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New Zealand Black Sticks name side for London Cup

[img_assist|nid=2398|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=151|height=64]New Zealand have named a squad of 18 players with an average of 106 international test caps each for the London Cup (July 12-16, 2011).

Coach Shane McLeod says, “We have been working hard to improve the fitness of the team – their agility, their speed and their stamina – and the results are pleasing. This will make a big difference come game time,” says McLeod.

With 15 test matches already played in 2011, the Black Sticks will depart Auckland on July 2 where they will play games in Europe against Pakistan, England A, and The Netherlands.

The team will then hit the bright lights of Chiswick for the London Cup (for ticketing details see here) to play Korea (world-ranked 6th), Belgium (13th) and England (4th).

“This is a very significant time in our programme for two reasons. Firstly, it allows us to test where we are currently sitting against top-ranked nations, and secondly, it highlights what areas of our game need attention leading up to London,” says McLeod.

Captain Phil Burrows says that with such an experienced side, it is not about development, they are there to compete and get good results.

“We don’t want to travel over there and put in a mediocre performance, the aim is to make the final in the Four Nations [London Cup]. To do that we have to turn our scoring opportunities into goals and make sure we are not conceding too many penalty corners,” says Burrows.

Dean Couzins and Shea McAleese have been named as vice captains. Other inclusions in the team include Simon Child who has returned from injury, as well as Capital’s Matt L’Huillier who with little test experience, showed huge potential in the Azlan Shah Tournament in Malaysia in May.

With all players now back from playing in the European league, 13 of the 18 players are currently training together in Auckland. 

New Zealand Squad for European tour and London Cup:

Shirt

Player

NHL Team

Position

Age

Caps

4

 

Nick Haig

Canterbury

Defender/Midfielder

24

79

5

 

Andy Hayward

Midlands

Defender

25

105

6

 

Simon Child

Auckland

Striker

23

145

7

 

Blair Hopping

Midlands

Defender

30

233

8

 

Dean Couzins (V Captain)

Auckland

Defender

30

230

9

 

Blair Hilton

Capital

Midfielder/Striker

21

55

12

 

Bradley Shaw

Canterbury

Defender

28

117

15

 

Stephen Graham

Midlands

Goal keeper

25

24

17

 

Kyle Pontifex

Capital

Goal keeper

31

124

18

 

 

Phillip Burrows (Captain)

Auckland

Striker/Midfielder

31

255

22

 

Blair Tarrant

Southern

Defender

21

37

24

 

Arun Panchia

Auckland

Midfielder

22

67

25

 

 

Shea McAleese (V Captain)

Central

Midfielder

26

133

26

Matt L’Huillier

Capital

Defender

23

7

27

 

Stephen Jenness

Capital

Striker

21

25

29

 

Hugo Inglis

Southern

Striker

20

56

31

 

Steve Edwards

North Harbour

Midfielder

25

125

32

 

Nick Wilson

Central

Striker

20

86

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