12 Jul 2017

Black Sticks beat Japan in Joburg

6:44 am on 12 July 2017

The New Zealand men's hockey team have beaten Japan 3-1 at the Hockey World League Semi Final in Johannesburg.

Nic Woods of the Blacksticks celebrates a goal.

Nic Woods of the Blacksticks celebrates a goal. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The result puts the Black Sticks in top spot in Pool A, for now, with one win from their first two games.

It was a dominant performance from the Black Sticks, who created plenty of scoring opportunities throughout the game.

Midfielder Arun Panchia said it was pleasing to put together a solid performance and bank three points.

"We needed three points today and it was good to be able to get some connections working well on the field and put some goals into the net," he said.

"The result puts us in a great position now with a couple of days off before a really tough match against the Aussies."

The Black Sticks were first to score in the 18th minute when Jared Panchia picked up a deflected penalty corner drag flick from Kane Russell and hit back past the keeper.

Nic Woods then doubled his side's advantage just before half time, ripping a powerful flick into the side of the net from another penalty corner.

The Black Sticks opened a 3-0 buffer midway through the third quarter after Hugo Inglis found Stephen Jenness wide open at the top of the circle for a venomous forehand shot into goal.

Japan scored a consolation goal in the 59th minute when Hirotaka Zendana managed to beat the New Zealand circle defence.

The Black Sticks have the next few days off before a huge trans-Tasman clash against Australia this Saturday.