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Black Sticks take on Korea as they look to book their place at Tokyo

The Vantage Black Sticks Men return to the Stratford turf this weekend, with a do-or-die/must-win FIH Olympic Qualification double-header against world #16 Korea. New Zealand finds itself in the qualification series after a tough Oceania Cup series loss to the world #1 Australian Kookaburras while Korea finished runners up in the Asia Cup to Japan – the team the Black Sticks just won a warmup series against 3-1 in October.

It will be the first time New Zealand have met Korea since before the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, where the teams played out a 2-0 series win in favour of the Kiwi side.

Darren Smith, the Vantage Black Sticks Coach, has named a vastly experienced side for the winner takes all series, with no less than seven players having pulled on the black jersey over 200 times. Recent international returnees Steve Edwards and Simon Child have been named in the side and will be looking to bring their previous Olympic Games experience to the side who will be desperate to punch the sides ticket through to the Tokyo Games.

The FIH Olympic Qualification series has already thrown up plenty of thrilling matches over the first weekend which saw the Netherlands, Spain and Canada book their place at the 2020 Games.

Darren Smith commented on the Korean side ahead of the series “They Koreans have been preparing for these games for over a year. They have several players returning who are proven internationals and over 2019 they have had success at the Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia, the FIH World Series and in the 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”.

This will be the 12th time these two sides have met since 2012. During that period Korea has won three, New Zealand have won four and there have been four draws in what is shaping up to be an incredibly close series.

The Korean side have a lethal penalty corner bracket spearheaded by Yang Jihun who is no stranger to scoring against the New Zealand team. In the four matches that Yang has played the Kiwi side, he has found the net four times. Look for the New Zealand penalty corner runners to shut down his flicking lanes and attempting to nullify his opportunities.

Game 1: Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Korea at 3:00 pm this Saturday from the TET Multi Sports Centre in Stratford.

Game 2: Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Korea at 3:00 pm this Sunday from the TET Multi Sports Centre in Stratford.

Tickets are only $25 for adults and $5 for children and available at www.dashtickets.co.nz or at the gate.

Live Coverage of both games is on Spark Sport.

Number

Name

Age

Caps

2

Cory Bennett

28

100

4

Dane Lett

29

67

6

Simon Child

31

278

7

Nick Ross

29

120

11

Jacob Smith

28

77

12

Sam Lane

22

55

14

Jared Panchia

26

125

15

George Enersen (GK)

28

60

17

Nic Woods

24

120

21

Kane Russell

27

153

22

Blair Tarrant ©

29

204

23

Dylan Thomas

23

19

24

Arun Panchia

30

283

25

Shea McAleese

35

302

27

Stephen Jenness

29

242

29

Hugo Inglis

28

230

33

Steve Edwards

33

207

34

Leon Hayward (GK)

29

2

 

  • November 1st, 2019 in
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