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Black Sticks thumped by Belgium

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/06/2017

The Black Sticks men's side have had a less than ideal finish to their warm up for the World League tournament in South Africa, thumped 5-0 by Belgium in Brussels.

New Zealand struggled to create momentum during the match, although they started well in a goalless first quarter.

It was all Belgium after that, who went to halftime 3-0 up.

Head coach Darren Smith says it was tough going against the Olympic silver medallists, who lifted to another level following the first test, won 3-2 by the home side.

"Belgium really stepped it up today and the quality of their play was better than ours," Smith said.

"We started well and put together some good attacking hockey but as the game wore on, we weren't able to mount pressure on Belgium and their finishing was lethal.

"Defensively we needed to tackle and defend much better in the circle, and make sure we improve going into the World League."

The Black Sticks now head to South Africa for final preparation ahead of the FIH World League Semi Final which starts on July 8 in Johannesburg.

New Zealand open the tournament against France at 10pm on July 9 (NZT).

Meanwhile, the Black Sticks women go up against Italy in the quarter finals at their World League Semi Final in Brussels at 11.10pm on Thursday (NZT).

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