Watch: Black Sticks' first Tongan player hopes to be role model for future Pacific stars after World Cup selection

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The Black Sticks Women have named an almost identical squad to the one that won gold at this year's Commonwealth Games, but there is one excited new addition proud to show off her Pacific roots.

Lulu Tuilotolava, 22, is the only newcomer to the team that won gold at the Commonwealth Games.
Source: 1 NEWS

Lulu Tuilotolava became the first Tongan Black Stick today after she was named in the team's World Cup squad.

The 22-year-old is the only change to the 18-strong squad which tasted victory on the Gold Coast, replacing retired midfielder Pippa Hayward.

She said she couldn't believe it when coach Mark Hager reached out to her about being selected in next month's tournament in London.

"I got an email about a month ago," she said.

"I couldn't believe it."

Tuilotolava made the Black Sticks' development squad for the first time at the start of this year before earning her first international appearance in Cromwell in May, making her progression to the senior squad a whirlwind experience.

"The last six months have happened so quickly," the midfielder said.

"I didn't realise this would all happen - debuting and then making it into the squad and now going to the World Cup."

Tuilotolava says she's proud to be the first Tongan to be selected in the team but hopes there's more to come.

"It just shows that Tongan kids can come out and play hockey."

The Black Sticks leave New Zealand on Sunday for Germany, where they will play in a warm-up tournament next week.

Their first World Cup fixture takes place on July 23 against Belgium at 6am NZT.

Black Sticks World Cup squad: Stacey Michelsen (c), Madison Doar, Ella Gunson, Brooke Neal (Northland) Sam Harrison, Grace O'Hanlon, Liz Thompson, Lulu Tuilotolava (Auckland), Sam Charlton, Tarryn Davey, Frances Davis, Shiloh Gloyn, Rose Keddell, Amy Robinson, Sally Rutherford (Midlands), Anita McLaren, Kelsey Smith (Capital), Olivia Merry (Canterbury).

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