New ZealandCoach: Tim Rayner
The New Zealand men come to Birmingham as continental champions after winning the Oceania Continent Handball Federation (OCHF) Men’s Oceania Beach Handball Championships in April.
New Zealand broke the stranglehold of the Aussie men on Oceania sand, winning the series 2-1 to register their first-ever continental crown.
It marked a special day for New Zealand’s High-Performance Director and men’s coach Tim Rayner who first took his squad to the 2022 IHF Men’s Beach Handball World Championship in Greece.
On the sand in Heraklion they finished 14th after securing their first-ever world championship senior wins. In the consolation round they saw off Puerto Rico 2-0 – their first win outside of Oceania – and then dispatched Egypt in the placement round, 2-1.
They also faced Alabama preliminary group opponents Qatar early on and were beaten 0-2 (14:30, 10:28) in a one-sided game.
Their The World Games 2022 group is one team short, after Denmark’s flights were cancelled and with ongoing issues relating to flights in Europe, they were unable to secure a replacement flight in time.
Their other opponent in a tough first stage are none other than world champions Croatia.
However, the kiwis, as they are known, have the right mixture of youth and experience, with three 2017 IHF Men’s Youth Beach Handball World Championship stars – Angus Hamilton, Max Brown and Paul Ireland forming a nucleus of the team which includes the same 10 from Heraklion. Ireland finished fifth overall top-scorer in Greece with 135 points.
The World Games 2022 will warmly welcome the special ‘haka’ pre-game as New Zealand continues to make its mark in the sport on a global scale.
Key Players: Paul Ireland (left wing), Angus Hamilton (specialist), Philip Ellis (right wing)
Qualification for Birmingham 2022: Oceania Continent Handball Federation (OCHF) Men’s Oceania Beach Handball Championship – 1st place
History in tournament: 2001-2017: DNQ
Group at Birmingham 2022: Group A (Qatar, New Zealand, Croatia)