Black Sticks Named for Womens World Cup Qualifier
Black Sticks Team Named for Womens World Cup Qualifying Tournament
Tuesday 4 April 2006
The Black Sticks team named today to play in the Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Rome later this month includes a core of 14 players from the Melbourne Commonwealth Games team, plus four additional names.
The addition of the four brings the squad back up to 18-strong, the standard size for international competition outside of Commonwealth and Olympics Games. Two of the 16 members of the Commonwealth Games team are unavailable for the Qualifier.
The additional players are:
Lizzie Ryan, (20), Auckland. Lizzie is a striker and has played 13 games for New Zealand. She was a member of the Black Sticks side which won the 2005 Champions Challenge in Virginia Beach.
Tara Drysdale, (27), Central. Tara, a midfielder, played for New Zealand during the February Japan series, returning to the national frame after an injury break. She has played 80 games for New Zealand and was a 2004 Athens Olympian.
Kate Saunders, (23), Canterbury. Kate also played in the recent Japan series and has been selected for her versatility. She can play either on attack or in the defence and now has 11 caps.
Bridget Kight, (21), Canterbury. Bridget, a halfback or fullback, has played four games for New Zealand. She debuted at the Indira Gandhi Tournament last October.
The two unavailable players are Canterbury midfielder Michelle Hollands who has retired and North Harbour defender Lizzy Igasan who is unavailable for personal reasons.
National Coach Ian Rutledge said: “The quality of the newly named national team reflects solid squad depth developed over the past few years by providing fringe players with the opportunity to experience International hockey and grow both as individuals and the Team as a collective group."
The top five teams from the Rome Qualifier, from April 25 – May 6, will go through to the World cup in Madrid in September/October.
Participating teams are (world rankings in brackets): Pool A – China (5), England (9), France (21), Japan (8), Scotland (17), Ukraine (15). Pool B – Azerbaijan (19), Ireland (13), Italy (20), Korea (7), New Zealand (6), USA (12).
Rutledge said that despite the lower world rankings of some of the teams there would be no easy games. “The top 10 teams in the world are very close and the next group are also very difficult to play” he said.