Ireland now know their opposition in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia in two months time and it promises to be a high-powered tournament.
Craig Fulton’s lads fly out to Ipoh in Malaysia at the end of February for the series which runs from March 3-11 and involves six nations currently in the top 12 in the world.
Although details have not been officially released yet, we can reveal the Green Machine will be facing World Cup champions Australia, World League champions Argentina, Asian champions India, current Azlan Shah champions England and hosts Malaysia.
That’s high-quality opposition indeed but Fulton sees it as a chance to learn from the best teams in the world before they end up facing some of them in the World Cup finals scheduled for India in December.
A handful of those nations involved will be using the high-profile series to finish off their preparations for the Commonwealth Games which take place in Australia’s Gold Coast in April, whereas the Irish are really only starting their build-up for the World Cup which is still many months away.
Fulton, who was part of a delegation that visited Tokyo on an Olympic venue tour earlier this month, has training camps arranged ahead of the Malaysian trip.
This includes a week in Spain from January 27 to February 4, and squads for both trips will be chosen in due course.
As usual, Ulster are likely to account for around eight players in the squads, with Lisnagarvey expected to supply a handful including midfielder Sean Murray who is having an outstanding season to date
- Courtesy of Belfast Telegraph