Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens has selected a young touring team for the forthcoming Investec Challenge taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, early next month.
The week-long tournament will see the Hockeyroos take on some of the world’s best in a 4-Nations test series. The Dutch are the number one ranked team in the world while England sits fourth.
“It’s going to be a real challenge for our group. Our opponents are really good sides and we’re always looking to find matches against the world’s best to continually challenge the group.” Commens said.
Previous encounters against the Dutch and South Africa have proven mixed. In 2012, the Hockeyroos managed one victory from three matches against the Dutch and two victories from two matches against South Africa. The Hockeyroos last encountered England in the 2011 Champions Trophy where they lost both outings.
A mix of youth and Olympic experience shapes the Hockeyroos touring group with one debutant and eight representatives from the London Games. 2013 national squad debutant Kirstin Johnson will make her debut for the Hockeyroos, with young gun Danielle Schubach back in the team.
“We’ve selected these two girls off the back of very strong Australian Hockey League performances last year and both players played an excellent International Super Series Hockey 9’s tournament in Perth.” Commens said.
A two year hiatus playing national league see’s the return of Victorian Kary Chau to the mix and she brings a lot of ability with her. “She’s worked very hard over the past few months and is now in career best shape. We believe she can add value to our team.” said Commens.
Jodie Schulz will look to kick-start her 2013 with plenty of goals and a solid defence. Commens has instilled a strong work ethic and discipline in his key defenders and the renewed confidence is paying off.
“Jodie had an outstanding London Olympic Games; she was our rock down back. She’s become a real leader of the team and regularly led the team in the Champions Challenge tournament post London which has got us back competing in the top echelon of hockey, the Champions Trophy.”
Commens believes “Jodie is developing into one of the best defenders in the world, if she’s not already there.”
The tour will provide the opportunity for young gun Kellie White to return from an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained in February last year.
“Kellie has done an exceptional job with her rehabilitation and has trained very hard for the last 3 months and is ready to go. We are very happy with her progress.” Commens said.
White is naturally nervous to return to the pitch after 9 months recovery but believes “it’s always exciting playing for Australia and being able to put on a Hockeyroos bodysuit is always a great honour.”
Practice matches (SAST)
Tues, 29 Jan 6pm: South Africa vs. Australia
Thurs, 31 Jan 6pm: England vs. Australia
Saturday, 2 Feb 6pm: Holland vs. Australia
Mon, 4 Feb 6pm: Holland vs. Australia
Mon, 4 Feb 8pm: South Africa vs. England
Tues, 5 Feb 6pm: Holland vs. England
Tues, 5 Feb 8pm: South Africa vs. Australia
Thurs, 7 Feb 6pm: England vs. Australia
Thurs, 7 Feb 8pm: South Africa v s Holland
Sat, 9 Feb 3 pm: Semi-Final 1
Sat, 9 Feb 5 pm: Semi-Final 2
Sun, 10 Feb 3 pm: Bronze Medal Match
Sun, 10 Feb 5 pm: Gold Medal Match
Hockeyroos team vs. South Africa
Teneal Attard (QLD), Fiona Boyce (WA), Kary Chau (VIC), Casey Eastham (NSW), Anna Flanagan (ACT), Bianca Greenshields (SA), Emily Hurtz (NSW), Kate Jenner (NSW), Kirstin Johnson (QLD), Rachael Lynch (VIC), Claire Messent (VIC), Georgia Nanscawen (VIC), Georgie Parker (SA), Danielle Schubach (VIC), Jodie Schulz (QLD), Emily Smith (NSW), Ashlee Wells (VIC), Kellie White (NSW)
Head Coach: Adam Commens
Assistant Coach: Stephen Davies
Assistant Coach: Jason Duff
Team Manager: Bethanie Allanson
Goal Keeping / Resource Coach: Mark Hickman
Physiotherapist: Jennifer Cooke
Hockey Australia media release
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