Black Sticks Men’s Coach Shane McLeod has selected his best team combination for the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy being held in Germany later this year.
The ABN AMRO Champions Trophy is the second elite international event the Black Sticks Men are competing in this year, and McLeod will field his full strength combination.
“We will be matching up with the best in the world, so it’s vital we have the best of Black Sticks talent on the field at any one time to bring it home at the business end,” says McLeod.
Both of the Shaw brothers are in the team (Hayden and Brad), along with Simon Child – all of whom did not attend the Hero Honda FIH World Cup earlier in the year. Also, captain Phil Burrows is back to full match fitness, after suffering a leg fracture during the Hero Honda FIH World Cup.
The ABN AMRO Champions Trophy team also includes new cap Blair Tarrant, from the Development Squad. Twenty-year-old Tarrant is currently based in Wellington, studying business management. McLeod said he selected Tarrant for this team, because he has outstanding composure for his age.
“Blair has a good understanding of the game, which I know will help him play to his best at the top level.”
McLeod will have the full complement of players back on New Zealand turf in June, when several of the more experienced players return from playing in various league competitions in Europe.
He says the likes of Ryan Archibald, Simon Child, Dean Couzins, Phil Burrows and Andy Hayward will have gained valuable experience while playing overseas and it will have given them a further taste of the competition they will face in the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy.
The ABN AMRO Champions Trophy is being held in Monchengladbach, Germany from 31 July to 8 August. The Black Sticks Men will compete against the toughest hockey teams at present – these are Australia (current world champions), Germany (2nd), Netherlands (3rd), Spain (4th) and England (5th).
Prior to the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy, the Black Sticks Men will be competing in the European 4-Nations event in Nottingham, England from 12-17 July against Japan, Germany and England.
McLeod says he’s looking at this event as a way to further build depth in the squad, and therefore has selected a combination that includes less experienced players, to ensure they get some game time at international level.
Team New Zealand for ABN AMRO Champions Trophy: Nick Haig, Andy Hayward, Simon Child, Blair Hopping, Dean Couzins, Ryan Archibald, Brad Shaw, Blair Hilton, Stephen Graham, Kyle Pontifex, Phil Burrows, Hayden Shaw, Blair Tarrant, Arun Panchia, Shea McAleese, Hugo Inglis, Steve Edwards, Nick Wilson.
Team New Zealand for 4 nations tournament: David Green, Joseph Bartholomew, Nick Haig, Andy Hayward, Simon Child, Brad Shaw, Blair Hilton, Joel Baker, Stephen Graham, Blair Tarrant, Arun Panchia, Shea McAleese, Stephen Jenness, Richard Petherick, Hugo Inglis, Steve Edwards, Nick Wilson, One player TBC.
Source: Hockey New Zealand
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