The Otago production line has rolled out another New
Nick Ross has been picked to make his Black Sticks debut at
the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia next month.
Ross (22), now playing for Midlands, continues a family
tradition. Father Dave, a teacher at King's High School, was
also a national representative, and sister Courtney is in the
Junior Black Sticks wider squad.
The midfielder joins fellow Otago Boys' High School products
Hugo Inglis, Blair Tarrant and Kane Russell in the national
Ross, who earns promotion from the national development
squad, said he was excited about being named by coach Colin
Batch in the Black Sticks.
''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.
''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.''
Cory Bennett (North Harbour) has also been picked for a
debut, while Isaac Staples (Canterbury) has been included in
the side after an impressive showing at the recent national
Classy defender Dean Couzins will again captain the New
Zealand side, which edged Argentina 1-0 to win last year's
Azlan Shah final.
Veterans Phil Burrows, Shea McAleese, Nick Haig, Richard
Petherick and Brad Shaw are being rested for New Zealand's
first tournament of 2013. This also allows players to play
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 open their Azlan Shah account against
Pakistan on March 9. Australia, India, Korea and Malaysia are
also taking part in the tournament.