Hockey: Sharland to return for four nations

By Michael Brown

New Zealand Black Sticks captain Kayla Sharland at the 2012 Olympics. File photo / Brett Phibbs
New Zealand Black Sticks captain Kayla Sharland at the 2012 Olympics. File photo / Brett Phibbs

The New Zealand women's hockey side will be boosted by the return of captain Kayla Sharland when they host back-to-back four nations tournaments next month.

The Black Sticks will welcome Argentina, Korea and the United States to these shores for the tournaments, a format that allows coach Mark Hager the opportunity to expose players and fine tune his strongest side.

That will certainly include Sharland, with the stalwart returning after an extended break following the London Olympics.

"I'm really excited to be getting back into it,'' she said. "There have been lots of changes to the team since the Olympics so it is pleasing to see that they have been progressing so well - it's just good to see a new bunch of players wanting to put their stamp on hockey in New Zealand.''

Sharland missed this month's tour to Argentina, where her team came agonisingly close to earning a series victory against the South Americans.

The Black Sticks will be looking forward to turning the tables on the side that edged them in the five-game series, though Hager warned Argentina would be just as keen to repeat the result.

"They will be wanting the win as much as us,'' he said. "Our goal is to play in both finals - it will be a good indicator to see how we are tracking ahead of the World League and to play some top quality teams.''

The World League is the new qualification tournament for the 2014 World Cup and will be played in Amsterdam from in June. With an eye on that tournament, Hager has named two separate squads for the quad tournaments as he seeks to build depth in his side.

"We have a strong squad and some good young talent coming through - naming two teams means we can develop depth and look at who is playing consistently well throughout the tournament.''

The tournaments will see 16 games played in eight days in Whangarei, Hamilton and Tauranga.

Black Sticks women's team for the four nations tournament in Whangarei from April 10-14:

Bridget Blackwood, Sam Charlton, Krystal Forgesson, Sian Fremaux, Katie Glynn, Charlotte Harrison, Pippa Hayward, Rose Keddell, Julia King, Stacey Michelsen, Emily Naylor, Anita Punt, Cassandra Reid, Aniwaka Roberts, Bianca Russell, Sally Rutherford, Kayla Sharland, Petrea Webster.

Black Sticks women's team for the four nations tournament in Hamilton and Tauranga from April 17-21:

Bridget Blackwood, Sam Charlton, Michaela Curtis, Gemma Flynn, Amelia Gibson, Katie Glynn, Charlotte Harrison, Pippa Hayward, Rose Keddell, Julia King, Olivia Merry, Stacey Michelsen, Emily Naylor, Anita Punt, Cassandra Reid, Aniwaka Roberts, Sally Rutherford, Kayla Sharland.

- APNZ

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