A number of players competing in the Rabobank Hockey World Cup will be reaching phenomenal career milestones. Whether it is 50 caps, 100 caps, or in the case of several players, the figure runs into the many hundreds.
Four members of the New Zealand men's team who have enjoyed a long and distinguished career with the Black Sticks are Phil Burrows (312 caps) captain Dean Couzins, who recently celebrated reaching the 300 mark in a test match against Australia, Simon Child who is currently on 192 and Shea McAleese (190). Both Simon and Shea are likely to celebrate their 200th cap during the tournament at The Hague.
Dean and Phil are the only players in Black Sticks history to reach the landmark figure and on receiving his cap, in a test match against Australia, Dean said: "It is a huge honour to make it to 300 tests for New Zealand, and the achievement will be extra special against old rivals Australia. It’s a real honour to join Phil on 300, and pretty appropriate that it will come against Australia. They’re a tough opponent but always play in the right spirit.”
Longevity is the not the preserve of the New Zealand men, the women tend to stick around too. At the recent Hawkes Bay tournament, Emily Naylor became the Black Sticks most capped female player on 239 caps and Krystal Forgesson won her 200th cap in a match against China. Speaking after she received her record-breaking cap, Emily said: 'My first cap was a highlight, even though I don't remember it very well. It's still special hearing that anthem for the first time. There's still no gold medals at a major tournament. I haven't got that gold, so that's something I'd love to get. Hopefully, this year."
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