Hard & Fast: Rio Olympic Hockey Pools

The Olympic draws/pools for our Black Sticks teams have been released. The men share Pool A with Australia, Great Britain, Belgium, Spain and Brazil while the women share Pool A with Netherlands, China, Germany, Korea and Spain.

The women are better seeded, thanks to being ranked 4th in the world. Netherlands are ranked 1st and the kiwi ladies should be able to cruise through to the quarter-finals with the game against the Dutch likely to offer the best gauge of how the kiwis are looking.

Ranked 8th in the world, the men will still likely qualify for the quarter-finals but will need to grab at least one win against either Australia, Great Britain or Belgium to finish better than 4th in their pool.

This could be somewhat of a blessing in disguised for the men as they are capable of beating any of the three teams ranked higher than them, on their day. A poor ranking and the late Olympic qualification could see the kiwi lads earn an underdog tag which would suit them perfectly, given the talent in their squad. 

May is a quiet month for both teams, the perfect opportunity to ramp up their preparations.

The women are running hot and will be looking to fine tune minor details while the men need to make some vast improvements, on the back of their Azlan Shah campaign. 

The women will take part in a Four Nations tournament in Darwin, starting on May 31 and then have the Champions Trophy tournament later in June which will go down in London.

The men will head to Netherlands for a series late in June and then take part in a Six Nations tournament in Valencia.

Men - Pool A

Australia
Great Britain
Belgium
New Zealand
Spain
Brazil

Pool B

Netherlands
Germany
Argentina
India
Ireland
Canada
 

Women - Pool A

Netherlands
New Zealand
China
Germany
Republic of Korea
Spain

Pool B

Argentina
Australia
Great Britain
USA
Japan
India