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NZ coach happy with Olympic hockey venue

NEW Zealand’s men’s field hockey coach Shane McLeod has defended the “bouncy” pitch that will be used for the London Olympic tournament, following criticisms by his Australian counterpart Ric Charlesworth.

 
 

NEW Zealand’s men’s field hockey coach Shane McLeod has defended the “bouncy” pitch that will be used for the London Olympic tournament, following criticisms by his Australian counterpart Ric Charlesworth.

McLeod has returned to Auckland after watching the Olympic test event, won by Germany on a new blue turf similar to the one that his players have been practising on at Westlake Girls High School.

The test event finished with Germany downing Australia 5-2 in the final.

Earlier in the tournament, after the Kookaburras had beaten India 3-0, Charlesworth said the new surface did not properly reward skilful players because of the luck factor.

“It is bouncy, it has not been played on enough and it will be like this for the next few months,” Charlesworth said.

McLeod agrees the London pitch is bouncy, something Charlesworth complained about, but says all new surfaces need time to settle.

“I think in a way it’s a little bit of an excuse,” he said on Wednesday.

“Germany played pretty well over there.”

McLeod was also able to learn a lot observing two teams who will be in New Zealand’s pool at the Olympics, Germany and India, both of whom were at full strength.

“It’s nice to watch a game where you don’t have a vested interest in the result,” he said.

“You tend to pick up things that sometimes you wouldn’t if you’re worried about the scoreline.”

 
 

 

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