The Vantage Black Sticks men take on France in the first game of their World Cup campaign on Friday 30th November.
This will be coach Darren Smith’s 4th World Cup (first as Vantage Black Sticks coach); 1998 (5th), 2002 (9th), 2010 (assistant coach – 9th) .
This will be the 10th time that the Vantage Black Sticks have qualified for the tournament and they will be looking to build on their all to familiar 7th place finish from The Hague in 2014.
The side, ranked No. 9 in the world, is high on experience, with eight players having more than 100 international caps and three with 90-plus.
The Vantage Black Sticks will be fielding an experienced side which remains largely unchanged from the side that was sent to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
8 Players are returning from the 2014 Hockey World Cup Team (Marcus Child, Jared Panchia, Kane Russell, Blair Tarrant, Arun Panchia, Shea McAleese, Stephen Jenness and Hugo Inglis)
Vastly experienced attacking defender Blair Tarrant returns to lead the side for his second World Cup having missed the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games due to injury.
The other pool games are against the current Olympic champion, Argentina, and eighth ranked Spain.The Black Sticks have not played Argentina since before their Rio 2016 campaign.
Jared Panchia made his 100th cap during the warm-up games against Malaysia.
Coach Darren Smith heads into his fourth world cup and first as coach. Smith competed in two world cups as a player, where his best finish was ninth in 2002. He was an assistant coach during the 2010 campaign. He has named a side that is led in experience by two incredibly resolute defenders in Shea McAleese (272) and Arun Panchia (253).
The strikers will be led by Stephen Jenness (215) who has just returned from playing over in Europe. Jenness will be looking to build on his 80 international goals and move into 4th place on the Vantage Black Sticks all time goal scoring list.
The Vantage Black Sticks first game is on the 30th November at 2:30 am. They will then play 2 further pool matches against Argentina and Spain in the hopes of qualifying for the knock out rounds starting on the 11th December.
Vantage Black Sticks Squad for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018: Cory Bennett, Marcus Child, George Enersen, Hugo Inglis, Stephen Jenness, Richard Joyce, Dane Lett, Shea McAleese, George Muir, Dominic Newman, Jared Panchia, Arun Panchia, Hayden Phillips, Nick Ross, Kane Russell, Aidan Sarikaya, Blair Tarrant and Nic Woods