Defending champions Rhinos take on Wizards in HIL on Sunday
Ranchi: Defending champions Ranchi Rhinos will kickstart their campaign against Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the second edition of the Hero Hockey India League here on Sunday.
Both the teams would like to begin the tournament with a win at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium here.
Rhinos Head Coach Gregg Clark said the Wizards are a formidable side and his boys, being the defending champions, would be under pressure.
"There will always be pressure on defending champions. (But) we will use that pressure to our advantage. Tomorrow`s opponents are formidable, and we know they are also well prepared and it is a big game," Clark told reporters on the eve of the match.
Clark said his side has matured into a well-oiled unit and possess great energy.
"We got a good squad. Obviously we will use the winning team that we have from the last year. We have got great energy. The domestic players have improved and grown. It was a very young squad last year," he said, while adding that the team has some of the best international players who have the knowledge to tackle tough situations.
Manpreet Singh will be captaining the Rhinos side tomorrow.
The side boasts of several stars like Germany`s Moritz Fuerste who will be vital to their dominance in midfield while Dutch forward Floris Evers would be expected to score goals.
On the other hand, Wizards, who finished third last season, also has experienced campaigners in the form of Dutch legend Teun De Nooije who will look to provide the spark in the frontline.
Malaysian Kumar Subramanium is a reliable goalkeeper
while defender V R Raghunath, who is the skipper of the side, forms a sound defensive line-up with Luke Doerner.
"We are looking forward for an exciting match tomorrow," said Raghunath.
The India defender said his players are upbeat and confident to take on the formidable hosts.
Ranchi Rhinos: Francisco Juancosa Cortes, Sushant Tirkey Defenders: Sukhmanjit Singh, Sumit Topno, Justin Reid Ross, Amit Rohidas, Bosco Perez, Austin Smith, Barry Middelton, Kothajit Singh, Manpreet Singh, Moritz Fuerste, Marcos Salles, Bipendra Lakra, Mandeep Singh, Pradhdeep Singh, Vikash Chaudhary, Ashley Jackson, Floris Evers, Stanli Victor Minz, Amon Mirash Tirkey, Eduard Arbos Dorras, Arvind Kujur, Parvinder Singh; Coach: Gregg Clark
UP Wizards: George Bazeley, Sreenivasa Rao Katharu, Kumar Subramanium, Luke Doerner, Harbir Singh, V.R Raghunath, Marcel Balkestein, Wouter Jolie, Edward Ockenden, David Alegre, Pradeep Mor, Harjeet Singh, Sander Baart, Rocky Lohchab, Vivek Dhar, Siddharth Shanker, Jeroen Hertzberger, PL Thimmanna, Nitin Thimmaiah, S.K Uthappa, Teun De Nooijer, Tushar Khandeker; Coach: Roelant Oltmans.