New Zealand men's hockey coach Colin Batch has made it clear
he's searching for the next group of Black Sticks as he looks
to the 2016 Olympic Games.
Batch has selected eight new players including debutants
Jacob Smith (Capital), Alex Shaw (Auckland) and goalkeeper
Devon Manchester (Auckland) for next month's Champions Trophy
to be held in Melbourne in December.
Goalkeeper Hamish McGregor (Southern), who has one
international test cap, also made the side that will once
again be captained by Dean Couzins.
"There are a number of players who I believe need a shot -
some just missed out on Olympic selection, others are younger
players who I think have real talent and something to offer
this side going forward," said Batch, who was head coach for
Belgium at the London Olympics and previously assistant coach
"There will be opportunities next year for other athletes to
prove themselves. We will obviously continue to search and
develop talent so we have players really pushing and
competing for national selection," says Batch.
The team named for this year's Champions Trophy includes
eight new players from the 16 who played at the Olympics -
Blair Tarrant, Jacob Smith, Hamish McGregor, Devon
Manchester, Alex Shaw, James Coughlan, Arun Panchia and Matt
There is still plenty of experience with 11 having played at
last year's Champions Trophy and five have more than 150
international test caps.
With a number of players competing in the European club
season, and only returning to New Zealand on the 21 November,
there will be just a short time spent together as a team
before they depart.
"Ideally, we would have had a longer build-up but, because of
the Olympics and the timing of the Champions Trophy with the
European season, we will spend the week we have focussing on
set pieces and team cohesion," Batch said.
The week after the team returns from Melbourne, the 2013
national squad of 25 players will be announced alongside a
development squad of 10 players.
Ranked sixth, the Black Sticks will have to improve on their
Olympic performance to have a chance of finishing in the top
five at this tournament and qualifying for the next Champions
Trophy in 2014.
They open their campaign against Olympic gold medallists
Germany, before games against England (ranked fourth), India
(11th) and a quarter-final. Australia, Netherlands, Belgium
and Pakistan are in Pool B.
New Zealand squad for the Champions Trophy hockey tournament
in Melbourne from December 1-9: James Coughlan (North
Harbour), Nick Haig (Canterbury), Simon Child (Auckland),
Blair Hopping (Midlands), Dean Couzins (c - Auckland), Jacob
Smith (Capital), Hamish McGregor (Southern), Phil Burrows
(Auckland), Alex Shaw (Auckland), Devon Manchester
(Auckland), Blair Tarrant (Southern), Arun Panchia
(Auckland), Shea McAleese (Central), Matt L'Huillier
(Capital), Stephen Jenness (Capital), Hugo Inglis (Southern),
Steve Edwards (North Harbour), Nick Wilson (Central).