(Photo: © FIH / Matias Aguirre)

The Black Sticks Men’s World Cup Squad of 21 has been announced for the Hero Honda FIH World Cup to be held in Delhi, India in March 2010.

The announcement of this squad comes just after the Black Sticks Men’s recent win at the BDO Champions Challenge in Argentina in December, giving them qualification into the World Cup. All the players who competed at Champions have been included, with the three additions being Priyesh Bhana, David Green (North Harbour) and Joel Baker (Wellington).

The youngest player to make the World Cup side is Midlands’s striker Hugo Inglis (18) who was named in the National Squad in October this year and who scored his first Black Sticks goal in match 2 against Belgium at the Champions Challenge. Making entry into this side from the Development squad is North Harbour player David Green (23), who, like Inglis is slowly building up his field time and no doubt expecting to hone his skills on the international stage.

Coach Shane McLeod completes his World Cup squad with his core of senior players including the likes of Ryan Archibald, Dean Couzins (Auckland), Phil Burrows (Wellington) and Blair Hopping (North Harbour) who have all played over 150 tests. The depth of these players will inject a good dose of experience into the side, providing strong leadership to the likes of Stephen Graham (8 caps) and David Green (9 caps).

Notable absences from this World Cup squad are Auckland player James Nation who has only just retired from international hockey and the Shaw brothers Hayden and Brad from Canterbury. Hayden is currently taking time off to concentrate on his teaching career, while younger brother Brad has made himself unavailable due to his wife expecting their first baby at the time of the World Cup.

Coach Shane McLeod who says “this is a well balanced squad that will only keep on improving” will select the final World Cup team of 18 on 31 January 2010, following a camp in early January.

Team New Zealand: Ryan Archibald, Priyesh Bhana, Joel Baker, Jo Bartholomew, Phillip Burrows, Simon Child, Ben Collier, Dean Couzins, Steve Edwards, Stephen Graham, David Green, Nick Haig, Andy Hayward, Blair Hilton, Blair Hopping, Hugo Inglis, Shea McAleese, Arun Panchia, Richard Petherick, Kyle Pontifex, Nick Wilson.

Source: Hockey New Zealand