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Top Class Black Sticks Named for Men's World Cup

BDO Hockey World Cup Men Germany, 2006

P R E S S R E L E A S E

TOP CLASS BLACK STICKS SIDE NAMED FOR MEN’S WORLD CUP

Tuesday, 18 July, 2006

National Men’s Hockey Coach Kevin Towns has named an experienced and well performed line up to compete at the World Cup in Germany in September.

Sixteen of the players announced today were part of the successful team that won the World Cup Qualifying Tournament in China in April. Ten are Athens Olympians.

The average age is 25 and the average cap 75.

The side has international class and experience across all lines.

The team’s goal keeping depth is excellent. Paul Woolford (Auckland), is well recognised on the world stage, while his improving understudy Kyle Pontifex (Wellington) provides solid backup.

Aucklander Dean Couzins and Cantabrian Hayden Shaw will continue a growing partnership as the team’s two starting full backs, while Midlands 20-year-old Richard Petherick has won the third position in deep defence, after showing strong development in his game at the recent Azlan Shah Tournament in Malaysia.

Coach Kevin Towns said Petherick had also worked hard to improve his drag flick which was an additional factor in moving him into contention for the third spot.

Recently introduced Wellington defender Scott Falconer did not make the final balance of the side, but remains strongly in the national frame, building towards the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

In the half line Towns has opted for North Harbour’s Blair Hopping as his preferred centre half, in recognition of his outstanding distribution and world class defence.

Hopping will be flanked by two of three options. They are Canterbury’s Brad Shaw who Towns says has gone from strength to strength and was a big part of the Black Sticks’ defence at the World Cup Qualifier; Wellington’s James Nation who Towns describes as “the consummate professional” with the versatility to move forward or back positionally; and Canterbury’s Shea McAleese, whose selection is however subject to reaching satisfactory levels of conditioning.

“Shea struggled a bit in Changzhou at the Qualifier, but has since given thought to his game. He is bracketed with Hugh Copland (Canterbury) and Shaun Barnett (North Harbour) and is subject to further testing,” Towns said. Experienced Aucklander Wayne McIndoe was unavailable for selection due to work commitments.

Towns describes his midfield as one of the strongest he has named.

Captain Ryan Archibald will provide outstanding playmaking and go forward at either right or left inside forward, while also providing back up at centre midfield.

Wellington’s Mitesh Patel returns further attacking class and experience to the midfield. Patel was one of the New Zealand standouts at the Athens Olympics and made a welcome return to the Black Sticks at June’s Azlan Shah Tournament, after a year’s break due to work commitments.

The third midfielder, North Harbour Bryce Collins has been a top contributor to the team this year and returns from a groin injury which kept him out of the most recent tournament, the Azlan Shah. Talented understudy, 22-year-old Ben Collier, from North Harbour, completes the midfield.

Towns is also very excited about the potential of his strike force, particularly with the return of Wellington’s Phil Burrows who stood out from the Azlan Shah tournament to make a full recovery from a groin strain and also heal a compound fracture of his hand suffered in the final game of the World Cup Qualfier.

“Alongside him, Gareth Brooks has made huge strides for us this year, Lloyd Stephenson has stepped up the plate, Bevan Hari provides enormous experience as the highest capped player in the side and Simon Child continues the strong development of his game,” he says.

“I am really excited about our goal scoring potential. Our new Assistant Coach Shane McLeod has introduced more form to our attack and I think we will go from strength to strength in this area,” he says.

Towns is also pleased with the levels of drag flick options within the side, and gives credit to Matt Ingram for his recent biomechanical work with key players Hayden Shaw, Brad Shaw, Richard Petherick and Shea McAleese, (bunt flick variation)
The combination of the four provides New Zealand with a great range and quality of penalty corner options.

Towns said the team has set itself a goal of winning a medal at the World Cup, which will be played from September 6 – 17 in Monchengladbach.

World Cup Black Sticks team:

Ryan Archibald (captain), Gareth Brooks, Simon Child, Dean Couzins, Paul Woolford (Auckland); Shea McAleese, Bradley Shaw, Hayden Shaw (Canterbury); Bevan Hari (Cardiff,Wales); Mitesh Patel (Hampstead & Westminster); Richard Petherick (Midlands); Ben Collier, Bryce Collins, Blair Hopping, Lloyd Stephenson (North Harbour); Phil Burrows, James Nation, Kyle Pontifex (Wellington).

--

Shirt # Player Name NHL Team Age Caps Position
2 Mitesh Patel Hampstead (UK) 30 126 Midfielder
6 Simon Child Auckland 18 24 Striker
7 Blair Hopping North Harbour 26 128 Midfielder
8 Dean Couzins Auckland 25 102 Defender
10 (C) Ryan Archibald Auckland 25 160 Midfielder
12 Bradley Shaw Canterbury 23 24 Defender
14 Bevan Hari Cardiff (UK) 31 170 Striker
16 Paul Woolford Auckland 29 98 Goalkeeper
17 Kyle Pontifex Wellington 26 32 Goalkeeper
18 Phillip Burrows Wellington 26 141 Striker
19 Hayden Shaw Canterbury 25 87 Defender
20 James Nation Wellington 30 46 Defender
21 Bryce Collins North Harbour 28 33 Midfielder
22 Lloyd Stephenson North Harbour 25 46 Striker
24 Gareth Brooks Auckland 27 65 Striker
25 Shea McAleese Canterbury 22 33 Defender
28 Richard Petherick Midlands 20 17 Defender
30 Ben Collier North Harbour 22 26 Midfielder
Coach: Kevin Towns
Manager: Kevin Marr
Assistant Coach: Shane McLeod
Physiotherapist: Gerard Guillen
Video Analyst: Darren Smith
Trainer: John Lythe

ENDS

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