Festical of Hockey: Teams clash for cup

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Team captains L/R Myuki Nakagawa of Japan, Luciana Aymar of Argentina, Lawrence Yule Hastings Mayor, Kayla Whitelock of New Zealand, Kim Jong Eun of Korea, Cui Qiuxia of China.
Team captains L/R Myuki Nakagawa of Japan, Luciana Aymar of Argentina, Lawrence Yule Hastings Mayor, Kayla Whitelock of New Zealand, Kim Jong Eun of Korea, Cui Qiuxia of China.

A new trophy for clashes between the New Zealand Black Sticks Women and the Argentinian women's national team has been added to the Hawke's Bay Festival of Hockey.

The idea for the silverware, named the Amistad Friendship Cup, was conceived by Argentinian Ambassador Fernando Escalona and was presented to the captains of the two teams at a special function in Napier yesterday.

The new trophy will be up for grabs every time the two teams meet, starting today with the much anticipated first encounter between the Black Sticks and Argentina (also known as Las Leonas), in the six-nations tournament held in Hastings.

Argentina currently hold a FIH world ranking of No2 and are favourites to win the tournament.

The last time the Black Sticks (FIH ranking No5) beat Argentina was this time a year ago at a tournament in Whangarei.

New Zealand's head coach Mark Hager says the team's back to full strength following injury to key players over the last year.

"This is close to the World Cup team we'll be taking to Holland in two months' time and this tournament's invaluable to our build up - we're confident we can make this week's finals," Hager said.

Today's match gets under way at the Unison Hockey Stadium at 7pm.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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