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News for 12 February 2020

All the news for Wednesday 12 February 2020

2020 Test matches RSA v USA (M)
Durban (RSA)

8 Feb 2020     RSA v USA     4 - 2
9 Feb 2020     RSA v USA     2 - 1
11 Feb 2020     RSA v USA     6 - 3
12 Feb 2020      RSA v USA     5 - 1

FIH Match Centre

SA Hockey Men make it three out of three against USA

The SA Hockey Men made it three out of three with a 6-3 win over USA in the penultimate test match at Ashton College in Ballito. The victory confirmed a series victory for the hosts with one game remaining in the four-match showdown.

Things did not start well for the South Africans on Le-Neal Jacksons debut, USA emerged with a fire in the belly and opened the scoring through a superb reverse stick finish by Michael Barminski Jr giving Rassie Pieterse no chance in the SA goal. Although that goal created a nervous tension in the stands, it did not translate onto the field. The hosts showed a massive degree of patience and calmness and slowly exerted their dominance onto the game. They pulled level in the tenth minute. Bili Ntuli drove through the middle before passing to Dayaan Cassiem, the older Cassiem brother then turned to create space and fired a bullet into the bottom corner.

1-1 quickly became 2-1 to the African Champions as Bili Ntuli pounced on a rebound and finished expertly. The striker then doubled his teams lead and his own tally in the game in the second quarter when he collected a cross from Nic Spooner and turned strongly to create space and time for a wonderful finish. It was Ntuli’s 18th International goal in his 49th appearance for the country.

The South Africans should really have stamped their authority on the game and taken it home from there, but the Americans showed why they are a great test for the African men, continuing to fight and show determination. Against the run of play they got themselves back into the game. A blistering penalty corner was saved onto the cross bar by Pieterse, but the rebound was tucked away by the onrushing Jonathan Orozco.

The South Africans re-established their two-goal cushion when Taine Paton and Jethro Eustice combined to set up a Mustapha Cassiem diving deflection that was both aesthetically pleasing and crowd calming. It was the first time that both Cassiem brothers had scored in the same test, much to the delight of their family and the Ashton College crowd.

But once again the South Africans forgot their security conscious nature and left the back door unlocked for the Americans to close the gap through another Aki Kaeppeler penalty corner that Siya Nolutshungu would probably have felt he should have kept out.

The victory, however, was not going to be denied and Dayaan Cassiem made sure of that with an element of luck. His drive to the baseline created space for a cross which appeared destined for a tap in goal for Clinton Panther but a deflection off a USA defender meant the goal went in for Cassiem instead. The South Africans also added one more through a rocket from Daniel Bell at a late penalty corner that gave the score-line the gloss it probably deserved.

The two teams square up tomorrow (Wednesday) at 09:00 for the final game of the series before the Americans will head home and the South Africans, with several changes, will head to Johannesburg to take on Germany in four tests at Wits University.

SA Hockey Association media release

Quick Start Not Enough as USMNT Falls to South Africa in Third Game

DURBAN, South Africa – Following an off day, the No. 24 U.S. Men’s National Team and No. 14 South Africa took the pitch at Ashton International College in Durban, South Africa excited for their third meeting of the series. USA came out quick, scoring in the second minute, and kept the game close until South Africa produced three goals within a 6-minute succession as the red, white and blue fell 3-6.

After absorbing the opening attack from South Africa, USA made the most of their first offensive chance. In the 2nd minute, Ajai Dhadwal (Agoura Hills, Calif.) swept the perfectly threaded ball through to Michael Barminski (Ventura, Calif.) at the top of the circle. He turned and fired a backhand into the corner to give USA an opening 1-0 lead. Some back and forth play followed for both teams, and USA had a chance to add another on a backhand shot by that was saved by South Africa goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse. The hosts started to gain momentum and their offensive control showed when they scored two back-to-back goals within a minute. The first came in the 10th minute, when Dayaam Cassieum’s backhand from the top found the corner of the goal and the second was a tip in by Nqobile Ntuli. The first quarter stood in favor of South Africa, 1-3.

The second frame proceeded with South Africa holding much of the possession. Their offensive threats did not go uncontested as the defensive unit of Mohan Gandhi (Ventura, Calif.), Aki Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany) and USA goalkeeper Jonathan Klages (Berlin, Germany) continued to disrupt the play. In the 19th minute, Ntuli added a second after receiving the ball at the top of the circle and burying a low, hard backhand. Both sides had final connections on attack go untouched in the remaining minutes, but it was the home team who registered a few more shots on goal.

Ownership shifted in the third quarter with USA holding the advantage. Klages was tested a few times, as South Africa earned four penalty corners, but it was the red, white and blue who converted on their first penalty corner. In the 43rd minute, a fake drag by A. Kaeppeler was picked up by Kei Kaeppeler (Stuttgart, Germany) whose high drag hit off the post but Johnny Orozco (Ventura, Calif.) was there to finish and make it 2-3. Although South Africa immediately took possession into their end and earned a penalty corner, USA maintained their offensive mindset to close out the quarter.

A one goal game heading into the fourth quarter, the intensity continued to rise. USA remained patient when with the ball but the quick passing and ability to capitalize on turnovers benefited South Africa. The hosts extended their lead in the 51st minute when a long ball into the circle was touched by a diving Mustaphaa Cassiem. USA responded four minutes later off a penalty corner drag from A. Kaeppeler, but that was short lived as only a minute following South Africa capitalized on a lapse in USA’s defense when D. Cassiem extended the lead to 3-5. South Africa added one final goal in the 57th minute off a penalty corner through Daniel Bell to secure the hard fought 3-6 win.

"It was nice to get an early goal and to see the team with lengthy periods of good positive hockey," said Rutger Wiese, USMNT Head Coach. "It was tough to concede so many goals in the fourth quarter which resulted in a disappointing outcome for the amount of work the team put in."

The U.S. Men’s National Team and South Africa will go head-to-head tomorrow, Wednesday, February 12 at 2:00 a.m. ET in their final match of the series. Fans can tune in and watch live stream coverage and replays of the series on Shoott South Africa's Facebook page.

USFHA media release

2019 FIH Men's Coach of the Year: An uncompromising attitude to success

As a player for the Australia national team, Colin Batch was an uncompromising striker who, until 2009, held the record for the fastest hat trick in Champions Trophy history (8 minutes for three goals). As Head Coach to the Kookaburras, he takes the same tough stance with his players and in his approach to every game. “We have our own very high expectations,” he said in an interview ahead of a FIH Hockey Pro League clash with Belgium. “Every time we go out, we set out to achieve as highly as we can.”

Batch was appointed Head Coach to the Australia national men’s team in December 2016, following a three-year spell coaching the New Zealand men’s team. Early in his coaching career he had been assistant coach to the Kookaburras during a remarkable successful period in their history that had seen them win Olympic gold in 2004 and silver at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

During his four-year tenure, the team has definitely continued to find ways to win. The Kookaburras won gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the 2018 Champions Trophy, the 2019 Oceania Cup – where they qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – and the first edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League. They also beat England 8-1 on route to bronze in the 2018 Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup. The team has also been in a back and forth battle with Belgium over the number one position in the FIH World Rankings.

Over the past four years, Batch has built on the legacy of a winning mentality within his squad which means that every game is viewed as a cup final. During that time, the squad has seen the departure of some key players but, with his unerring eye for spotting talent as it comes through, Batch has built a team that he feels has a great opportunity to repeat last season’s FIH Hockey Pro League success and to make a big impact in Tokyo later in the year.

How did Colin Batch learn that he had won the award? Watch the video here!

And: here's a video interview of Colin Batch after receiving the award.


FIH site

Colin Batch crowned FIH 2019 Coach of the Year

The Kookaburras’ stellar 2019 has been officially recognised with Head Coach Colin Batch named the FIH Men’s Coach of the Year.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) just publicly announced Batch as the recipient of the award, 24 hours after Hockeyroo Rachael Lynch won the FIH Female Goalkeeper of the Year.

While aware that the FIH’s announcement of the coach award was imminent, the usually calm and composed Batch was taken aback when Kookaburras co-captains Eddie Ockenden and Aran Zalewski made the surprise presentation to him in front of the squad after training.

Batch becomes just the second Australian alongside Ric Charlesworth to win the award that was first presented in 2014 and is determined by an FIH panel.

“It’s a great honour to be named and the way I look at it, it is recognition of the whole program and what the Kookaburras have achieved over the last 12 months,” said Batch.

“Last year was great to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and also win the inaugural Pro League title…we really enjoyed playing in the competition.”

Having taken the Kookaburras to the number one world ranking at the end of a year that also saw him become a grandparent for the first time, Batch acknowledged it would not be possible without his support network headlined by his family.

“I get great support from my wife Linda, my kids and their extended family, and also my mum and brothers over in Melbourne,” said Batch.

“You don’t get into these positions by chance. I have had a lot of good support along the way and I want to acknowledge Hockey Australia, they appointed me three years ago and I’m really enjoying working with the Kookaburras. I also want to thank FIH for making this award possible.”

“These Kookaburras players are a great group to train and to coach. We have a good time…it’s often challenging and sometimes you have difficult conversations with each other, but by and large we have the one goal and that is to improve.

“Finally, the other thing I need to acknowledge is that while I am the head of the program, I have some great staff to work with. They are first class and I really see this as an award for everyone, not just me as a coach.”

In a decade long playing career with the Kookaburras that included winning the 1986 World Cup, Batch started coaching in 2001 and took over the reins of Australia’s men’s team in 2016 following head coach appointments with Belgium and New Zealand.

“From the time Colin was appointed Kookaburras coach he has been exemplary in the way he has led the coaching element of the program and built a positive and unified culture among the group,” said Hockey Australia President Melanie Woosnam.

“Being a successful coach at the elite level requires much more than just overseeing what happens on the pitch these days, and this award is testament to Colin’s continual striving for excellence, improvement and getting the best out of not only himself but the staff and players around him.”

Meanwhile, Kookaburras goalkeeper Tyler Lovell has come runner up in the FIH Goalkeeper of the Year Award (Men) to Belgium’s Vincent Vanasch.


Hockey Australia media release

2019 FIH Men's Goalkeeper of the Year: Belgium’s Vanasch three times a winner

Belgium’s Vincent Vanasch has been named as the 2019 FIH Men's Goalkeeper of the Year, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) can reveal. The Red Lions shot-stopper took the prize ahead of Australia’s Tyler Lovell and Victor Aly of Germany, who finished second and third respectively.

Vincent Vanasch has made history as the first goalkeeper to win three consecutive FIH Goalkeeper of the Year awards. In winning the title for the third time, the Belgium goalkeeper has cemented his reputation as the best ‘keeper in the world at the moment. At 33-years of age, Vanasch remains at the top of his game and, if selected, will be looking to compete in his third Olympic Games later this year.

With more than 230 international caps to his name, Vanasch has been with the Belgium squad throughout their exciting journey over the past eight years. From a fifth-place finish at the London 2012 Olympics to silver at Rio 2016. The Red Lions were crowned World Cup winners in 2018 and took over top spot in the FIH World Rankings in December 2018. The success continued throughout 2019 for both Belgium and Vanasch.

The team finished in second place in the FIH Pro League, behind Australia, before they stormed to victory in front of an exuberant home crowd at the Belfius EuroHockey Championships. Vanasch was voted Goalkeeper of the Tournament at the end of that triumphant event. The first-place finish – which came courtesy of a dominant 5-0 win over Spain in the final - sealed Belgium’s spot at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

In a move that underlines Vanasch’s determination to keep setting himself new targets, Vanasch has recently moved clubs from Waterloo Ducks to Rott-Weiss Cologne. Praise for the Belgium ‘keeper’s approach to his craft comes from his club coach André Henning: “Vincent’s achievements and success speak for themselves. His sober nature, his hard work, his extremely high will to win and his enthusiasm for work make us all enthusiastic.”

Vote results:

1st place: Vincent Vanasch (BEL)

    39.3% of all National Association votes
    28.6% of all Media votes
    40.8% of all Fans / Players votes
    37% of all combined votes

2nd place: Tyler Lovell (AUS)

    16.7% of the National Associations votes
    55.8% of the Media votes
    17.3% of the Fans / Players votes
    26.6% of all combined votes

3rd place: Victor Aly (GER)

    18.2% of the National Associations votes
    3.9% of the Media votes
    12.4% of the Fans / Players votes
    13.2% of all combined votes

How did Vincent Vanasch learn that he had won the award? Watch it here.

And here's a video interview with Vincent Vanasch after receiving the award.


FIH site

Vanasch named the 2019 FIH Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year

Belgium’s Vincent Vanasch has been named as the 2019 FIH Men’s Goalkeeper of the Year for a third successive year.

The Red Lions shot-stopper took the prize ahead of Australia’s Tyler Lovell and Victor Aly – of Rot-Weiss Köln and Germany – who finished second and third respectively.

Vanasch has made history as the first goalkeeper to win three consecutive FIH Goalkeeper of the Year awards. It came following an epic 2019 in which he helped Waterloo Ducks win the Euro Hockey League as well as secure the European Championships for the first time.

He was named goalkeeper of the tournament at the Euros which included a clean sheet in a 5-0 final win over Spain, sealing Belgium’s place at the Olympic Games.

Australia’s Rachael Lynch, meanwhile, won the FIH Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year award in a year when the hockeyroos landed silver in the Pro League and qualified for the Olympics.

Euro Hockey League media release

Rachael Lynch named FIH 2019 Female Goalkeeper of the Year

Hockeyroo Rachael Lynch has claimed arguably the biggest individual honour of her career after being announced as the FIH Female Goalkeeper of the Year for 2019.

Lynch won the award after receiving the highest number of votes, of which 50% of the overall result was made up of votes from National Associations (which included some international athletes and coaches votes), while fans and players (25%) and media (25%) made up the other half of the votes. Click here to see the vote results.

The 33 year old missed out on the accolade in 2018 despite being nominated, but she has now etched her name on the award which has been running since 2014.

Lynch was presented with the award by friend and role model, former Hockeyroos goalkeeper and Olympic gold medallist Rachel Imison, and Hockeyroos Head Coach Paul Gaudoin before the squad’s training session in Perth.

Caught unawares of what was happening before Gaudoin revealed the news in front of the playing group, Lynch admitted she felt overwhelmed by the occasion.

“It’s a huge personal honour. It has been a long career and to have something like this towards the latter part of it is pretty cool,” said Lynch.

“I’m really flattered and can’t thank everyone enough that was involved.”

“2019 was quite a unique year. The introduction of the Pro League was really good for us as athletes, being able to play in front of big crowds at home and also internationally.

“As a Hockeyroos group I felt we made some real progress, and to make some finals and play in a lot of crunch games, it was a great experience for us because they are the times you really come together as a group.”

“There are so many people behind the scenes who play a part in an athlete’s career, and it is nice to think about those people because the journey for me at international level has been for 14 years, so a huge thank you to everyone on that road who helped me along the way.”

Highlights of Lynch’s 2019 comprised being named the Player of the Match as she proved impenetrable when the Hockeyroos defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in her hometown of Melbourne in the FIH Pro League, while she was also announced as the Goalkeeper of the Pro League Grand Final.

“On behalf of the Hockey Australia Board and everyone involved in hockey in Australia, a huge congratulations to Rachael on winning this award,” said Hockey Australia President Melanie Woosnam.

“While hockey is a team sport and every player strives for team success, being named the Goalkeeper of the Year is a magnificent achievement.

“We are really proud of Rachael, and I believe this recognition is one that can be deservedly shared by the Hockeyroos as a collective, including her teammates, coaches and support staff.”

Lynch finished ahead of Maria Ruiz (ESP), Mathilde Petriaux (FRA), Ayeisha McFerran (IRL) and Megumi Kageyama (JPN) to secure the award.

Meanwhile, Kookaburras forward Blake Govers, who was the leading scorer in the 2019 FIH Pro League, has missed out on the FIH 2019 Rising Star of the Year Award (Men), which was won by India’s Vivek Prasad.

The winners of the remaining categories of the 2019 FIH Hockey Stars Awards, which also includes the FIH Coach of the Year, will be announced in the coming days.


Hockey Australia media release

Perfect records on the line as Argentina women host the Netherlands

Match Week 6 of the FIH Hockey Pro League will feature New Zealand’s national teams hosting USA women and the men of Spain in Christchurch, while the Netherlands men and women head to Buenos Aires for hugely anticipated matches against home favourites Argentina. 

More information about all of this week’s double headers can be found below, with the complete match schedule available by clicking here.

New Zealand v USA (W)
Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium, Christchurch (NZL) 

When: 15 & 16 Feb 2020, 1700 (15 Feb) & 1500 (16 Feb) local time (GMT/UTC +13)
Summary: After four matches in Auckland that generated a total of four points, the Black Sticks women (FIH World Ranking: 7) arrive in Christchurch knowing that two wins against USA (WR:14), who have zero points from their three previous matches, will generate some much needed momentum to their FIH Hockey Pro League 2020 campaign. Comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Great Britain on Saturday (8 February), New Zealand produced a much-improved performance on Sunday (9 February) to draw 2-2 with the Olympic champions before GB took the bonus point in the shoot-out. 

The Black Sticks have won ten of their previous 19 matches against USA, with five wins for the Americans and four draws. USA could hardly have had a more difficult start to this year’s competition, with the Netherlands and Argentina – number one and three respectively in the FIH World Rankings – both proving too strong for Caroline Nelson-Nichols’ talented but raw team. Despite suffering heavy defeats, this is a side that is learning fast and looking to improve every time they take to the field. If USA win one of the two matches, they will climb up to 13th in the FIH World Rankings. 

Match pages (Head-to-heads, squads* & officials*): Match 1 | Match 2 

New Zealand v Spain (M)
Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium, Christchurch (NZL)

When: 15 & 16 Feb 2020, 1930 (15 Feb) & 1730 (16 Feb) local time (GMT/UTC +13)
Summary: Very much like the New Zealand versus USA women’s match, the double-header between the Black Sticks men (WR:9) and Spain (WR:8) features two teams desperately in search of points. Bottom-of-the-table New Zealand have two points from their four matches played so far, while Spain, who sit seventh, have played six matches and accrued four points. As well as the quest for Pro League points, there is also plenty riding on this match in terms of the FIH World Rankings. Should the Black Sticks claim more points than Spain over the course of the weekend, they will move up to eighth in the rankings, a position currently held by the Red Sticks. Spain have the edge in terms of recent head-to-heads, winning six of their nine meetings since 2013, with two wins for New Zealand and one draw. 

Spain got the better of New Zealand twice in the 2019 Pro League, claiming a shoot-out bonus point when the sides met in Auckland and winning outright in Madrid by three goals to two. Spain and New Zealand both achieved notable results last Saturday (8 February); Pau Quemada scored a brilliant late penalty corner to give the Red Sticks a 4-3 win over Olympic champions Argentina in Buenos Aires, while an outstanding goalkeeping performance from Richard Joyce helped New Zealand win a shoot-out against Great Britain in Auckland to earn a bonus point. Despite both losing the second of their respective double headers, enough quality was displayed to suggest that the outcome of this meeting will not be easy to predict.  

Match pages: Match 1 | Match 2

Argentina v Netherlands (M)
CENARD, Buenos Aires (ARG)

When: 15 & 16 Feb 2020, both 1800 local time (GMT/UTC -3)
Summary: Argentina men (WR: 5), the reigning Olympic and Pan American champions, come into their double-header with the Netherlands (WR:3) on the back of differing results against Spain in Buenos Aires last weekend. In the opening match on Friday (7 February), Los Leones were ahead three times before eventually suffering a 4-3 defeat, bouncing back superbly in Saturday’s (8 February) second match as Lucas Martinez scored twice in a 5-1 triumph. German Orozco’s team will be looking to build upon that solid foundation with a strong performance against a Netherlands team coached by Max Caldas, who played alongside Orozco for Argentina at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. 

After earning just one point from their two away matches against India, the Oranje enjoyed a more fruitful trip to Spain where they took all six points on offer in Valencia, winning 4-3 and 4-2. Twenty-two-year-old penalty corner expert Jip Janssen made a telling contribution in those games by scoring four times, taking his season’s tally to five and make him the current top scorer in this year’s men’s Pro League competition. The outcome of these matches has significance in terms of the FIH World Rankings, with two Argentina victories being enough for Los Leones to move from fifth to third, which would in turn force the Dutch down one place to fourth. 

Match pages: Match 1 | Match 2 

Argentina v Netherlands (W)
CENARD, Buenos Aires (ARG)

When: 15 & 16 Feb 2020, both 2030 local time (GMT/UTC -3)
Summary: In arguably the biggest clash of the weekend, Argentina’s women (WR:3) take on reigning World, European and Pro League champions the Netherlands (WR:1). The two teams have a long and fierce rivalry, and there is plenty riding on these latest encounters. Las Leonas, the Pan American champions, made a flying start to their 2020 Pro League campaign with two big wins over USA, and know that just one win this weekend against the Oranje will see them move into second place in the FIH World Rankings. However, they face a team that, like them, has a 100% win record in this season’s competition, having defeated China twice in Changzhou before beating USA 9-0 in a match that, due to the cancellation of the first game, was worth six points. 

Whilst Alyson Annan’s Netherlands’ team are in sensational form, two away matches in Argentina will certainly provide the Dutch with their toughest challenge to date. That said, the Netherlands’ recent record against Argentina is notable, winning eight and losing just three of their previous 11 meetings. With both sides clearly in form and potentially four 2019 FIH Hockey Stars Awards nominees in action – Carla Rebecchi (ARG: Best Player), Frederique Matla (NED: Best Player / Rising Star), Eva de Goede (NED: Best Player) and Julieta Jankunas (ARG: Rising Star) – these two matches have all the elements required to satisfy the high expectations.  

Match pages: Match 1 | Match 2 

To find out how you can watch the action, please visit our broadcast page byclicking here. In territories where broadcast rights agreements are not in place, fans can watch live match action from the FIH Hockey Pro League via the FIH.live global broadcast platform. To visit FIH.live, click here.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on the FIH Hockey Pro League via theevent website and through FIH social media channels -Facebook,Instagram and Twitter.

Want to win tickets to an FIH Hockey Pro League match? Here’s what you have to do! Take a quick snap or record a video to capture your “best FIH Hockey Pro League moment” and post it on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, using the hashtag #MyProLeagueMoment. For more info, click here

* available 48 hours before each match


Official FIH Pro League Site

Taylor preparing for ‘skilful, fast, fiery’ Argentina

By Adam Clifford

Renee Taylor is the defender-turned-midfielder who loves nothing more than running forward and pulling the trigger, and she hopes these characteristics can give the Hockeyroos that something extra as they progress towards the Tokyo Olympics.

The 23 year-old from Brisbane suburb of Everton Park moved into the midfield after the 2018 Commonwealth Games and hasn’t looked back, adding eight goals to her 80 caps.

“I got quite unlucky initially as I broke my thumb first and then while I did my thumb, I did my shoulder, so I was out for about nine months,” Taylor reflects on how the change of position came about.

Rather than get down, she credits the period for helping her improve her aerobic capacity to make the necessary move into the Hockeyroos engine room.

“I spent a lot of time not being able to do anything upper body wise and only being able to run, so I got a good fitness base in which has been quite helpful because I initially joined the elite training environment without that two to three years of preseason.”

But Taylor admits she still has plenty of work to do to catch the likes of leading Hockeyroos runners Jane Claxton, Edwina Bone, Kalindi Commerford and Gabi Nance who she says are the standout top four.

“Jane got a 19.3 score in the yoyo test, while Gabi and Ed were 19.6,” said Taylor.

The no fuss dynamo says she relies on being able to read the play well to appear faster out on the field, while also understanding the team’s changing structures depending on the game’s situation.

“Using a back three and two defensive midfielders coming out of defence is something we’ve toyed with because it just allows us that extra flexibility on the outlet,” said Taylor.

“It allows us to play wide to our defenders, who can then go up the line or cut back in through the midfield and also allow our attacking mids to sit further upfield rather than bringing one back to be a support player.”

“We are mixing up a lot between a back three and back four structure, trying to get the best attacking opportunities we can and improving our fluidity between attacking and defensive midfielders.”

Taylor got forward against Belgium to create several goal scoring opportunities, before being withdrawn from the squad to play Great Britain in game one due to a head knock.

“I got a ball to the head at training that left me a bit wobbly on my feet afterwards and just to be one hundred percent safe I sat out the game for precautionary reasons after fulfilling all the concussion protocols,” said Taylor.

The squad returned to Perth and have just under a month to prepare to protect their world number two ranking in Perth on March 6/7 against Argentina, a side the Hockeyroos defeated in an epic sudden death penalty shootout last year.

“They (Argentina) are skilful, fast, fiery and with the new rankings system there is nothing between us,” said Taylor.

“We drew against them in Argentina last year in a shootout and we lost 1-0 at home in Sydney, but without making excuses, it was played in torrential rain and it took us 36 hours to get from Perth to Sydney.”

“We got one over them in really hot conditions in the Pro League semi final but it was a tough and physical game.”

“It’s super important for us that we can get a loud and big home crowd to the Hockey Centre at Curtin University. It’s spine tingling when the fans are up and about, they make it super exciting and special, plus we have just these games and New Zealand, then we’re at the Olympics.”

Tickets for the Hockeyroos’ FIH Pro League matches against Argentina and New Zealand are available now through Ticketek, while they will be broadcast LIVE on Kayo.

Hockey Australia media release

India's women's hockey tour of China cancelled due to coronavirus

By Michael Houston

India have cancelled their trip to China and now face a difficult task of finding a new nation to play ahead of Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

India's women's hockey team have cancelled their upcoming tour of China due to ongoing fears related to the coronavirus.

The team were set to travel to China from March 14 to 25 according to India Today, but had to cancel, leaving a gap in their preparations for Tokyo 2020.

"We had to travel to China but that has been cancelled due to the virus," said Indian captain, Rani Rampal.

"A lot of teams are also not available to play with because they are participating in the Pro-hockey league."

The team finished a tour of New Zealand last week and is set to undergo a four-week training camp prior to their planned tour.

Australia and China were set to face off in the FIH Hockey Pro League, but the fixture has been cancelled due to the threat of disease ©Getty Images

After defeating the United States in the qualifiers, it will be the third time the Indian team has made the Olympics.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) also announced that the FIH Hockey Pro League matches between Australia and China, set to be played on March 14 and 15 in Chengdu, will also be put on hold, just two weeks after making a similar decision with matches between the affected nation and Belgium.

Over a thousand people to date have died from coronavirus, with more than 43,000 people being infected worldwide - most coming from the first city to be affected, Wuhan.

Inside the Games

Cancellation of Men’s EuroHockey Junior Invitational events

The European Hockey Federation has today announced the cancellation of the upcoming Men’s EuroHockey Junior Invitational events that were due to take place in Glasgow (SCO) on 9th – 15th August 2020 and Alanya (TUR) 11th-15th August 2020.

Angus Kirkland, Director General of the EHF explained the background to these events “Due to the change in the FIH Junior World Cup programme which had a knock-on effect on when the EuroHockey Junior Championships would take place, the EHF, in consultation with the Member Associations, set up EuroHockey Junior Invitational events to take place in 2020. The reasoning was to ensure top-level Junior events for the athletes and to avoid these athletes not playing competitively for three years.

“Initially, there was huge interest all around Europe in these events with a number of offers to host, so it was our pleasure to award the hosting of five events, three men and two women events, with Scotland hosting the top-ranked countries for men and Turkey the level II, B event. Unfortunately subsequently most of the teams have now withdrawn from the events in both Scotland and Turkey so it is not viable to run the events.

“I would like to thank sincerely Scottish Hockey and the Turkish Hockey Association for offering to host what would have been highly competitive events at their respective levels. In spite of our best efforts, we cannot accommodate the Russian and Austrian teams (due to play in Glasgow) but we are happy that Switzerland and Ukraine will now participate in the level II, A event in Lousada. Unfortunately, it has also not been possible to accommodate Scotland and Turkey in an event.”

Entered Teams Glasgow:

Men’s Junior Invitational I

Teams: Pool A: *GER, SCO, RUS, *IRL
Pool B: *ENG, *FRA, *POL, AUT


*- withdrawn
NED and ESP had earlier withdrawn with IRL and AUT being offered these places
Entered Team Alanya:

Men’s Junior Invitational II -B

Teams: One Pool: TUR, *WAL, SUI, UKR

*- withdrawn

The following events will go ahead this summer:

Men’s Junior Invitational II

Teams: One Pool: ITA, CZE, POR, GIB, SUI, UKR
Venue: Lousada (POR)
Dates: 9-15 August 2020

Women’s Junior Invitational I

Teams: One Pool: ENG, SCO, GER, RUS, WAL, IRL
Venue: Cardiff (WAL)
Dates: 9-15 August 2020

NED and ESP had withdrawn earlier

Women’s Junior Invitational II

Venue: Walcz (POL)
Dates: 9-15 August 2020

FRA and TUR had withdrawn earlier

Scottish Hockey Union media release

UniKL newbie Krishanraj hopes to impress selectors


Going great guns: UniKL forward Krishanraj Singh (right) is hoping to earn a spot in the national junior team.

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL)’s newcomer Krishanraj Singh has been having the time of his life in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) so far.

The 19-year-old is not a regular but whenever he is given the chance to play, he impresses.

He scored a goal against Hockey Academy in the team’s 6-0 win last week and showed good dribbling skills to get past experienced defenders and create scoring chances.

Krishanraj hoped his debut with UniKL would open up opportunities for him to play for the national junior team.

“It’s a dream come true and I cherish this adventure and experience, ” said Krishanraj, a former student from SMK Datuk Bentara Luar Batu Pahat, Johor.

“I was initially nervous as UniKL have so many experienced local and foreign players but I’m fortunate with the chances given.

“I’ve played a few matches in the league and it has been a good learning experience.

“I want to use this league to impress national junior selectors. It is my childhood dream to play for the country, ” he said.

Coach Arul Selvaraj is happy with Krishanraj’s ability to blend in well with the experienced players in the team.

I’ve given him many match experiences and hope it will eventually raise his confidence level, ” said Arul.

“He understands what is expected of him on the pitch. He is slowly but surely progressing in the league. I am confident he will play bigger roles next year given the exposure.”

UniKL lead the standings with maximum points from 11 matches. They have three more matches to go – against Nur Insafi at Sungai Petani today, Maybank on Friday and Tenaga Nasional on Sunday.

The Star of Malaysia

Terengganu strikers target No. 2 spot

PETALING JAYA: Terengganu are banking on hotshot strikers Faizal Saari and Jang Jong-hyun of South Korea to turn the heat on to secure second place in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

With defending champions UniKL having practically wrapped up the title with a perfect 33 points from 11 matches, the fight is now on between Terengganu who have 24 points and Tenaga Nasional with 28.

Jong-hyun is leading the MHL goal scoring chart with 14 goals while Faizal has 13 goals under his belt after 11 matches and the two strikers will be key figures in the pivotal match between the two teams at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu today.

Tenaga, with 13 national players in their side, will be no pushovers but Faizal believes Terengganu can rise to the occasion.

“If we win the match, we have a chance to finish second. We can get the better of them in our backyard, ” said the 29-year-old striker.

In the first round match, Faizal scored two penalty corners goals but Terengganu still lost 2-4 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Jan 22.

Goalkeeper S. Kumar was the toast for Tenaga, making some fine saves to help his team claim the vital win.

Faizal, who has been scoring in almost every match, said he hopes to get the support from his teammates to score either field or penalty corner goals against Tenaga.

“It is a crucial match for us as we need to avenge our first-round defeat. We are all ready to give Tenaga their toughest challenge in the league, ” said Faizal who guided Terengganu to finish runners-up to UniKL in the MHL last year.

Terengganu can fancy their chances if they win today as Tenaga could drop points again in their huge encounter against UniKL on Sunday.

Terengganu have two relatively easier matches to go – against bottom side Hockey Academy (Hockademy) at home on Friday and fourth-placed Maybank in Bukit Jalil on Sunday. Tenaga face Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) on Friday before taking on UniKL.

The Star of Malaysia

Maybank ace Haziq in form but afraid of injury

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank forward Mohd Haziq Samsul is back and firing again, scoring in the Tigers’ 5-4 win over Nur Insafi at Sungai Petani Hockey Stadium on Sunday and taking his goal tally to 10.

However, the team’s top scorer still fears suffering from injuries, which can jeopardise his hockey career.

Last year, he injured his knee and underwent surgery in May and he was out of action for eight months.

Upon his return to the on-going Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), the Perak-born player suffered a left hamstring injury against TNB Thunderbolt on Jan 22 and was out for three matches against Terengganu, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and Hockey Academy.

The 26-year-old came back against Nur Insafi in the 5-4 win but said he was prone to injuries.

Haziq, who last played for Malaysia in the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2017, said: “I am worried that my injuries could jeopardise my chances of being recalled for national training. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will not suffer any injuries in the MHL.

“I want to play for Malaysia after being dropped two years ago due to my knee injury.

“I am still young and can contribute to the national team, ” said Haziq, who has represented Malaysia 68 times.

“Although I did not play three matches in the MHL due to the hamstring injury, I made a good return and we are now fourth in the league and look to have secured a place in the semi-finals with 18 points from 11 matches.

“We have three more matches to play and I have set a personal target of 15 goals so I need five more in three matches” said Haziq.

Maybank face TNB Thunderbolt today before facing league leaders Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) on Friday.

They wrap up the fixtures against defending overall champions Terengganu on Sunday.

The Star of Malaysia

Hockey equipment making a difference to PNG community

A shipment of hockey equipment sent from Australia to Hockey Papua New Guinea has been appreciatively received by the local community.

Hockey Australia donated 40 Hookin2Hockey packs to PNG Hockey in support of the Oceania Hockey Federation’s (OHF) aim to promote physical activity, inclusive participation and health through hockey in the region.

“We are really pleased that we are able to provide assistance and support in this way to Hockey in Papua New Guinea,” said Hockey Australia CEO Matt Favier.

“Part of our responsibility and duty is to grow the game not only domestically but to our Oceania neighbours, including PNG, so it is great to know the provision of these HookIn2Hockey packs has made a positive impact.”

“As a broader commitment, Hockey Australia will endeavour to continue providing gear in addition to the 200 packs being donated across 2019/20.”

OHF is working with Hockey Australia (including Masters), Papua New Guinea Hockey Federation, Aspire to be Deadly (Cairns Hockey Association), Family Planning (and their ‘in country’ service providers) and Flinders University to develop a collaborative approach that aims to better support the PNG community to ‘ Hookin4Health’ and to ‘live well; learn well; lead well’.

“OHF is extremely grateful for the first allocation of hockey gear from Hockey Australia and is excited about future partnerships to better support sustainable development in targeted Pacific Nations,” said OHF President Clare Prideaux.

“As a part of ‘Hookin4Health’ OHF will be empowering local communities to deliver ‘locally designed’ hockey based programs. We aim to support a greater number of females and people with disabilities to participate more easily, with integrated education and health services forming part of our hockey programs. Accessing age and ability appropriate gear and freighting it to local regions is a key component of the program.”

“The equipment donated has been of significant benefit to the local people, and plenty more is needed, especially for school programs.”

On their visit, Prideaux and OHF Continental Development Officer, Gill Gemming spent two days delivering coach and umpire workshops that included sessions with local kids.

Notably, 58 participants, inclusive of men and women, from various PNG regions gained their FIH L1 Coaching Certificate and FIH L1 Foundation Umpire as a part of OHF facilitated sessions, while Gemming continued her outstanding work in the region coordinating sessions to build the capability of local teachers, coaches, umpires and officials.

PNG Hockey Federation also hosted an inclusive and skillful Hockey 5’s competition on their impressive water based synthetic pitch in Port Moresby that catered for over 100 able bodied and disabled women, men and children.

Hockey Australia media release

Hockey stars launch fundraising appeal after coach loses six-year health battle

The New Zealand sports community is mourning the death of popular trainer Brad Conza, pictured with daughter Chloe at a Black Sticks hockey event. Givealittle

The New Zealand sporting community is rallying around the family of strength and conditioning coach Brad Conza, who died last weekend after battling debilitating chronic respiratory failure for six years.

News of his passing broke after Black Sticks hockey star Gemma Flynn paid a poignant tribute on Instagram, saying "... our Black Sticks family ... lost a very special man, Brad Conza".

McCaw's former Black Sticks teammate Katie Glynn has created a Givealittle page to help Conza's eight-year-old daughter, Chloe and his wider family "deal with their massive loss". It had raised over $12,000 by noon on Wednesday.

Glynn said said she had known Conza - known to his friends as B-rad - for over a decade. "He was my team trainer when I was an athlete as well as then working with him as part of management staff."

In her Givealittle page tribute said Conza - who died last Saturday - had dedicated his life to working as as strength and conditioning coach for elite athletes at High Performance Sport New Zealand, including the Black Sticks women's hockey team, the Football Ferns and New Zealand Swimming.

Brad Conza, pictured in 2010 while working with the New Zealand Football Ferns. PHOTOSPORT

Conza had worked with the Black Sticks since 2010, including their fourth-place finishes at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games and medals at two Commonwealth Games tournaments.

Glynn said in her citation Conza "was also a dedicated son, father and brother and lived for the relationship he shared with his daughter Chloe".

"His passion and optimism for the people he worked with was evident with their on-field performances, the support he provided in the gym and the relationships he established throughout the organisations he worked. He gave his time, knowledge and compassion to all those he coached and recently completed his thesis to ensure his knowledge was empirically based and his practice was gold standard."

Former Black Sticks player Katie Glynn has organised a Givealittle page to support the family of the team's late trainer Brad Conza. HANNAH JOHNSTON/GETTY IMAGES

However, over the past six years, Conza was "challenged with poor respiratory health that saw him go from a pillar of strength, to facing daily struggles where he could not breathe and experienced constant fatigue, where he was barely able to find his voice.

"Parenting Chloe and his work has been his passion and it has been devastating to see him have to relinquish these roles. He faced a number of losses over the past year, that reduced his support networks. Despite this he continued to take every day as it came and look after himself and his daughter to the best of his ability."

Conza was described as "the face of optimism" who "consistently brought the best version of brought the best version of himself to everything he did, bringing out the best in others along the way".

Gemma McCaw had led the tributes to Brad Conza in an emotional message posted on Instagram. BRETT PHIBBS/PHOTOSPORT

Glynn said: "As a community we appreciate that Brad would have wanted to provide ongoing support for his daughter and ensure that he could meet her needs. We would like to offer Chloe and her family financial assistance to help over the coming years. Chloe is eight years old and has just started at a new school."

Former Football Ferns defender Kristy Hill has also described Conza as an "inspiration" while he worked with the national team before his Black Sticks appointment.

"B-Rad wasn't just the Ferns' strength and conditioning coach," she said on New Zealand Football's website.

The Black Sticks, seen celebrating a Gemma McCaw goal in a game earlier this month against Belgium, are mourning former strength and conditioning coach Brad Conza. BRETT PHIBBS/GETTY IMAGES

"He was the great big smile when we thought there was nothing to smile about. He was the extra shuttle when we didn't think we had another one in us. He put the fun back in football when we thought there was no more fun to be had.

"He wasn't just our trainer. He was our friend. He was our inspiration. He always had our back."


Nicola Dignam (nee Lyons) RIP

It was with great sadness that Hockey Ireland learned this week of the death of Nikki Dignam following a long battle with illness. She started her hockey in Crescent Comprehensive School, Limerick and represented Munster before moving to Dublin and joining Loreto HC where she was Captain of the 1's for a couple of years. She was also involved in latter years with Wicklow HC and with Irish Masters.

We would like to extend our sincere condolences to Nicola's family and friends. Details of the arrangements can be found here

Irish Hockey Association media release

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