Rio Olympics 2016: Black Sticks women to play Australia in quarter-final

By David Leggat

New Zealand have drawn, of all the possible options, old rivals Australia in their women's hockey quarter-final at the Rio Olympics.

Their 3-0 win over China today assures the fourth-ranked women's Black Sticks of second place, and with the world No 3 Aussies possibly disappointed at their pool form, third in their group, the transtasman rivals are set to go at it again on Tuesday morning (NZT).

Goals by Olivia Merry after 21 minutes, then two in two minutes from Gemma Flynn and Anita McLaren just before the end of the third quarter, made the game safe against a Chinese team who had to win to make the last eight.

"The way we went about the process," was what pleased coach Mark Hager.

"We started really well, moved the ball well, and they had to win so they had to come at us. I thought the girls handled it pretty well."

Hager scotched the idea that gold is in the Black Sticks sights this early in proceedings.

"It's game by game. Now we have Australia in the quarter-finals, we know each other well and it will be a hard game.

"All quarters are, so it doesn't matter who you play, either them, the US or Great Britain. But I'm pretty pleased with the girls. They've done well so far, hopefully we have a good rest day tomorrow."

New Zealand know the Australians very well, and vice versa. There's not much between the teams but Hager issued a warning today.

"They're a good side, they press very hard, have a good corner set piece and good goalscorers up front. We're under no illusions," he said.

"If we come out and play to how we believe we can then we're a good chance. If we're off our game by five or 10 percent we're in trouble."

- NZ Herald

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