Kookaburras cruise to South Africa WC win

Australia remain undefeated and are into the quarter-finals at the Hockey World Cup in India by recording a comfortable 9-2 win against South Africa.

After thrashing France 8-0 in their opener and following it up with a scratchy 3-3 draw against Argentina, the Kookaburras were back to their brutal best in Rourkela on Friday.

The world No.1-ranked team went into the clash having won their last seven against South Africa without conceding, and scoring 48 goals.

Blake Govers, who got the dramatic late leveller against the South Americans, opened the scoring inside three minutes for his 123rd goal in 133 games wearing green and gold.

World No.14 South Africa had suffered a 1-0 opening defeat to Argentina and a 2-1 loss against France but equalised four minutes later with Nqobile Ntuli blasting home past goalkeeper Andrew Charter.

It was 3-1 Australia by quarter time thanks to a runaway Tom Craig tomahawk goal and a penalty corner conversion by Govers.

Govers completed his hat-trick in the 18th minute with a penalty stroke, and netted his fifth of the tournament in a blink of an eye.

The Africans had a penalty stroke of their own from Nicholas Spooner brilliantly saved by Charter and were punished one minute later when Jake Harvie slotted home the Kookaburra's sixth.

Nathan Ephraums scrambled home the 100th goal of tournament for a 7-1 halftime score and Jeremy Hayward's penalty corner extended the advantage less than 90 seconds into the second half.

Tim Brand scored in the 46th but South Africa's Tevin Kok rounded out the scoring with three to go.

"It feels good to get that top spot and have maximum time to get ready for a quarter-final," said Govers.

"It was a good start to the game. When you get an easy touch like that for the first goal it kind of flowed on from there. I probably should have got a few more but will have to settle on four."

"Reflecting on the performance, I think we can take out how quickly we can be dominant and maintain it. Then when do we keep going and when do we stop and start holding onto possession a bit more to make it a bit easier on our legs."

Australia, hoping to win a fourth gold with victory at the 15th edition, will take on the winner of Malaysia and Spain in the last eight on Tuesday in Bhubaneswar.

The final game in Pool A between France and Argentina takes place later on Friday.