High hopes for strong ju­nior squad at worlds

Auckland City Harbour News - - SPORT -

A ta­lented hockey duo has been se­lected for the na­tional 18-strong squad which will com­pete at the Ju­nior Hockey World Cup.

Pt Che­va­lier for­ward Jared Panchia and cen­tral Auck­land mid­fielder Ben Radonovich will be part of the Ju­nior Black Sticks team tak­ing on the world’s best un­der-21 sides at the com­pe­ti­tion to be held from De­cem­ber 6 to 15 in In­dia.

Head coach Grant Ed­wards has in­cluded Black Sticks play­ers like 19-year-old Panchia along with young upand-com­ing tal­ent in his squad.

‘‘It’s a very strong and well­bal­anced team. We have a good mix of in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence with some ex­cit­ing new­com­ers,’’ Ed­wards says.

‘‘Our big­gest strength is cer­tainly our con­di­tion­ing. We have good strength in our de­fen­sive or­gan­i­sa­tion as well as ta­lented for­wards.’’

Panchia has 18 caps for the Black Sticks and is part of the cham­pi­onship-win­ning Auck­land side.

The ju­nior side will face tough com­pe­ti­tion in In­dia, he says.

‘‘We have a re­ally strong team and most of us have al­ready played to­gether which is a big pos­i­tive,’’ Panchia says. ‘‘The fact that we know our team­mates so well gives us an ad­van­tage and we’re very com­pet­i­tive as a team.’’

They will have a warm-up trip to Aus­tralia be­fore de­part­ing for In­dia.

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