Black Sticks men and women to play Aussie counterparts in Palmerston North

Hockey has become the latest sport to take advantage of the trans-Tasman bubble with both Black Sticks teams set to host their Australian counterparts in a four-match series this month.

Frances Davies & Savannah Fitzpatrick shake hands after the the Tri Series Final Black Sticks Women Vs Australia Source: Photosport

Hockey New Zealand announced the fixtures last night, noting the games would be the first internationals for all four sides in 14 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hockey NZ CEO Anthony Crummy said they’d been working with Hockey Australia to set up the series as soon as the trans-Tasman bubble was announced.

"It's really pleasing to see the willingness from both countries to do what it takes to make this series happen so quickly and ensure our Tokyo-bound Black Sticks have world-class opposition as the Olympic countdown begins.

"Given the unfortunate 14-month hiatus in international hockey for [all] teams, this series will be vital as both a selection event and in our final preparations for Tokyo."

The event is scheduled to take place from May 27 until June 1 at Massey University’s new turf in Palmerston North.

Crummy said Palmerston North was chosen to host the series as it had options available if there was a sudden change in Covid-19 alert levels in New Zealand.

"The playing surface at Massey University is also the same as the one in Tokyo, and we've received phenomenal support from Hockey Manawatū and the wider community to pull this together in such a short timeframe."

The Black Sticks squads of 18 for the Tokyo Olympics will be named in the week after the trans-Tasman series.