9 Aug 2010

Black Sticks finish last but not disgraced in Germany

6:40 pm on 9 August 2010

The New Zealand men's hockey coach Shane McLeod says despite their elimination from the next Champions Trophy tournament, the Black Sticks proved themselves worthy of a place in the elite six-nation tournament.

After an umpiring error blooper cost them a win over Spain in the round robin, they had to play the Spaniards again and lost 3-2 in Monday morning's playoff for fifth and sixth places. They also now fail to qualify for the next Champions Trophy in India.

McLeod says the Black Sticks' focus now turns to October's Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Australia capped off a perfect tournament with a 4-0 win over England in the final, and the Netherlands won the bronze medal match 4-1 against Germany.

The Commonwealth Games are now the priority for the New Zealand men and McLeod thinks the win over the Dutch shows they're a good medal chance in Delhi.

McLeod says it's really important to have played the leading teams leading into a big event like the October Games but their defence will have to be tighter if they're to reverse their loss to England.

And he says being able to respond to big losses to Australia and Germany with the win over the Netherlands then the unlucky draw with Spain has built a really positive environment.