11 May 2019

Today's sports news: What you need to know

3:22 pm on 11 May 2019

Latest - Warren Gatland to coach British and Irish Lions.

Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland.

Wales coach Warren Gatland. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Warren Gatland has agreed to become head coach of the British and Irish Lions for the tour to South Africa in 2021, according to British media reports.

The Press Association said the Lions have moved swiftly to secure Gatland for a record third successive term, in the process ending the prospect of the New Zealander replacing Eddie Jones as England boss after the World Cup.

Although the contract has yet to be signed as Gatland is currently in New Zealand, a verbal agreement has been reached.

Gatland will step down as Wales coach after this year's World Cup in Japan.

A start date has yet to be finalised, but it is likely that the most successful coach in Six Nations history will take up the role a year out from the tour.

It means Gatland will complete the set of Lions tour destinations following a series win against Australia in 2013 and 1-1 draw with New Zealand four years later.

Dixon earns front row spot

New Zealand driver Scott Dixon will start from the front row of the grid in Sunday's Indy Car Grand Prix in Indianapolis.

Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon Photo: Photosport

The reigning series champion qualified second fastest, behind Chip Ganassi teammate Felix Rosenqvist, who recorded a fast lap of 1 minute, 8.2785 seconds around the 14-turn, 3.925km permanent road course.

It was the Swedish rookie's first pole position and the 90th in Indy car racing for Chip Ganassi Racing, and just 0.0194 seconds faster than Dixon's best.

Rosenqvist said afterwards that it had been a "really smooth" day for both cars.

"We were in the top five basically every session.

"You still have to pull it off. It's like if you're one tenth off, you can fall down six spots very easily. It's tough mentally to go through a session like that, where the lap you do might be P1 but the next time you come around you might be P5."

Dixon, who has earned points in all four races this season but has yet to win a race, sits third in the championship standings behind Americans Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi.

The New Zealander, who has won 28 pole positions, complimented Rosenqvist on his first.

"Both of our cars have been pretty quick, which is fun," Dixon said.

"Felix did a great job to put together a lap there. … Big congrats to him and Chip and the team. It's good to lock up the front row."

Panthers search for answers for shocking start to NRL season

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has promised to launch an investigation after the Panthers' NRL season slumped to crisis point following their 30-4 Magic Round thumping at the hands of the Wests Tigers.

The flogging all but ended the Panthers' finals hopes as they provisionally slumped to last spot following the six-tries-to-one carve up at Suncorp Stadium.

After coming into 2019 highly fancied for the title, they now require 10 wins from their 15 games to make the top eight, piling pressure on Cleary who returned to Penrith after a bitter split from the Tigers.

A dejected Cleary was short on answers post-game but promised to get to the bottom of it - leaving the door open for changes to his 17 and football department.

McIlroy tops under-30 rich list

Former world No.1 golfer Rory McIlroy is the richest young sportsperson in Britain and Ireland for a second straight year with a net worth of stg138 million ($NZ272 million).

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy Photo: Photosport

McIlroy's wealth rose by stg28 million from last year, according to The Sunday Times Rich List.

The 30-year-old four-times major winner is ranked above Real Madrid soccer player Gareth Bale, who is valued at stg94 million and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero at stg58 million.

The 30-and-under age cut-off excludes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton (34), with the five-times world champion worth stg159, according to last year's overall list.

There were eight soccer players in the top 10, although world heavyweight champion boxer Anthony Joshua was fourth with stg49 million thanks to a stg14 million increase in wealth this year.

10 richest young sports stars aged 30 or under (figures in pounds)

1. Rory McIlroy (golf) 138 million

2. Gareth Bale (soccer) 94 million

3. Sergio Aguero (soccer) 58 million

4. Anthony Joshua (boxing) 49 million

5. Mesut Ozil (soccer) 42 million

6. Eden Hazard (soccer) 40 million

7. Alexis Sanchez (soccer) 39 million

8. Paul Pogba (soccer) 37 million

9. Theo Walcott (soccer) 29 million

10. Willian (soccer) 27 million

Rebels beat Reds in Melbourne.

Melbourne have cracked a confidence-boosting win over Queensland to reaffirm their position at the top of the Australian Super Rugby conference.

The Rebels ran in four tries to two for a 30-24 victory at AAMI Park on Friday for a welcome victory after three successive losses.

It was far from their best performance but it allowed Melbourne to move four points clear of their nearest rivals, the Brumbies, at least until their game in Canberra against the Sunwolves on Sunday afternoon to complete the round.

Russia's Putin scores eight goals in all-star hockey game

Russian President Vladimir Putin hit the ice on Friday in a hockey game in which he showed off his puck-handling skills and scored eight goals -- a display that reinforced his image as a man of action.

A judo blackbelt, Putin has long been keen to show off his athletic prowess, including by working out with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, hitting the ski slopes in Sochi or diving to the bottom of the Black Sea.

Skating alongside Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russian hockey greats such as Pavel Bure and Igor Larionov, Putin helped his side to an emphatic 14-7 win in the Night Hockey League.

Playing centre forward, Putin was provided with plenty of scoring opportunities by his linemates and was met with little resistance by the opposing team's defence.

Putin, whose approval ratings has slipped in recent years as Russia battles economic woes, periodically plays hockey with government officials, businessmen and former National Hockey League (NHL) stars in matches that are broadcast with pomp on national television.

After opening the scoring unassisted by beating the goaltender two minutes into the game, the 66-year-old added seven more goals, making him the top scorer.