The Vantage Black Sticks have continued their winning run with an impressive 4-1 win over Japan at the University of Waikato Four Nations in Tauranga.

The result follows on from Wednesday nights 5-4 over Belgium to leave the hosts as the only undefeated team after two days of play in the series.

New Zealand made a solid start to the match but allowed Japan to snatch the opening goal against the run of play in the 14th minute with Kenta Tanaka getting the final touch on a ball across goal.

The Black Sticks levelled the score just out from halftime when George Muir swept home a loose ball from Nic Woods penalty corner flick.

The hosts came out of the break with intent and poured the pressure on Japan who looked to be struggling to match the tempo.

Midway through the third quarter the Kiwis took their first lead of the match when Shea McAleese got the final touch on a penalty corner shot.

The Black Sticks pulled further ahead from a 49th minute penalty corner with Nic Woods executing the perfect drag fake for Arun Panchia to smash a forehand shot into the backboard.

Kane Russell iced a convincing performance with a rocketing drag flick with just three minutes remaining on the clock.

Head coach Darren Smith was pleased with the performance against a determined Japan side who battled until the final whistle.

"Japan came out of the blocks very well and showed some firepower which threw us off a little bit," he said.

"We made it tough for ourselves early on but in the second quarter things started to change and the second half was pleasing. Its great to put together our second win in a row against high quality teams.

"Were looking forward to our next match against India on Saturday. Theyre quick, skilful and have a great corner so it will be a good challenge for us."

Earlier in the evening Belgium powered to their first win of the series with a 2-0 result over India thanks to goals from Arthur de Sloover and Victor Wegnez.

Teams have a rest day tomorrow before getting back in action on Saturday with the Vantage Black Sticks facing off against India at 12:15pm and Belgium taking on Japan at 2:00pm.

Both tests will be streamed live and then available on demand through the Vantage Black Sticks Facebook page (

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VANTAGE BLACK STICKS: 4 (George Muir, Shea McAleese, Arun Panchia, Kane Russell)

JAPAN: 1 (Kenta Tanaka)

Halftime: 1-1

BELGIUM: 2 (Arthur de Sloover, Victor Wegnez)


Halftime: Belgium 1-0

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Hockey NZ