Black Sticks keen for rematch with Argentina

Last updated 12:25 03/03/2013

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Black Sticks women's hockey coach Mark Hager is eagerly awaiting April's rematch with Argentina in New Zealand after being pipped by the South Americans yesterday.

New Zealand lost the deciding fifth test in Rosario 1-0 with Delfina Merino scoring Argentina's winner in the 27th minute.

That gave Argentina, the Olympic silver medallists, a 2-1 series victory with two of the tests drawn.

Disappointed at missing an opportunity to claim only New Zealand's third series win over Argentina, Hager was at least able to point to the positives from a tour where he used a young lineup with a great deal of success after reassessing things following their London exploits.

"Overall, this has been a really pleasing tour. We needed to score goals from the chances that we created, but a tour like this is fantastic development for new younger players in the team. It's been really positive," Hager said.

"The good thing is that Argentina are coming to New Zealand in April to play us again in the Four Nations tournament, along with United States and Korea, so it will be game-on again then. If we get good vocal home crowds along to watch us, that could make that little bit of difference to our performance."

The Blacks Sticks put in a strong second half yesterday without any reward.

They forced three penalty corners, including one right on fulltime, as they dominated.

"It was similar to the last game in that we had a messy first half and Argentina put us under pressure, but in the second half we were much more controlled and we had many chances to score and win the game," Hager said, labelling captain Katie Gllynn, Krystal Forgesson and Cassandra Reid as the standout players in this final match.

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