Black Sticks fresh for Olympic quest

Last updated 14:09 27/07/2012

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Women's Black Sticks assistant coach Chris Leslie said the New Zealand side was in a confident mood after a short stay in France to freshen up and relax.

The former Marlborough hockey player and coach, who is attending his third Olympics in this capacity, was speaking from the Olympic Village on Tuesday night.

The Black Sticks moved into the village early, he said, so the players could soak up the atmosphere and get used to their surroundings before their campaign started on Tuesday at 9.45pm (NZ time) against South Africa. Keeping the players focused, especially the younger ones, and making sure they are not overawed by the Olympic atmosphere was part of the challenge, Leslie said.

Leslie was full of praise for the accomodation at the village, saying the facilities were outstanding, as was the turf surface they will be playing on.

He does not expect any easy or soft games at the tournament.

New Zealand's other pool opponents are Argentina next Friday followed by the US on Sunday, August 5, and Germany on Monday, August 6. Semifinals begin on Thursday, August 9. Fairfax NZ

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- The Marlborough Express

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