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Wales Legend Sarah Jones Poised To Become Hockey Centurion

Sarah Jones headed Down Under this week with a major landmark in her mind as she continues to push for selection for the 2020 Olympic Games.

The 91-times capped Welsh hockey international, who has two Commonwealth Games already under her belt, made her Team GB debut in China in November at the Champions Trophy.

Six games there took her total international cap tally to 97 and now she hopes to reach three-figures when the FIH Pro League gets underway in New Zealand.

As well as facing the Blacksticks, Jones will also face Australia in Perth before travelling to China to face another Top 10 ranked side. There will be six games on the trip and Jones needs three more caps to reach that Wales/GB century.

The 28-year-old Jones, who is a former Wales football cap, is the only Welsh player in the 20-strong squad making the trip.

The newly formed Pro League will play a key role in deciding which teams qualify for Tokyo and the 2020 Olympic Games.

Holly Hunt, Holly Munro and Lizzie Neal could make their international debuts, while Tess Howard has also been selected after impressing in her first senior international competition at the Hockey Champions Trophy in November 2018.

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Hollie Pearne-Webb, who won gold with GB at the Rio 2016 Olympics, is the most capped player in the squad and will captain the side. Alex Danson is among a number of players who are currently unavailable for selection.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for an exciting team to showcase what they are capable of, to perform against some of the best teams in the world, and set us on our path as GB for the qualification process for the Olympics,” said David Ralph, acting head coach for the women’s squad.

“We’re in this sport to play in big events and every one of these games is very important. We’re going into their back yard and we’re excited about delivering on the pitch.

“The FIH Pro League is incredibly important on two fronts. Firstly, as an event in itself and a revolution for the sport; secondly, this year it plays a key part in Olympic qualification, so we’re very excited about playing our first games in the tournament.”

The new FIH Pro League has started in fine fashion, with 31 goals in the first six women’s and men’s matches.

Great Britain’s men secured a superb 6-5 win in their first game, coming from 4-1 down to beat Spain in Valencia.

 

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