matches of 2020 against Argentina. The Kiwis backed up their first win of the FIH Hockey Pro League with a second win the following weekend against a determined Spanish side.   The Kiwis are without several frontline players and will be looking towards their up and coming players to impress as they aim to press their case for further Pro League and Olympic selection.   The New Zealanders will turn their attention towards the reigning Olympic Champions Argentina. Both sides will be looking to gain some much-needed momentum as they continue to build combinations ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games.   The Argentina Men while only sitting one place ahead of the Black Sticks on the Pro League table have been in fine form in the 2020 Pro League having lost only one match in regulation time. The Argentina attack is looking to be in fine form, having scored 12 goals in their four goals they have played.   Local Canterbury Striker Sam Lane stated of the Argentina threat “Argentina have plenty of experience in their team, including many from the 2016 Rio Olympic team who won gold. They have some highly skilled individuals upfront and some very experienced campaigners at the back controlling things from behind. I do, however, believe the two teams match up well and constantly play out close and exciting battles.”   Having now played 63 matches for the New Zealand side, Lane will be called upon to provide plenty of go forward with experienced strikers Stephen Jenness and Hugo Inglis unavailable for selection. Lane possesses some great deft touches and will look to create plenty of opportunities for the other strikers.   Black Sticks coach Darren Smith commented on the Argentina side “Argentina is a talented team, we expect them to come with a bit of skill and flair. We have several players returning for this game and will be looking for their experience to help the side out”.   Lucas Martinez is leading the charge for Argentina in the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League having scored three goals for the South Americans including a double strike in the 5-1 route of Spain. In his 69 tests for Argentina, Martinez has found the net on 20 occasions.   Vantage Black Sticks Men’s Squad vs Argentina  Richard Joyce, Leon Hayward, David Brydon, Shea McAleese, Cory Bennett, George Connell, Dane Lett, Dwayne Rowsell, Brad Read, Aidan Sarikaya, Nick Ross, Steve Edwards, Marcus Child, Jared Panchia, Simon Child, George Muir, Dylan Thomas, Dominic Newman, Sam Lane, Jacob Smith *Two to be omitted     Vantage Black Sticks Women vs Argentina, Friday, February 28th at 8:10 pm & Sunday, March 1st at 5:40 pm – Ngā Puna Wai Christchurch   The Vantage Black Sticks Women are looking to back up their impressive performance from two weekends ago in Christchurch when they take on the Argentina side this Friday and Sunday evenings. The Black Sticks will be looking for their third straight win in the FIH Hockey Pro League. The Kiwi girls are currently sitting second on the table and will be looking for a further six points this weekend as they look to cement their place towards the top of the ladder.   These two sides are no strangers having battled on 42 occasions since 2013. Argentina has come out with 25 wins in those contests. However, the Black Sticks are no strangers to beating the South Americans having done so on 11 occasions themselves since 2013. When these two sides meet, there is usually plenty of goalscoring opportunities on display as both teams like to play an attacking brand of hockey.   Argentina are in form and will be looking to build on their impressive performance where they handed the Dutch their only loss of the Pro League so far. They will be led by Delfina Merino and Agustina Gorzelany who have found the goal four times each and will be looking to continue their scintillating form on the New Zealanders home pitch. Merino is one of the top strikers in the world and will be looking to put some significant pressure on the New Zealand defensive unit as she aims to get Argentina on the front foot early in the match.   Grace O’Hanlon returned in goal against the United States after a long injury layoff, O’Hanlon has established herself as one of the best goalkeepers in international hockey, and her combination with Georgia Barnett means that the Kiwis defence always has a strong foundation to build on.   Black Sticks Midfielders Sam Charlton said “We know Argentina is a physical side, they always put out on the turf 100% no matter what game it is. They are in great form after beating the Dutch last weekend, so we are expecting a tough match”.   Graham Shaw anticipates an incredibly difficult match for his side “Argentina play a lovely brand of hockey, we are going to have to match them in many areas, and intensity is one of them. We are going to match them from a physical and mental point of view and shut down their dangerous players in this weekend’s game”.   Argentina will have added motivation for the match as a loss to New Zealand this weekend will drop them from second in the world rankings to third.    Vantage Black Sticks Women’s Squad vs Argentina Georgia Barnett, Grace O’Hanlon, Megan Hull, Fran Davies, Julia King, Brooke Neal, Sam Charlton, Ella Gunson, Tarryn Davey, Rose Keddell, Stacey Michelsen ©, Holly Pearson, Kelsey Smith, Katie Doar, Gemma McCaw, Olivia Shannon, Olivia Merry, Amy Robinson, Hope Ralph, Alia Jaques, Rachel McCann *Three to be omitted  
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