3 Jun 2016

Eight Olympic debutants named in Black Sticks

3:10 pm on 3 June 2016

There's plenty of international experience in the New Zealand men's hockey team selected for the Rio Olympics.

The 16 strong team includes four players who will be playing at their third Olympic Games and another four who will be playing in their second.

Captain Simon Child, Ryan Archibald, Shea McAleese and Bradly Shaw who between them played almost a thousand tests for the Black Sticks will compete at their third Olympics.

Simon Child will bring up his 250th test for the Black Sticks.

Black Sticks captain Simon Child is one of four players in the team who will be playing at their third Olympics. Photo: Photosport

Eight members of the squad will be playing at their first Olympics including 18-year-old Levin midfielder Hayden Phillips who made his Black Sticks debut against Korea earlier this year.

The New Zealand men's team is fortunate to have made it to Rio, having initially failed to qualify for the tournament.

However South Africa's withdrawal opened the way for them to join the New Zealand women's team which is a medal contender.

The head coach Colin Batch said the naming the team now gives the group time to work together.

"We have named our team early which gives us extra time to prepare and train together as a unit. I believe we are in a good position to accelerate our development, both individually and also as a team," Batch said.

"Our team is well balanced with eight new Olympians and eight having experienced Olympic competition before, although Rio does offer many more challenges than what athletes experienced at London 2012.

"It is not just about coping with the environment, but all teams face tough competition in both men's pools. Hockey has developed into a global sport and the depth and consistency of the competition means there is no easy path to securing a quarter finals spot.

"However, I'm confident that we can perform well and be a strong contender at the business end of the tournament."

The New Zealand men's team will be in action on the opening day of competition playing one of the tournament favourites, Australia, in their opening match.

Simon Child, Ryan Archibald,James Coughlan, Blair Hilton, Hugo Inglis, Stephen Jenennes, Devon Manchester, Shea McAleese, Shay Neal, Arun Panchia, Hayden Phillips, Kane Russell, Bradley Shaw, Blair Tarrant, Nick Wilson, Nic Woods.