The Fans of HockeyEventsAzlan Shah CupBatch Named Young Black Sticks Squad to Defend Azlan Shah Title

Black Sticks Men’s head coach Colin Batch has selected an exciting young side to compete at the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia next month.

Nick Ross (Photo credit: Photosport)

Nick Ross will debut for New Zealand (Photo credit: Photosport)

Cory Bennett (North Harbour) and Nick Ross (Midlands) are set to make their Black Sticks debuts while Isaac Staples (Canterbury) has been included in the side after an impressive showing at the recent national training camp.

Classy defender Dean Couzins will again captain the New Zealand side, which edged Argentina 1-0 to win last year’s Azlan Shah final.

Batch has taken the opportunity to give several up and coming players valuable experience ahead of key tournaments later this year.

“We are coming off an extremely positive training camp with a number of new players performing well who certainly deserve their place in the team,” he said.

“The camp was a really encouraging gauge of where everyone is at and I am impressed with the quality of young talent we have coming through. Tournament experience is a crucial part of developing future success and Azlan Shah will be another step forward in that plan.”

Debutant Nick Ross, who has come into the side from the National Development Squad, said he was excited about being named to play for the Black Sticks. He continues a family tradition, with father Dave a former Black Stick and sister Courtney currently in the Junior Black Sticks wider squad.

“Colin told me after the last session at training camp that I’d made the side. It was a bit of a surprise but I was really happy when he told me,” the 22-year-old midfielder said.

“I’ve worked pretty hard all summer and it was a goal of mine to be selected for the Azlan Shah team. I can’t wait to make my debut and start collecting some caps in what I hope will be a long career.

“I’d love to be able to go well at Azlan Shah and consolidate a spot with my long term goal to play at the Rio Olympics in 2016.”

Veterans Phil Burrows, Shea McAleese, Nick Haig, Richard Petherick and Brad Shaw all impressed at the week-long training camp but are being rested for New Zealand’s first tournament of 2013. This also allows players to compete for their European club sides.

Simon Child, Nick Wilson and Steven Edwards declared themselves unavailable for selection due to European club commitments with Rotterdam HC.

The Black Sticks Squad

Shirt #

Player Name Region Position

Age

Caps

2

Cory Bennett North Harbour Defender

21

13

Marcus Child Auckland Midfielder

21

18

1

James Coughlan North Harbour Midfielder

22

16

8

Dean Couzins (c) Auckland Defender

31

266

5

Andy Hayward Midlands Defender

27

137

9

Blair Hilton Capital Midfielder

23

80

29

Hugo Inglis Southern Forward

22

87

27

Stephen Jenness Capital Forward

22

65

20

Devon Manchester Auckland Goalkeeper

23

2

16

Hamish McGregor Southern Goalkeeper

25

5

23

Shay Neal Northland Midfielder

22

27

24

Arun Panchia Auckland Midfielder

23

89

21

Kane Russell Southern Defender

20

8

19

Alex Shaw Auckland Defender

23

6

22

Blair Tarrant Southern Defender

22

59

7

Nick Ross Midlands Midfielder

22

11

Jacob Smith Capital Forward

21

6

10

Isaac Staples Canterbury Forward

22

5

Black Sticks

 

The Black Sticks open their Azlan Shah account against Pakistan on Saturday March 9th with Australia, India, Korea and Malaysia also taking part in the tournament.

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