Hockey: Batch makes four changes to men's Black Sticks

Simon Child during the international men's hockey test against India. Photo / Getty Images
Simon Child during the international men's hockey test against India. Photo / Getty Images

Black Sticks Men's head coach Colin Batch has made four changes to his side for this week's four test series against Korea at Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium in Auckland.

Following a series win over Malaysia in Tauranga, the Black Sticks continue their development in the lead-up to the Rio Olympic Games in August.

Veteran defender Bradley Shaw and striker Stephen Jenness come into the side, along with 18-year-old Central midfielder Hayden Phillips.

Striker Simon Child captains the team of 18 and will bring up his 250th test for New Zealand in Wednesday's opening game against Korea at 7pm.

Batch said it's an exciting time for the squad and the next four tests will further test their combinations and preparation.

"This is another strong group and we go into this series having answered a few questions of ourselves against Malaysia," Batch said.

"The addition of Bradley and Stephen will add another dynamic within the group while we are really excited about seeing a fantastic young talent in Hayden test himself at senior international level.

"We have an open selection policy and aren't afraid to look at our options even at this stage of our campaign. The most important thing for us is that we are able to assess our players and find the best group to send to the Rio Olympics."

Marcus Child, Jacob Smith and Jared Panchia come out of the extended team of 21 which played against Malaysia, along with defender Alex Shaw who had successful surgery on Thursday to repair a fractured cheek and eye socket he suffered in the third test.

The Black Sticks play Korea this Wednesday and Thursday at 7pm with a further two games on Saturday and Sunday at 3pm.

- NZ Herald

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