New Zealand defeated Argentina to win the Mar del Plata Sport Cup Photo: (FIH / Getty Images)

New Zealand women and Germany men pick up series wins on Road to Rio

March 4, 2016
New Zealand women get revenge on Hockey World League Final opponents Argentina while Germany men shine in South Africa as Olympic preparations begin

New Zealand women and Germany men have shown that they are warming up nicely for this year’s Olympic Games by claiming solid test series wins on their travels. 

New Zealand's Black Sticks women (FIH World Ranking: 4) were in action in Argentina and came away with a memorable series victory against reigning Hockey World League holders Argentina (ranked 2) in Mar del Plata.

The six-match test series was actually tied with both sides finishing with two wins each along with two draws, but New Zealand’s superior goal difference was enough for them to take home the Mar del Plata Sport Cup.

The most impressive performance in the series came in match four as the Black Sticks powered to a 4-1 win over the hosts, with Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Neal, Petrea Webster and Gemma Flynn all hitting the target.  

Remarkably, New Zealand’s impressive series win was achieved without the energy and industry of absent team captain Anita Punt, although the side was bolstered by the return to action of two of their most experienced campaigners, Kayla Whitelock and Emily Naylor.

Both players took a break from the sport following the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, with Whitelock giving birth to baby daughter Addison in April 2015 while Naylor needed time to recover from a hamstring injury sustained in her international comeback match in October 2015.

“This trip has been a good adventure for us against a very good opponent and to be able to come away with a series win is a real positive”, said Black Sticks Head Coach Mark Hager. “We have identified some strengths and weaknesses from these six games. We came here with some questions and feel like those have been answered.”  

Germany’s men (ranked 3) travelled to Cape Town, South Africa (ranked 15) and recorded three wins from three matches against the hosts. These results will give reassurance to Head Coach Valentin Altenburg that his side are moving in the right direction following what was, by their own high standards, a fairly disappointing 2015.

Germany's Die Honamas triumphed emphatically in all three of their meetings against South Africa, registering scores of 6-2, 6-1 and 6-2. Jonas Gomoll (4) and ace striker Florian Fuchs (3) top scored for the European giants in the series.     

2016 is a huge year for Germany as they will be hoping to become the first nation for 60 years to win the Olympic gold medal in hockey three times in succession. The last nation to achieve such a feat was India, who won gold six times in a row between 1928 and 1956.


Argentina v New Zealand (Women)
Mar del Plata, Argentina. 23 February – 3March 2016

Match 1: Argentina 2, New Zealand 2
Match 2: Argentina 1, New Zealand 0
Match 3: Argentina 2, New Zealand 3
Match 4: Argentina 1, New Zealand 4
Match 5: Argentina 2, New Zealand 1
Match 6: Argentina 2, New Zealand 2

New Zealand win series due to superior goal difference


South Africa v Germany (Men)
Cape Town, South Africa. 26-29 February 2016

Match 1: South Africa 2, Germany 6
Match 2: South Africa 1, Germany 6
Match 3: South Africa 2, Germany 6

Germany win series 3-0


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