Black Sticks sides to play Aussie counterparts in May series

Source: 1News

The Black Sticks men's and women's teams have locked in their first matches since last year's Olympics with trans-Tasman clashes against their Australian counterparts booked.

Nick Ross controls the ball for the Black Sticks men.

Hockey New Zealand [HNZ] announced on Thursday the two sides would host the Australian outfits in May with a pair of four-match series which will be played out in double-headers.

The series will start on May 10 at the National Hockey Centre in North Harbour and marks 100 years since the first match between the countries.

"With the opening of the border, we've worked really hard with Hockey Australia to make this series happen and to give our community the chance to see our Black Sticks in action ahead of some pinnacle events on the horizon," HNZ chief executive Anthony Crummy said.

"These matches will be great for our teams to see where they're at ahead of a World Cup for the women and the Commonwealth Games for both teams."

The announcement comes after HNZ earlier confirmed the return of both sides to the FIH Pro League with season four starting in October.

The Black Sticks women huddle during a game against Australia.

The men's team begin their campaign in India against India and Spain while the women will host the US and China next February.

Both sides will then welcome Australia and Great Britain to New Zealand next April.

"We can't wait to bring more international hockey to all parts of the motu and get back to competing on the world stage, inspiring the next generation of hockey players, and turning the Black Sticks into world beaters," Crummy said.

May's series will be the first matches since Greg Nicol was appointed the new head coach of the men's side as well as being the first matches since Graham Shaw announced his departure from the women's team.