New Zealand turned on the style in a much-improved display from 24 hours earlier in thumping South Korea 7-1 in the second match of their four-game series at Lloyd Elsmore Park tonight.

There's nothing between the teams on world rankings - the Black Sticks at No 8 are one spot higher - but after Wednesday's 3-3 draw, New Zealand raised their performance and intensity significantly.

The platform was laid in a strong first half, in which New Zealand were assertive and established a 3-0 lead. Their passing, particularly down the lefthand attacking side, was slick and they counter-attacked impressively, turning the tables on one of the Koreans strong suits.

South Korea had their best period in the third quarter before five goals in the last 10 minutes, four by the Black Sticks, blew the margin out.


''It was a hell of an improvement and we knew we had to come out with the same intent we had in the second half of the first game," attacker Nick Wilson said.

''We had a very good first half and felt we had to keep it up and make sure we kept disciplined in the second half.

''The tempo was really good. The backbone of our performance was our press, our defensive structure was very good, which provided those counter attacks and we rolled over the top of them in the second half."

There were two goals each for striker Stephen Jenness and captain Simon Child, one for Wilson, while strong penalty corner drag flicks by Nic (crrt) Woods and Kane Russell top and tailed New Zealand's scoring. In addition New Zealand missed a penalty stroke early on, Hugo Inglis pushing his shot outside an upright.

Child's goals were top class. He took the ball to the baseline, beat a defender and in a blink, swivelled in a tight space and struck a low shot into the Korean goal before half time; then went round the Korean keeper to score from an acute angle late on.

Jenness got his first diving in low in front of goal to nudge the ball into the net, and followed that with a nifty reverse stick shot after good leadup work from Wilson; while Wilson's capped off neat interchange involving Child and Inglis.

Game three in the series is at the same venue on Saturday afternoon.