Tarrant back for Oceania Cup

Blair Tarrant.
Blair Tarrant.
Black Sticks captain Blair Tarrant has timed his return perfectly.

The 29-year-old, who grew up in Dunedin, has been sidelined since having back surgery in May.

He made his playing return during a club game in Auckland earlier this month and has been named in the Black Sticks men's squad for the important Oceania Cup.

Tarrant will lead the side in a three-game series against rival Australia in Rockhampton.

The tournament begins on Thursday and serves as an Olympic qualifying event. The winner will earn direct qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Black Sticks women's side will also do battle with Australia with the same prize at stake.

Tarrant missed the recent series in Japan. He was initially named in the squad but the defender withdrew as he felt he was not quite ready.

But he came through club hockey well and is back striking the ball nicely.

He has been stranded on 198 games and will reach the 200-game milestone during the series.

Tarrant is one of four players in the squad who honed their skills at Otago Boys' High School. Kane Russell, Hugo Inglis and Nick Ross are also Dunedin products.

Inglis has already reached the 200 game milestone, while Russell and Ross have played more than 100 apiece.

The Black Sticks men have just returned from a useful performance at the Tokyo Olympic test series in Japan last week.

The team registered wins against Malaysia, Japan and India during round robin play.

The Black Sticks women's side was also named yesterday. Head coach Graham Shaw has named a side with mix of experience and younger talent, including captain Stacey Michelsen, Sam Charlton and FIH Pro League goal-scoring machine Olivia Merry.

Oceania Cup

Rockhampton Sept 5-8

Draw. —
September 5
Black Sticks Men v Australia, 6pm
Black Sticks Women v Australia, 8pm
September 7
Black Sticks Women v Australia, 6pm
Black Sticks Men v Australia, 8pm
September 8
Black Sticks Women v Australia, 6pm
Black Sticks Men v Australia, 8.15pm

Squads. —

Black Sticks Men: Arun Panchia, Blair Tarrant (c), Cory Bennett, Dane Lett, George Enersen, George Muir, Hugo Inglis, Jacob Smith, Jared Panchia, Kane Russell, Marcus Child, Nic Woods, Nick Ross, Richard Joyce, Sam Lane, Shea McAleese, Hayden Phillips, Stephen Jenness.

Black Sticks Women: Grace O’Hanlon, Sally Rutherford, Frances Davies, Megan Hull, Steph Dickens, Brooke Neal, Ella Gunson, Liz Thompson, Julia King, Rose Keddell, Stacey Michelsen, Sam Charlton, Holy Pearson, Tarryn Davey, Olivia Merry, Olivia Shannon, Kirsten Pearce, Rachel McCann.


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