22 Mar 2019

Today's sports news: What you need to know

11:05 am on 22 March 2019

Latest - Paul Gallen has confirmed he'll retire from rugby league at the end of the NRL season.

Sharks skipper Paul Gallen

Sharks skipper Paul Gallen Photo: Photosport

The decorated Cronulla Sharks back-rower has made the announcement on a Sydney radio show this morning, saying he's definitely retiring from rugby league at the end of the year, without a doubt.

Gallen is the oldest player in the competition at 37 and says he's really enjoyed where he's been and what he's done but he's had enough of the rollercoaster.

He's played 327 games for Cronulla since his debut in 2001 and has also played 24 State of Origin games for New South Wales and 32 tests for Australia.

Croatia make winning start to Euro 2020 qualifying

Croatia's ultimately made a winning start to its European football championship qualifying campaign.

The 2018 World Cup runners-up have come back from a goal down to beat lowly Azerbaijan 2-1.

World number one ranked Belgium has beaten Russia 3-1 in its opening qualifier, while the Netherlands has thumped Belarus 4-nil.

But Scotland has slumped to a shock 3-nil defeat in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan's ranked 117th in the world, 77 places below Scotland, and failed to win any of its 10 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.

Black Ferns to play world's best

The top five women's rugby sides will compete in San Diego this June and July for a Women's Rugby Super Series.

Black Ferns Kendra Cocksedge and Fiao'o Fa'amausili

Black Ferns Kendra Cocksedge and Fiao'o Fa'amausili Photo: © Copyright Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz Photosport Ltd 2017

Kicking off for the first time in three years, the event will feature world number one New Zealand, Six Nations Grand Slam winners England, Canada, France and the United States.

With teams all playing each other once, the event will be comprised of 10 test matches spread out over five days of competition between June 28 and July 14.

The tournament was last hosted by the United States in 2016 where Canada won the title and England finished as runners-up for the second consecutive year.

Another change at first-five for the Chiefs

Damian McKenzie will remain at fullback for the Chiefs' Super Rugby match against the Bulls in Pretoria on Sunday morning.

Chiefs Head Coach Colin Cooper.


Jack Debreczeni has been named to make his first start at first-five, with Marty McKenzie dropping out of the 23 altogether.

Solomon Alaimalo is also back from injury and has been named on the left wing, while in the forwards, prop Angus Ta'avao, blindside flanker Luke Jacobson and openside flanker Lachlan Boshier have been brought into the starting XV.

Head coach Colin Cooper wants an improved performance, after drawing with the Hurricanes last week.

"Last week was frustrating for us and as a team we want to see ourselves capitalise on the opportunities presented to us," Cooper said.

"The Bulls are a very good team and are coming off the back of a bye. For us to be successful we need to try to be more accurate and continue to focus on delivering our game in order to improve on last week's performance."

Barrett to captain Hurricanes against Stormers

Hurricanes centurion Beauden Barrett will take over the captaincy for Saturday's Super Rugby match against the Stormers at Westpac Stadium.

Hurricanes first five Beauden Barrett.


Barrett, who has made 116 appearances for the Hurricanes and scored more than 1150 points, will have younger brother Jordie immediately outside him after the latter was named to start in the No 12 jersey.

Last year's top try-scorer Ben Lam returns on the left wing which sees Wes Goosen move to the right from last week's match against the Chiefs.

There will be a first start for Richard Judd at halfback for what will be his fifth appearance for the Hurricanes since making his debut against the Crusaders last year.

Three changes have been made in the forward pack with Liam Mitchell returning at lock while Vaea Fifita moves back to the side of the scrum.

The other changes up front are at hooker where Ricky Riccitelli returns to the starting side in place of Dane Coles, who is unavailable for the match along with TJ Perenara and Ngani Laumape, while Fraser Armstrong comes in for Toby Smith who has an ankle injury.

Another impressive win for the Rabbitohs

South Sydney have made it back-to-back NRL wins to open the Wayne Bennett era after easily dispatching St George Illawarra 34-18.

South Sydney and England international Sam Burgess.

South Sydney and England international Sam Burgess. Photo: Photosport

A week after beating Sydney Roosters in the season opener, the Rabbitohs used a dominant second-half to fight back from a six-point halftime deficit.

It was Sam Burgess who was the catalyst, scoring a try and setting up another in a game-turning four-minute period early in the second period.

The England international completed a powerful performance with a second four- pointer in a six-try rout.

The only concern was a suspected shoulder injury to skipper Greg Inglis, who played through the pain and finished the game.


Walsh upstaged in Auckland

Konrad Bukowiecki of Poland has won the men's shot put at the Sir Graeme Douglas International Track Challenge in Auckland.

Tom Walsh in the Shot Put at the Sir Graeme Douglas International Track Challenge. 21 March 2019. Auckland, New Zealand. Copyright photo: Alisha Lovrich / www.photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

Bukowiecki threw 21.32 metres to finish 48cm ahead of Tom Walsh with Jacko Gill third.

US Indoor Champion Chase Ealey took out the women's shot put from Halberg emerging talent award winner Maddison-Lee Wesche.

Lisa Adams broke the women's para-shot world record with a throw of 14.52 metres.

On the track Portia Bing set a personal best of 11.69 in the 100m, Edward Osei-Nketia was first in the senior men's 100m with a time of 10.52.

Olivia McTaggart won the women's pole vault with a height of 4.40m, Nick Southgate cleared a season best of 5.30m to win the men's pole vault.

Sir Mark Todd returns to horse training this weekend with Eminent running the group one Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill in Sydney tomorrow.

Sir Mark Todd

Sir Mark Todd Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Eminent, who is debuting in Australia, will be ridden by top Kiwi jockey James McDonald.

The double Olympic equestrian gold medallist hasn't trained racehorses in more than a decade.

Eminent, who is on the fourth line of betting for the 725 thousand dollar, 200 metre race, is also schedule to take on Australian champion mare Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney next month.

After the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Todd will return to Britain for the Badminton Horse Trials.

Winx is also racing at Rosehill tomorrow, chasing a 32nd consecutive victory.

Ronaldo avoids ban for inappropriate gesture

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been fined 33 thousand dollars by UEFA for a gesture he made while celebrating in their Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid last week.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo Photo: Photosport

Ronaldo escaped a ban and will, therefore, be free to face Ajax Amsterdam in the quarter-finals, with the first leg to be played in the Netherlands on April 10.

Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick as the Italian champions overturned a 2-0 deficit from the first leg to win 3-2 on aggregate against Atletico, gestured towards his groin with two hands.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone had celebrated in a similar way after his team's opening goal in the first leg in the Spanish capital.

The Argentine coach was fined the same amount by UEFA.


CAS postpone decision on Semenya appeal

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has postponed its decision on Caster Semenya's appeal hearing against the International Association of Athletics Federations until the end of April.

South African 800 meters Olympic champion Caster Semenya arrives for a landmark hearing at the Court of Arbitration (CAS) in Lausanne. 19.2.19

Photo: AFP

South African 800-metres double Olympic champion Semenya is seeking to overturn a new set of IAAF regulations that are aimed at lowering the testosterone levels of hyperandrogenic athletes.

The IAAF contend that Semenya and other female athletes that are classed as having differences in sexual development (DSDs) gain an unfair advantage due to their higher testosterone levels, but only in races between 400 and 1,000-metres.

CAS have called the hearing "one of the most pivotal CAS cases" that could have a wide reaching consequence not just for the future of athletics, but sport in general.

14-year-old leading NZ Stroke Play

The Auckland golfer Vivian Lu has stunned the field with an opening round of six-under par at the 2019 New Zealand Stroke Play Championship in Christchurch, while Jimmy Zheng of Auckland leads the men's field.

Aiming for a famous double after winning the recent 2018 New Zealand Amateur Championship, Lu carded a stunning round of 68 at the Christchurch Golf Club.

The 14 year old leads by four.

Teenager Zheng signed for a round of two-under to lead the men's field by one shot.

Defending champion Kerry Mountcastle is a shot back.

Legendary Japanese baseballer calls it quits

Ichiro Suzuki, the most prolific hitter in baseball history and an icon on both sides of the Pacific, has announced his retirement.

45 year old made the announcement after playing for the Seattle Mariners in the second game of their Major League Baseball opening series in Japan against the Oakland Athletics.

Those two games this year mark his 28th season as a top tier professional baseball player in the United States and Japan.

Suzuki has 3,089 hits in the U.S. major leagues and 1,278 in Nippon Professional Baseball. Those 4,367 hits are the most ever at the top professional level.

The 10-times All Star also set MLB's record for hits in a single season with 262 in 2004.

He took Japan by storm early in his career, winning seven consecutive batting titles during his time with the Orix BlueWave before moving to the United States in 2001.

He played the majority of career for the Seattle Mariners, and also had late-career stints with the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins.