Hockey: Black Sticks name team for Asia tour

The Black Sticks women's team has been named for their Asia tour, with players given one last chance to press their claim for Olympic selection.

Coach Mark Hager has picked a touring group of 20 for the matches against China and Korea, electing to take two extra athletes than the usual 18 to provide more opportunity for athletes to push for a ticket to London.

"This is another opportunity to play two more top eight teams and will assist in determining the final selection of the 16 players we will take to London," Hager said.

The coach admitted selection had been extremely difficult, with competition between squad members fierce with Olympic selection looming.

"This travelling group is fairly close to what could be our Olympic team. Selection is far from game over for those left out and there's certainly no guarantee that 16 from this 20 will make up the team for London."

Auckland's Lucy Talbot has fractured her thumb in training recently and is therefore unavailable for selection. Talbot will be reassessed at a later time, but will still be considered for final selection for London.

The Black Sticks play three matches against China from May 29 to June 1, before playing Korea four times between June 3-7.

They will then return home before the Olympic team is announced during the week commencing June 11.

Black Sticks team for Asia tour:

Kayla Sharland, Emily Naylor, Krystal Forgesson, Katie Glynn, Petrea Webster, Sally Rutherford, Ella Gunson, Samantha Charlton, Julia King, Clarissa Eshuis, Bridget Blackwood, Rhiannon Dennison, Samantha Harrison, Cathryn Finlayson, Gemma Flynn, Charlotte Harrison, Melody Cooper, Bianca Russell, Stacey Michelsen, Anita Punt.

- APNZ

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