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Tarrant and Russell clock up 200 tests for Black Sticks

Congratulations go out to Old Boys' Blair Tarrant and Kane Russell.

It might not have been the result they were looking for but Southern players Blair Tarrant and Kane Russell will look back at the just completed transtasman series with some fondness.

Tarrant, who clocked up his 200th game for the Black Sticks in the second game of the three-match series against Australia in Rockhampton, played in the series after missing the past few months with a back injury.

Tarrant, who honed his hockey skills at Otago Boys' High School alongside international team-mates Russell, Hugo Inglis and Nick Ross, was stranded on 198 caps for the national side for a few months before making his double century of appearances in the second match of the three-match series in Rockhampton.

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He told the Otago Daily Times last month getting to 200 games was not a huge motivator for him.

The 29-year-old was more interested in getting out on the field and playing as well as he could.

The Black Sticks drew the second test in the three-match series but lost the first and last games.

Russell played his 150th game for the Black Sticks in the third game of the series as New Zealand lost the test 3-0.

Russell is the drag-flick specialist for the Black Sticks but received few chances in this match as Australia dominated.

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By losing the series, the Black Sticks lost their chance to gain direct entry into the Olympics next year.

But they are not out of running and a draw was due to be held this morning to decide their opponent for a series later this year.

The winner will win the right to go to Tokyo.

The series will be played in New Zealand and its opponent will be one of four countries: Malaysia, France, Ireland or South Korea.

The series will be played at the end of next month.

Thank you to the ODT for the use of this article.