Amy Robinson and Frances Davies grew up in Tauranga with the ultimate goal of following Gemma Flynn, Rose Keddell and Sam Charlton into the Black Sticks.

Now that ambition has come true much earlier than expected with their selection for next month's five-test series against Malaysia in Taranaki.

Black Sticks head coach Mark Hager has named 12 debutantes in a major reshuffle after the Rio Olympics as he looks to replace the experienced core of the team who have either retired, are playing overseas or are unavailable.

From the squad of 22 players, none have played more than 100 tests with striker Samantha Harrison the most experience with 96 caps, while Kirsten Pearce is the sole representative from the Rio Olympic team.

Hager says Robinson, 20, and Davies, 19, are talented young players that have been on the radar for a while.


"With Amy we noticed her earlier this year at training sessions pre-Olympics and she showed some good signs around the attacking circle area," he said.

"She's athletic, she's quick so we saw that as a real asset for her.

"We felt Frances has made some good gains over the last 12 months in her defensive work. Again she is another athletic girl who can carry the ball with speed and has good tackling technique.

"She is someone we see who can potentially go further."

Hager says the time is right to continue the evolution of the Black Sticks group with the Tokyo Olympic Games looming in four years.

"The players selected for this series are with an eye to the future and maintaining competition for positions will continue to develop depth within our playing group.

"Malaysia will be a good challenge for this group as they have shown excellent progress over 2016.

"To be able to provide an opportunity for 12 debutantes is exciting and builds on our philosophy post Rio of providing opportunity for the wider group."

The call-up for striker Robinson and defender Davies came to them in Chile where they are competing for the New Zealand Under-21 side at the Junior World Cup that ends on December 5.

Amy and I have that trust in one another I guess, both on the pitch and off, which is a key factor.


Robinson, who last week was crowned Bay of Plenty Junior Sportswoman of the Year, and Davies first played together in Year 9 at Tauranga Girls' College, then in junior Tauranga and Midlands rep teams.

Davies moved to Auckland after her school years to focus on her hockey, with the Junior World Cup the major incentive.

"So it has been about two years trying to achieve that goal," she said.

"Amy and I have that trust in one another I guess, both on the pitch and off, which is a key factor."

Tauranga's established trio of Black Sticks players have been a constant motivation for Davies.

"I played against Rose Keddell when I was Year 9 and have always looked up to her. Gemma Flynn coached me when I was 10 or 11 and is another massive role model in my hockey.

"Last year I got to play with Sam, Gemma and Rose for Midlands and it was awesome to learn from their experiences."

Flynn, Keddell and Charlton, who have nearly 400 appearances for the Black Sticks between them, are all missing from the Black Sticks team selected for the test series against Malaysia.

Charlton is playing in Belgium while Flynn and Keddell, who captained the Black Sticks in last week's 2-1 series win against the Hockeyroos, are unavailable.