8 Jun 2017

European based players bolster Black Sticks

3:59 pm on 8 June 2017

A number of players have returned from Europe to be selected in the New Zealand men's hockey side to contest the World League semi-final in South Africa next month.

Darren Smith has been appointed coach of the men's Black Sticks.

Black Sticks men's coach Darren Smith Photo: Photosport

Shea McAleese, Blair Tarrant, Hugo Inglis, Nic Woods, Jacob Smith, Marcus Child and Jared Panchia are all back in black for the first time this year.

The tournament also marks the first taste of international hockey since the Rio Olympic Games for talented 19-year-old Hayden Phillips who has now fully recovered from an ankle injury.

Experienced defender Nick Haig also comes back into the fray after suffering a broken foot during the home test series against Pakistan earlier this year.

Several players were not considered through injury or unavailability including Simon Child, James Coughlan, Blair Hilton and Brad Read.

Coach Darren Smith said the final selections were extremely tough with the competition for spots high among the squad.

"There were some tough calls and some extremely good players missed out, but that's a great problem to have as it shows there is some depth within the squad," he said.

"We are looking forward to the challenge of the World League Semi Final, it will be a high pressure environment and we know that we will need to be at our peak to get the results needed."

The Black Sticks are joined in Pool A by reigning world champions Australia, Spain, Japan and France.

Pool B has Rio silver medallists Belgium take on Rio bronze medallists Germany, reigning African champions South Africa, Ireland and Egypt.

Ten teams will take part in two Semi Final tournaments, with the other Men's event being held in London.

Results across both Semi Finals will determine contenders for the 2017 Hockey World League Final, while the top 10 finishers gain qualification for the 2018 Hockey World Cup. Both events will be hosted in Bhubaneswar, India.

Teams will also be awarded FIH World Ranking points from the World League Semi Final, which could prove crucial in relation to qualification for future events.


3 David BRYDON Canterbury Defender 20 19

13 Marcus CHILD Auckland Midfielder 25 94

4 Nick HAIG Canterbury Defender 29 201

29 Hugo INGLIS Southern Striker 25 186

27 Stephen JENNESS Capital Striker 26 184

8 Richard JOYCE North Harbour Goalkeeper 24 21

12 Sam LANE Canterbury Striker 20 16

20 Devon MANCHESTER Auckland Goalkeeper 27 106

25 Shea McALEESE Central Defender 32 243

30 George MUIR North Harbour Midfielder 22 65

24 Arun PANCHIA Auckland Defender 27 218

14 Jared PANCHIA Auckland Striker 23 55

31 Hayden PHILLIPS Central Midfielder 19 23

7 Nick ROSS Southern Midfielder 26 54

21 Kane RUSSELL Southern Defender 24 97

11 Jacob SMITH Capital Striker 25 62

22 Blair TARRANT Southern Defender 26 162

17 Nic WOODS Midlands Defender 21 60