An Andy Hayward hat-trick has helped the Black Sticks Men to a crushing 5-0 win over South Africa at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 in The Hague. The Kiwis were impressive from the opening whistle and once again put on show a steely defensive effort which fed into a well executed attacking game. Earlier in the day Argentina stunned Germany with 1-0 win.
The Black Sticks were lethal from set pieces with Hayward firing three penalty corner drag flicks of his own into the back of the goal and feeding Shea McAleese for another in his 200th test. It’s now two wins from two games for the New Zealand men, who have six points and sit on top of Pool B ahead of the day’s final match.
Head coach Colin Batch said the quality of play against the South Africans was pleasing to see.
“It’s not often we have clean sheet so that was really pleasing and we scored our first two penalty corners which certainly gave us an edge and momentum. Penalty corners were definitely a focus for us today. We’ve got some good variations and two guys that flick well so we want to utilise that,” he said.
“We talk about effort over 70 minutes and you’re going to make some errors but we were able to cover them up today. Defence will always be a cornerstone of any success that we have here.” he further added.
The Black Sticks were on the scoreboard just four minutes into the game with a piece of brilliance from Simon Child who pulled down an aerial cross on his reverse stick before turning and hammering the ball past the goalkeeper.
As the Kiwis tightened the screws on South Africa, the pressure mounted and led to the first penalty corner of the match 15 minutes into the first half. Hayward stung a powerful flick into the goal before adding another flick low and right of the goalkeeper just two minutes later.
Leading 3-0 at halftime, the Black Sticks kept the pressure on in the second half as the South Africans battled to keep them out of their defensive circle. With 19 minutes remaining McAleese put himself in the perfect spot to deflect a drag flick into goal before Hayward added his third goal of the game just minutes later to make it 5-0.
The Black Sticks Men go up against Argentina in their next Pool B game on Friday at 11.00pm (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport 1. In other Pool B games today, Argentina hung on for a tight 1-0 win over Germany while the Netherlands face off against Korea later in the day.
Wednesday is a rest day at the World Cup, with the Black Sticks Women next up at 5.45am on Friday (NZ time) in a tough battle against the Dutch. (Full Schedule here)