Hockey: Royce eager to put the pressure on Australia

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The Independent Online
The weekend's hockey programme will be dominated by England's fortunes in the Junior World Cup taking place at Milton Keynes. This evening they play Australia in the second semi-final while Germany contest the other against India.

England spent yesterday relaxing with a round of golf and will have put behind them the two defeats they suffered at the hands of the Aussies at Milton Keynes in June. They have moved a long way since those 6-0 and 3-1 defeats, when Australia had just finished a programme of 25 games and England's preparations were being hampered by a series of injuries.

Australia have been held to draws by India and Spain in pool games and looked far from impressive in beating Belgium 3-1. This evening's game is likely to turn on whether England can find a way of containing their Olympic striker, Baeden Choppy. The task is likely to be given to Renwick Irvine, this season's Oxford University captain. The coach, Jon Royce, not known for making predictions, said yesterday: "We will be out there to enjoy ourselves and the pressure will be on Australia."

There is little doubt that, if England maintain a disciplined performance and stick to their game plan, they have a chance of reaching Sunday's final.