Tuilotolava named in World Cup squad

Lulu Tuilotolava.
Lulu Tuilotolava.
Auckland midfielder Lulu Tuilotolava has been rewarded for an impressive debut with a spot in the Black Sticks' World Cup squad.

Coach Mark Hager has made just one change to the group which won a gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.

Tuilotolava replaces Pippa Hayward, who retired following the Games.

The 21-year-old striker made her debut during the women's tri-Nations in Cromwell in May.

She added spark to the attack end and her speed and explosiveness will be an asset for the Black Sticks during the tournament which gets under way in London later this month.

Stacey Michelsen (254 tests) will lead what is an experienced team which features veterans such as Anita McLaren (264) and Sam Charlton (219),.

Hager said he hoped having a strong core of proven players would help his side compete against the best in the world.

''We think we've got the right balance - all 18 players in the side deserve their spot and I know they are very excited,'' he said.

''After winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games we probably go in with a bigger target on our backs but hopefully that fuels us to lift even further as a group.''

The 2018 World Cup has been extended to 16 teams. Teams play three group matches before the elimination phase.

All the games will be played at England's 10,000-seater Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.

The Black Sticks open their campaign against world No13 Belgium on July 23.

The men's World Cup takes place later this year in India from November 28 to December 16.

 

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