Chance for wider squad members to impress

Three uncapped players have been named in the Black Sticks men’s squad for an important tournament ahead of the Olympic Games.

The Black Sticks are heading to Malaysia to compete in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for the first time since 2019.

Luke Holmes, Jonty Elmes and Scott Cosslett will all get an opportunity to taste international hockey for the first time.

Veteran star Blair Tarrant is joined by fellow Otago players Malachi Buschl, Patrick Ward and Benji Culhane.

New Zealand will feature alongside hosts Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea, Canada and Japan at the May 4-11 tournament in Ipoh.

With several players unavailable due to European club commitments, head coach Greg Nicol said it was a chance to give the wider squad a chance to improve their match sharpness and push for selection for the Olympics.

"The recent camp gave us the opportunity to look at a number of players and were pleased with where the depth of the squad is at, which is reflected in the selections.

"We know that it will take a collective effort to perform in Paris and this series will be invaluable in making sure that we have a good number of players that will be prepared for the pinnacle tournament of our sport."

The Black Sticks leave for Malaysia on April 26, returning in mid-May for a week off before heading to Poland for the FIH Nations Cup.

They will then return to New Zealand to start the countdown to their opening game of the Olympics against India in Paris on July 28.

Black Sticks

The squad

George Enersen, Dom Dixon, Benji Culhane, Charlie Morrison, Blair Tarrant, David Brydon, Dane Lett, Scott Cosslett, Malachi Buschl, Joe Morrison, Hayden Phillips, Isaac Houlbrooke, Patrick Ward, George Baker, Scott Boyde, Luke Holmes, Jake Smith, Jonty Elmes