Black Sticks midfielder Anita Punt is looking to carry the team’s recent momentum into the upcoming tour against Argentina.
The five match test series will be played in Rosario and pits the Black Sticks Women (currently ranked third in the world) against the world number two Argentina.
The team features eight players who also played at the 2012 London Olympics, while head coach Mark Hager continues to blood several young athletes in a new cycle now leading up to the Rio Games.
In December last year the Black Sticks Women won a home test series against India, but this series will certainly be a step up.
While the average age of the team to play Argentina is just 22, Punt is confident the New Zealand side is up for the challenge. Argentina won silver in London and while they have a new coach, no players have retired since the Olympics.
“It’s going to be really tough and just standard Argentina – they’ve got awesome skills, heaps of flair and speed. We have to put everything out there and play well,” she said.
“There are a lot of new girls in the team so hopefully we’ll get a lot of experience, get some combinations together and continue to teach the new girls the team structure.
“We’ve got a great group of girls and the support has been awesome. There are a few young girls coming through that are definitely nipping at our heels so we want to put in a good performance against Argentina and help them along as well become a better team together.”
Following this series, the two sides will meet again when Argentina travel to New Zealand to play in the Four Nations Tournament being held in Whangarei, Hamilton and Tauranga this April.
The other two teams in the tournament are USA and Korea.
Match Schedule – NZ vs Argentina, Rosario
(NZ time - UTC/GMT +13)
24th February 12.30pm
25th February Midday
27th February 1pm
1st March 1pm
2nd March 10.30am
CLICK HERE for the full Black Sticks Women’s squad
Hockey New Zealand Media release
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