Hockey NZ: Good pre-National Hockey League form has seen Aucklanders Krystal Forgesson and Kate Saunders called into the Black Sticks women’s team to compete in the Indira Gandhi Tournament in New Delhi from 1-9 October.
Saunders, 23, replaces experienced Tauranga defender and vice-captain Diana Weavers, who needs more time to rehabilitate the hip injury that has kept her out of international hockey this year. Saunders has until recently played as an inside forward but has been impressive in recent weeks for Auckland in a fullback role.
Saunders played four games for the Black Sticks at the Champions Trophy in China in August 2002.
Forgesson, 22, comes in for Wellington striker Niniwa Roberts-Lang who injured a calf muscle playing last weekend.
National coach Ian Rutledge said the call-ups reflected a broad selection policy leading up to 2006 - an extremely important year for Hockey New Zealand, one that will include both the Commonwealth Games and World Cup.
“We are leaving no stone unturned in our build up,” he said. “If you are good enough there are plenty of opportunities to push for selection.”
“I am very excited about the up coming NHL, which will have a huge impact and influence on the make up of next year’s National Squad,” he said. “We are always looking to improve our team.”
The selections send an exciting message to players preparing for the NHL which starts this weekend.
Rutledge has also had the opportunity to follow the progress of New Zealand’s developing age group talent in Christchurch this week.
An Under 21 Women’s Selection drew a two match series with the Australian Under 21 Women’s Team last night with a comprehensive 2-0 win.
Participating teams in New Delhi will be Australia (world ranking 3rd), New Zealand (6th), India (15th), Russia (16th), Malaysia (25th), Lithuania (26th).
Black Sticks Women
Black Sticks Match Schedule
Saturday 1 October: Black Sticks v Lithuania, 13:00
Sunday 2 October: Black Sticks v India, 15:00
Tuesday 4 October: Black Sticks v Russia, 13:00
Wednesday 5 October: Black Sticks v Australia, 15:00
Friday 7 October: Black Sticks v Malaysia 11:00
Saturday 8 October: Playoffs
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