Suc­cess with se­lec­tor

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Tae­lar Sa­muel and Matt Sy­monds ad­mit mak­ing their re­spec­tive na­tional un­der-18 hockey squads was the easy part – now the hard work re­ally be­gins.

The duo are among just a hand­ful of Welling­ton play­ers to make the grade fol­low­ing the re­cent un­der18 na­tional tour­na­ment. While Sa­muel’s young Welling­ton side came 10th, be­low their own ex­pec­ta­tions, Sy­monds’ team played out of their skin, nar­rowly los­ing to Auck­land in the fi­nal.

Al­though he plays in the tough cen­tre-half po­si­tion, he says be­ing part of a team that was per­form­ing well did his chances the world of good.

Earn­ing New Zealand se­lec­tion was not at the fore­front of their minds, more of a re­ward af­ter ex­cel­lent sea­sons.

‘‘It’s not some­thing I was re­ally think­ing about a lot, but I was pretty happy when I found out,’’ Sy­monds says. ‘‘They ac­tu­ally an­nounced it on the [NZ Hockey] web­site, so I was get­ting texts about it be­fore I even knew my­self.’’

Both will go to a train­ing camp in Christchurch in Oc­to­ber, where num­bers will be culled be­fore a test se­ries against Aus­tralia.

‘‘Mak­ing the New Zealand team was the easy part, now we have to work hard to keep our spots,’’ Sa­muel, one of three goalies se­lected, says. Nei­ther can wait to take on the Aussies, pit­ting them­selves against a coun­try that reg­u­larly pro­duces world cham­pion hockey sides.

The for­mer Plim­mer­ton School pupils, now at Mana Col­lege ( Sa­muel) and Welling­ton Col­lege (Sy­monds), will spend the rest of win­ter play­ing club and school hockey, with a train­ing regime in place to en­sure they stay at the top of their games. Sa­muel is al­ready a Welling­ton rep­re­sen­ta­tive, while this is the next goal for Sy­monds.

Hockey reps: Matt Sy­monds and Tae­lar Sa­muel will likely don their coun­try’s colours against Aus­tralia later this year, af­ter both caught the se­lec­tor’s eye dur­ing the na­tion­als last month.

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