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Lett undecided on future

New Zealand’s Dane Lett competes with Rupert Shipperley of Wales during the fifth-sixth playoff at this year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

HOCKEY

Wairarapa hockey star Dane Lett is weighing up his international future.

For the first time since 2017, Lett’s name is missing from the Black Sticks squad, having made himself unavailable for personal reasons for the upcoming Pro League matches in India against the home team and Spain.

“I ruled myself out of this one a few weeks ago, because I thought it’s not just the right time to head away from home again,” Lett said.

“I’m weighing up what I want to do moving forward anyway, but I just thought the best thing was to give this one a miss, because I’ve been away a lot, and I’m away at another camp this week with work.”

Lett, 32, works for Hockey NZ in the performance network team, and with his work commitments also requiring significant time away from home, he said the timing of the World Cup to be played in India in January is unfavourable, and it would mean more time away from partner Kelsi Rutene and son Rio.

“It’s a good four weeks, and Rio is on school holidays, so there’s a bit of management around him, and you’re sort of taking away your summer from your family as well.

“If it was any other month it would be a lot better, and I would be keen to go. But I just have to see how it all fits, you can’t do it forever. I’ll weigh it all up and see what’s the best thing for everybody involved.

“Hockey NZ have been really good in letting me have some time to sort out what I want to do.”

Lett’s work with the Hockey NZ performance programme involves identifying future international players, and he is in Hamilton for a five-day Junior Black Sticks camp.

Three Wairarapa College students Alex Clark, Cohen Scott, and Hannah Donald, along with Dalefield premier men’s goalkeeper Xander Redgrave are involved in the under-18 programme, while former Waicol student Oliver Bunny, now studying at Canterbury University, is in the under-21 programme.

Should Lett make the call to pull the plug on his international career, it would leave him stranded one short of his century. Having made his international debut in 2014, he was then left out of the side until 2017.

Since his return, Lett has been an automatic selection as a defender.

He was on the cusp of bringing up his 100th international appearance at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, only to be left stranded on 99 games, after the rearrangement of some buildup games.

Lett hopes to make his decision on his World Cup availability over the next few weeks.

The 2023 men’s World Cup runs from January 14-30 with the ninth-ranked Black Sticks to face the Netherlands, Malaysia, and Chile in their pool.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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