29 Apr 2019

Today's sports news: What you need to know

12:20 pm on 29 April 2019
Kodi Nikorima

Kodi Nikorima Photo: Photosport

Latest - The Brisbane halfback Kodi Nikorima could be a Warriors player by the weekend, with reports linking the Broncos player with an imminent National Rugby League move.

The Courier Mail has reported the Warriors are seeking the services of the New Zealand Test half after a groin injury to veteran Blake Green exposed their lack of playmaking depth.

The Broncos play South Sydney on Thursday but if paperwork is finalised by Tuesday the 25-year-old could line up for the Warriors against Newcastle on Sunday instead.

Liverpool defender named Player of the Year

Latest - Liverpool centre back Virgil van Dijk was named Player of the Year by England's Professional Footballers' Association, becoming the fourth player from the Netherlands to win the award.

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool directs his team mates


The 27-year-old has transformed Liverpool's defence since joining from Southampton in January last year for a world record fee of 146 million dollars for a defender.

The Dutchman has helped the title-chasing Merseysiders keep 19 clean sheets in the Premier League and they have conceded the fewest goals in the top flight so far this season.

Liverpool are also in the Champions League semi-finals.

Arsenal's Dutch forward Vivianne Miedema claimed the women's Player of the Year award.

Van Dijk topped a six-man shortlist, voted for by PFA members from the 92 Premier and Football League clubs, beating Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva plus team mate Sadio Mane and Chelsea forward Eden Hazard.

The Dutch international is the second Liverpool player in a row to win the award after forward Mohamed Salah last year and joins compatriots Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie in claiming the honour.


Walker fifth in Manchester

The New Zealand cyclist Sarah Walker has finished fifth in the final at the BMX World Cup meet in Manchester.

Sarah Walker

Sarah Walker Photo: Photosport

After finishing ninth overall in round one on Saturday, Walker enjoyed a consistently high level of racing throughout the competition, including a victory in her quarterfinal and ultimately fifth in the final won by France's Valentino Manon.

It has lifted the London Olympic silver medallist into the top-10 on the UCI Supercross rankings.

Walker is hoping to compete at next year's Olympics.

The Phoenix have been thumped 5-0 by the Perth Glory and will face Melbourne Victory in week one of the A-League football play-offs.

Phoenix coach Mark Rudan

Phoenix coach Mark Rudan Photo: Photosport

The top seeded Glory produced so many chances they could have easily finished with eight goals or more against a second-string Phoenix outfit missing a host of their best players.

The Phoenix entered their match against Perth knowing a loss of two goals or more would pit them in an away elimination final on Friday night against Victory.

Any better result and they would have finished fifth, meaning an away showdown with Adelaide in a sudden-death final.

Adelaide will host Melbourne City on Sunday in the other elimination final.

Perth and second-placed Sydney FC have a bye in week one before hosting a semi-final.

For more on this story read here.


City back on top

Manchester City took a big step towards banking back-to-back English Premier League titles as they scrapped to a 1-0 win at Burnley.

Sergio Aguero was the hero with the only goal in the second half, with goal-line technology showing his effort was just over the line.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.

Sergio Aguero. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The result put champions City back on top, one point clear of Liverpool with two games remaining apiece. Liverpool thumped Huddersfield 5-0 over the weekend.

Arsenal slipped to 5th after a 3-nil loss at Leicester, while 4th placed Chelsea drew 1-all with Manchester United.

Meanwhile Sheffield United sealed promotion to the Premier League after Leeds United were held to a 1-1 draw by Aston Villa in the Championship at Elland Road.

Second-placed United had beaten Ipswich Town 2-0 yesterday to move on to 88 points in the second-tier table. They are now five points ahead of third-placed Leeds with one more game to go.

Norwich City, with 91 points, were promoted yesterday following a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.


Bottas wins in Azerbaijan

Valtteri Bottas won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to retake the Formula One world championship lead from team mate Lewis Hamilton after a fourth successive one-two finish for Mercedes.

The Finn, who started on pole position, crossed the line 1.524 seconds ahead of Hamilton to make up for the agony of 2018 when he was denied victory in Baku by a late puncture.

The pair are now separated by just one point with 17 races remaining, with Mercedes 70 points ahead of Ferrari in the constructors' standings.

Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari was a distant third as the Italian pre-season favourites again failed to convert their promise into a result.

Max Verstappen was fourth for Red Bull ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Read here for more on this story.


New Zealand out of OFC Champions League

New Zealand's two decade dominance of Oceania's premier club football competition has ended at the hands of New Caledonia.

In the semi-finals in Noumea, Hieghene Sports beat defending champions Team Wellington 2-0 and AS Magenta beat nine time champions Auckland City 2-1 to set up the first ever all-New Caledonia OFC Champions League final.

Galthie to take over France rugby

Former France halfback Fabien Galthie will replace Jacques Brunel as the country's head coach after this year's Rugby World Cup.

Galthie played 64 times for France and captained the side to a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2002 and also led them at the 2003 World Cup.

Brunel's contract expires at the end of the World Cup and amateur clubs had voted against the idea of bringing in a foreign coach in a referendum initiated by Laporte earlier this month.


Kvitova wins second title in 2019

World No.1 Petra Kvitova beat Estonian Anett Kontaveit in straight sets to win Stuttgart's Porsche Grand Prix for her second title of the year as she prepares for next month's French Open.

Petra Kvitova is on the verge of Australian Open success.

Petra Kvitova. Photo: Photosport

Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, broke her opponent to go 4-2 up in the first set and served out the set a little later on the quick indoor clay courts in Stuttgart.

The Czech had to work much harder in the second set as she had to save two set points at 5-4 as Kontaveit had her pinned to the baseline.

However, the Estonian, who received a walkover into the final after top seed Naomi Osaka pulled out from their last four clash due to injury, missed her chances and allowed Kvitova to come back.

Kvitova raced to a 6-0 lead in the tiebreak before sealing victory two points later.

Thiem wins in Barcelona

Dominic Thiem thrashed Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-0 to win the Barcelona Open tennis tournament.

The Austrian was impeccable in the second set and sealed the win in one hour 13 minutes.

Medvedev was in search of his 26th victory this year and was "in the form of his life" according to Thiem, but collapsed dramatically after a good start.

Having eliminated Rafael Nadal in the semi-final, denying the Spaniard the chance of winning the trophy for a record 12th time, Thiem was confident of adding to his first ATP Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells in March.

Thiem joined his compatriot Thomas Muster, who triumphed in 1995 and 1996 at the tournament, and didn't drop a single set in the five matches he played in this edition.


Kipchoge and Kosgei win in London

Eliud Kipchoge ran the second fastest marathon time ever to clinch his fourth London Marathon title, ahead of Britain's Mo Farah who struggled in fifth, while Kenya's Brigid Kosgei impressed to win the women's race.

Kenya's Kipchoge made it an incredible 11 marathon wins from 12 races, leading from start to finish to come home in a time of two hours, two minutes and 37 seconds - 58 seconds off his own world record set last year in Berlin.

The women's race got off to a slow start, but reigning champion Vivian Cheruiyot ran a fast 15th mile, before Chicago Marathon champion Kosgei took the lead and strode to her first London title with a time of 02:18:20.

Kipchoge was expected to be challenged by Farah, but having kept up with the imperious Kenyan early on, Farah struggled in the latter stages.

He finished over three minutes behind the winner, who is regarded by many as the greatest athlete of all time.


First new venue completed for Tokyo Olympics

The archery venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games was officially unveiled on Sunday, the first completed venue built specifically for the Games.

The Yumenoshima Park Archery Field, located on a former landfill site, was set for completion in May but was ready by February.

As well as the Olympic Stadium and the Olympic and Paralympic athletes village, eight new competition venues will be used for the Games.

Yemenoshima is the first venue to be completed that was in Tokyo 2020's original bid proposal.

Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, a multi-purpose centre on the outskirts of Tokyo that will be used for the Games, was completed in 2017 but was not built specifically for the Games.

The rest of the venues will be refurbished pre-existing facilities.