All eyes turn to Rourkela in India when, in just over 24 hours, the Vantage Black Sticks Men kick off their FIH World Cup campaign against Chile.
Preparations are complete after strong warm up games against India (3-0 over three quarters), Wales (2-2 over three quarters), England (2-0 over two quarters), where the VBSM were able to try out a range of combinations and tactics.
New Zealand have never finished higher than 7th at a Men’s World Cup but head coach Greg Nicol says that they need to be bold going into the tournament if they want to change that.
“If we want to have a result that’s different to what we’ve had in the past, then we’ve got to do things differently.
“I want the team to come out and show their flair and play with freedom – I think if we do that, and get over the little hurdles that every team faces, then we’ll do well.”
The match against Chile will also provide a contrast of experience with Dane Lett making his 100th appearance in black and 19 year old Charlie Morrison making his senior debut.
Lett is relaxed about bringing up his century saying, “I haven’t really thought about it to be honest, I’ll try and treat it like any other game.
“It’s a World Cup so you don’t need too much else on it other than that.”
Morrison is also soaking up the World Cup atmosphere.
“Not many people get to debut at a World Cup, so it’s pretty special. It doesn’t quite feel real yet but when the time comes I’ll be ready to go.”
The VBSM will play their opening match against Chile will take place Jan 14 8.30pm NZT – live on Spark Sport. They will then face the Netherlands Jan 16 10.30pm, and Malaysia Jan 19 8.30pm.