Kerry announces squad to travel to South Africa

Giselle Ansley

Danny Kerry, Head Coach of England Women’s team has named a squad of 22 players to travel to Cape Town and Stellenbosch to take on South Africa and Germany.

England will play two test matches against South Africa on 25 and 26 February before facing Germany on 1, 3 and 4 March in three unofficial practice matches.

As expected this early on in the new Olympic cycle there are a number of new faces making the trip, with as many as 11 players in line for senior England debuts. Emily Defroand, Kathryn Lane, Hannah Martin, Livy Paige, Ellie Rayer, Erica Sanders, Amy Tennant and Anna Toman are all set for their first senior international appearances. As well as those eight, Grace Balsdon, Sabbie Heesh and Suzy Petty could make their England debuts having already appeared for Great Britain.   

Goalkeeper Tennant, who has previously represented England at U21 level, is currently playing in Germany for Grossflottbeker and is included as Maddie Hinch is unavailable as a result of club commitments. 

The squad also features seven of the group who travelled to Rio for the Olympic Games in the summer where Great Britain won the gold medal. Giselle Ansley, Joie Leigh, Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley, Laura Unsworth, Ellie Watton and Hollie Webb all made the journey to the Olympic Games and will feature in the trip to South Africa.

Susie Gilbert takes on the Dutch defence

There are also recalls for Susie Gilbert, Zoe Shipperley and Surbiton duo Sarah Haycroft and Jo Hunter. Hunter last appeared for England back in 2013- in a series in South Africa and has impressed with her domestic form for the champions, forcing her way back into the international reckoning.

Danny Kerry told England Hockey:

“The programme is moving fast since its restart on January 9th. We have laid some good early foundations in other parts of the programme and we now start the very first steps in building and experimenting with how we are going to play. The matches will see us put out brand new combinations and explore new ways of playing based around the strengths of the new squad."

"Our rate of development, both as individuals and as a squad will continue to accelerate as we progress toward our summer tournaments and in the medium term towards London 2018."

"I’m expecting that both Germany and South Africa will potentially have more settled squads than us but the prospect of pitting our talents against that excites us. At the same time as we build our teamwork we will seek to do the same as a staff, putting in place good foundations for growth as a staff team to best support our playing team.”

Danny Kerry’s England side will be in action on home turf this summer as they face World Champions Netherlands in a one-off clash of champions. See the World No1 and World No2 collide at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Sunday 11 June. Tickets go on sale on 19 February and all the details are here.

Full squad:

Full Squad: Giselle Ansley, Emily Defroand, Sarah Haycroft, Sabbie Heesh, Jo Hunter, Hannah Martin, Hollie Webb (Surbiton), Grace Balsdon (Canterbury), Susie Gilbert (Reading), Kathryn Lane (Leicester), Joie Leigh (Clifton Robinsons), Shona McCallin, Ellie Watton (Holcombe), Lily Owsley, Livy Paige, Erica Sanders, Anna Toman, (University of Birmingham), Suzy Petty (Wimbledon), Ellie Rayer (Loughborough Students), Zoe Shipperley (Buckingham), Amy Tennant (Grossflottbeker), Laura Unsworth (East Grinstead).