FIH Pro League Preview: GB v New Zealand

FIH Pro League Preview: GB v New Zealand
History will be made on Sunday 23 June when Great Britain’s men (2pm) and women (4:30pm) face New Zealand in an FIH Pro League double header match at Harlequins’ Twickenham Stoop Stadium using brand new pitch technology.

It will be the first-time hockey will have been played at a rugby stadium in the UK in what will be the biggest game since the 2012 Olympics with nearly 11,000 tickets sold for the games.

Tickets are available for the event which will also be shown live on BT Sport – click HERE to get yours. 

GB men’s top four hopes still alive
Victory over New Zealand on Sunday, and defeat for Argentina against Belgium, is the only way Great Britain’s men can finish in the top four of the FIH Pro League as the team searches for a place at the Grand Final.

Only Spain’s Pau Quemada (10) has scored more goals than GB’s Phil Roper and Sam Ward (both 8) with Danny Kerry’s side looking strong in attack, especially given the recent form of Chris Griffiths who has three goals from his previous four appearances.

Set pieces remain an outstanding strength for Great Britain who have recorded the most goals from penalty corners in the league (12) with Belgium the only other side to have recorded double digits (10).

GB drew 2-2 to both Australia and the Netherlands in their previous matches, claiming the bonus point against the Kookaburras but being made to settle for one point against the Dutch last time out.

In the previous encounter between Sunday’s opponents, GB thumped New Zealand 6-2 in Christchurch as Ward bagged a hat-trick, Roper notched a brace and Captain Adam Dixon also got on the scoresheet for an emphatic victory. 

Two changes have been made to the squad as Michael Hoare and Rhys Smith come in for David Condon and Ollie Willars.

GB women looking for final day victory
Despite not picking up enough points to make the top four of the FIH Pro League, there have been some encouraging displays for a GB side that has given senior international debuts to five exciting young players in the league.

Esme Burge, Holly Hunt, Alex Malzer, Lizzie Neal and Izzy Petter have all featured in the FIH Pro League with the youngsters earning plaudits for the impact they’ve had.

Great Britain’s women’s side pushed the Netherlands all the way in their previous match before being cruelly denied a draw after conceding a last-minute goal from what had otherwise been a very strong performance. 

Going into Sunday’s match there’s two changes from the team that faced the Netherlands last time out with Maddie Hinch and Amy Costello coming in for Amy Tennant and the injured Sarah Evans.

Great Britain’s women opened their FIH Pro League campaign against Sunday's opposition back in February, a match they lost 5-1 to a clinical Black Sticks side in what was a more even match than the score-line would suggest. 

Former New Zealand Head Coach Mark Hager will come against the side he led to Commonwealth Gold in 2018 for the first time in the UK having taken charge with GB ahead of the 2019 FIH Pro League.