Junior Black Sticks into World Cup quarter-finals

Last updated 07:34 10/12/2013

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The Junior Black Sticks men's hockey team have battled through sickness to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Junior World Cup in India.

Kane Russell's second-half goal was enough to give the Kiwis a 1-0 win over South Africa in New Delhi today and a place in the top eight.

They play the Netherlands on Friday.

"It's a really pleasing result," head coach Grant Edwards said of the win.

"I thought we showed strong commitment and determination, as a team. Every player was really fighting for it."

New Zealand were struggling for fit players with Harry Miskimmin, Nick Woods and goalkeeper Richard Joyce ill.

"We only had 15 players to rotate on to the field, and even some of those players were recovering from being sick overnight, so it made getting a win that much tougher," Edwards said.

"Richard [Joyce] had been in goal for the last two games, but he was ill overnight so we made a decision to put Ben [Smith] in there instead and he had some great saves especially from penalty corners. He is a great team member and when he had his chance today he played really well."

As they did against England, the Junior Black Sticks came out firing in the second half against South Africa and they were awarded two penalty corners in the first five minutes with Russell scoring his fourth goal of the tournament in the 44th minute.

Russell's strong ability to break forward from the back and his powerful penalty corner drag flick is proving to be a lethal weapon for New Zealand in this tournament.

New Zealand's win placed them second to Malaysia in Pool B.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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