Hockey: England selectors look to future

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The Independent Online

England open their campaign in the inaugural Champions Challenge in Johannesburg this afternoon against India with the prize for the tournament winners a place in the élite Champions Trophy in China later this year.

Although clearly the England women's team coach, Tricia Heberle, would like to win the event, as they did last year's World Cup qualifier, she is to rest some of her senior players, and give several promising youngsters the last opportunity to challenge for places in her Commonwealth Games squad.

"Not having been together since November, I expect there to be some cobwebs in the early games," Heberle said. "However, it is an opportunity to introduce a number of promising but inexperienced players."

India probably gave England their most difficult game in the qualifier last year when England came from behind to win 2-1. The young Indian side will be looking for their first ever win against England and will provide a testing time for the England side which includes new caps Isabel Palmer and Imogen Robertson from Clifton.

Domestically, the League season ploughs on minus the two Premier Divisions and tomorrow sees the fourth round of the Women's Cup.

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