30 Nov 2018

Black Sticks open World Cup with a win

6:57 am on 30 November 2018

The New Zealand men's hockey team has scored an important first up win at the World Cup in India beating France 2-1.

Black Sticks hockey player Stephen Jenness.


The 20th ranked French gave the 8th ranked Black Sticks a real run for their money.

The first quarter was evenly contested, but the Black Sticks opened the scoring in the first minute of the second quarter thanks to an open play strike from Kane Russell.

The key moment arrived four minutes from the end of the contest when Odisha Player of the Match Stephen Jenness smashed home from a tight angle to effectively seal victory for the Black Sticks.

France pulled a goal back in the final minute thanks to a penalty corner rocket from team captain Victor Charlet, but New Zealand controlled the dying seconds to claim all three points.

Jenness was named player of the match.

"We started really well. France kept putting us under a lot of pressure but we held firm and made the most of our opportunities", said Jenness.

Black Sticks Coach Darren Smith commented on the win "We started the game very well creating 3 or 4 good opportunities and had intent to our play - Although we got a bit conservative in the 2nd half. In the end it is great to get the 3 points which was built on a solid defensive effort. We now look forward to the Olympic Champions Argentina where we expect an exciting game".

In the other game in the pool Olympic champions Argentina beat Spain 4-3.

New Zealand play Argentina in their next game next Tuesday morning.