7 Dec 2011

Black Sticks into top four play-offs

1:07 pm on 7 December 2011

The New Zealand men's hockey team captain Dean Couzins held his nerve to push his side into the top four play-offs at the Champions Trophy tournament on the North Shore.

The seventh-ranked Black Sticks fought back from 3-0 down against the third ranked Netherlands with Couzins slotting a penalty stroke four minutes from time to grab a draw.

South Korea's 3-3 draw with Germany meant the New Zealanders finished second in the group ahead of Germany.

The Black Sticks, who finished second in pool B behind the Netherlands, will play Spain Thursday - they then meet Australia on Saturday.

It's a boost for the Black Sticks ahead of next year's Olympics and also gaurentees them a place in next year's Champions Trophy tournament in Australia.

Couzins says the large crowd came alive after they scored their first goal, adding it was certainly the loudest crowd he's played in front of in New Zealand.