7 Jun 2019

Today's sports news: What you need to know

4:49 pm on 7 June 2019

Latest - New Zealand's middle distance star Nick Willis has conceded that his venture into the 5000 metres is probably over after finishing last in the event at the Rome Diamond League athletics meeting.

Nick Willis at the 2017 world athletics championships

Nick Willis at the 2017 world athletics championships Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Willis was 19th, a lap behind winner Telahun Haile Bekele of Ethiopia.

The Olympic silver and bronze medalist over 1500 metres finished in a time of 13 minutes 56.94 seconds, 37 seconds outside his best set in 2014.

The 36 year old admitted to being nervous before the race and afterwards tweeted.

"The 5k experiment seems to be over. I'm a miler! 4.10 at the mile, even though I was at the back, is just too quick for me it seems. I faded badly to 13.56 in a distant last. 12 weeks of distance work won't go to waste--Milers need strength too! Time to loosen the reigns."

Willis' main aim this year is the World Championships in Doha in September.

Golden State won't risk Durant

The injury-ravaged Golden State Warriors won't be rushing superstar Kevin Durant back into the NBA Finals, despite trailing 2-1 to the Toronto Raptors in the best-of-seven series.

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant Photo: Photosport

Durant has a calf injury and there was an expectation that Golden State would bring him in for game four tomorrow in a bid to get back on level terms.

But although Durant is back training coach Steve Kerr says he won't play this weekend.

However if Toronto win on Saturday they could wrap up the title in game five on Tuesday.

Blues lose Klemmer for rest of Origin

New South Wales hopes of squaring the State of Origin series in Perth have taken a huge blow, with star prop David Klemmer ruled out for up to six weeks with a fractured wrist.

NSW prop David Klemmer will miss the remainder of the State of Origin series.

NSW prop David Klemmer will miss the remainder of the State of Origin series. Photo: Photosport

Klemmer suffered the injury during the side's opening loss to Queensland in Brisbane, where he was the standout NSW forward.

He played the opening 51 minutes straight and didn't return during the second half, though there was no indication post-match of the injury's severity.

The Knights said x-rays revealed Klemmer fractured a small bone in his hand.

The second Origin match is in Perth on June 23rd.

Afghanistan lose keeper

Afghanistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad has been ruled out of the World Cup due to a knee injury and replaced in the squad by 18-year-old Ikram Ali Khil.

David Warner bats (plus wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad)


Shahzad, 32, played in Afghanistan's defeats by Australia and Sri Lanka and has represented his country in 84 one-day internationals.

Khil has played one test match and two one-day internationals, against Ireland in March.

Afghanistan's next World Cup match is against New Zealand in Taunton on Saturday night.

More Cricket World Cup news:

Woods in star group for US Open

Tiger Woods has been grouped with two other former U.S. Open champions, Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose, for the first two rounds of next week's championship at Pebble Beach.

Tiger Woods celebrates with the trophy and Green Jacket during the award ceremony of the 2019 Masters.


Americans Woods and Spieth and Englishman Rose will tee off together in the first round next Thursday at the famous course on the California coast.

Woods has won three U.S. Opens, including a record 15-stroke triumph at Pebble Beach in 2000.

Rose was the 2013 champion at Merion, while Spieth triumphed two years later at Chambers Bay.

Two groups ahead of Woods, Spieth and Rose, two-times defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka will play with Italian Francesco Molinari and amateur Viktor Hovland.

Norwegian Hovland won last year's U.S. Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach.

New Zealander Ryan Fox has an early start on the first day playing alongside Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark, while the Wellington amateur Daniell Hillier is one of the last away playing alongside American Alex Prugh and Zac Blair.

Luke needed kick up the backside

Stephen Kearney says "a kick up the backside" has revived Issac Luke's Warriors stocks, while it may have also extended the hooker's Test career.

Issac Luke punches the ground after dropping the ball in the final seconds of the match.
Vodafone Warriors v Brisbane Broncos. NRL Rugby League. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. Saturday 25 May 2019. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

Luke concedes he is fortunate to still be in the first grade team following a clunky start to 2019.

Dropped to reserve grade for last month's magic round win over St George Illawarra, the 32-year-old was thrown a lifeline when Nathaniel Roache suffered a back injury which sidelined him from the win over Penrith and the loss to Brisbane.

A typically-pragmatic Kearney said Luke was "pretty good" against the Panthers and "ok" against the Broncos, which represented an improvement on his earlier struggles.

"Sometimes that's what it takes, a bit of a kick in the backside to get yourself going again," Kearney said.

"Has it worked for him? The last couple of games there has been improvement. The real strength of his is his running game and I thought prior to then, it wasn't quite at the level that we expect from him and he expects from himself."

Luke's form will be closely monitored by Kiwis coach Michael Maguire, who couldn't take his former South Sydney premiership-winning rake on last year's tour of England because of off-season surgery.

Veteran Warriors forward Adam Blair - another dumped to reserve grade for a spell because of modest form - is starting in his 299th NRL appearance.


Manchester City to appeal

English Premier League champions Manchester City have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over an investigation into potential breaches of financial fair play brought by UEFA.

Manchester City celebrate winning the 2011-12 EPL title.

Manchester City celebrate winning the 2011-12 EPL title. Photo: Offside Sports Photography/Photosport

CAS said the appeal was against decisions taken by the Investigatory Chamber of UEFA's Club Financial Control Body regarding "alleged non-compliance with UEFA's Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play (FFP) Regulations."

UEFA, European football's governing body, opened a probe in March after German publication Der Spiegel reported City's Abu Dhabi owners had inflated sponsorship agreements to comply with FFP requirements.

FFP rules are intended to prevent clubs receiving unlimited amounts of money through inflated sponsorship deals with organisations related to the owners.

Clubs who have breached the rules can be barred from European competition.

City have said the accusation of financial irregularities "remains entirely false" and they are confident of a positive outcome.


Warriors owner banned

The Golden State fan who shoved Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry as he crashed into courtside seats yesterday is a billionaire who owns a share of the Warriors.

Toronto Raptors's Kyle Lowry.


The Warriors identified the man as Mark Stevens and issued a statement condemning his actions and confirming he won't attend any more games of the NBA Finals.

The altercation between Stevens and Lowry occurred with about 10 and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter of Game 3 of the series at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

The Raptors won 123-109 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Lowry crashed into the courtside seats as he tried to keep a ball in bounds, and Stevens gave Lowry a push as he fell on top of the fans.

Stevens was ejected from the game.

Forbes estimates Stevens, a Silicon Valley venture capilalist, is worth at $US3.5 billion.


Latu to play this weekend

Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu has been given the green light to play in Saturday night's must-win Super Rugby clash with the Brumbies despite his guilty plea on a drink driving charge.

The Waratahs announced late yesterday he had been cleared to return to play following a two-game suspension.

Latu pleaded guilty in court to mid-range drink-driving earlier on Thursday after being found slumped at the wheel of his car last month and later registering a 0.135 blood alcohol reading.

His case was adjourned until next week, by when the Waratahs' finals hopes may or may not have been extinguished.

But the Waratahs said he that given his time served and actions since the incident, he was now available to play.

The Waratahs are sitting third in the Australian conference and in 10th spot overall on the table and must beat both the Brumbies and the Highlanders in Dunedin next week to have any hope of making the finals.


Hartley wants Formula E drive

The New Zealand driver Brendon Hartley says it remains "a possibility" that he will race for Porsche's Formula E squad next season, despite joining Toyota for the World Endurance Championship over the same period.

Hartley has been involved in Porsche's initial on-track development for its electric powertrain alongside Neel Jani, who is already confirmed as one of the manufacturer's drivers for its first season in the electric single-seater championship.

He has since agreed to join Toyota's WEC line-up from next season in place of Fernando Alonso, but Hartley insisted he could still combine those commitments with a Porsche FE drive.

The ex-Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver retains a factory Porsche contract for 2019.


Team Wellington coach stands down

Team Wellington Head Coach, José Figueira, has announced that he will not be returning to the National Premiership football club for the upcoming season.

Figueira joined Team Wellington in 2016 and went on to manage the team in over 80 games across all competitions, including the Premiership title for the 2016/17 season, an OFC Champions League title in 2018 and Team Wellington's first FIFA Club World Cup appearance later that same year.

Figueira said that after much thought and reflection, the time was right to move on to the next chapter of his career and life.

Saints continue to roll

Saints of Wellington remain unbeaten at the top of the National Basketball League after an 83-74 win over Taranaki.

Canterbury remain third after beating the Southern Huskies of Tasmania 81-70.