16 Jul 2019

Today's sports news - What you need to know

12:50 pm on 16 July 2019

Latest - The National Basketball League has commenced a full review into the Supercity Rangers, after the league's board met to discuss the team's future.

Rangers's coach Jeff Green in the NBL basketball match between the Supercity Rangers and the Wellington Saints at the AUT Sport & Fitness Centre, Northcote, Auckland, Sunday, July 14, 2019. Copyright photo: David Rowland / www.photosport.nz

Supercity Rangers coach Jeff Green Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

The Rangers ended the season with heavy defeats to the Canterbury Rams and Wellington Saints, after their three imports walked out on the team.

NBL general manager Justin Nelson says they have been very clear that the model they currently have in Auckland is not working and they expect the review will support this.

Nelson expects to make an announcement on the Rangers at the start of next month.

It comes after South Auckland's Franklin Bulls were granted provisional/conditional entry into the 2021 NBL, with final requirements to be in place by the end of July next year.

Costly mistake for Bennett in the Tour de France

George Bennett's slim hopes of a top 10 finish in the Tour de France are over after losing almost 10 minutes on stage 10.

New Zealand cyclist George Bennett.

George Bennett. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The New Zealand cyclist has finished nine minutes and 41 seconds behind the stage winner, after getting caught out in cross-winds while he was sent back to the team car to collect drink bottles.

Bennett was team Jumbo Visma's second option for the general classification, but he's slipped from fourth to 27th overall, more than 11 minutes behind Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe, who remains in the leader's yellow jersey.

Steven Kruijswijk is now the Dutch team's lone hope.

He's fourth overall, one minute and 27 seconds off the lead.

The Tour now takes its first rest day.

The Beast calls it quits

Former New Zealand international and NRL star Manu Vatuvei has announced his retirement from rugby league, a month after it was revealed a brain cyst had ended his prospects of a boxing career.

Manu Vatuvei

Manu Vatuvei Photo: Photosport

The 33-year-old winger set a club try-scoring record during his 14 seasons with the Warriors in the NRL but the last match of his career was for Salford against St Helens in the final match of the 2017 Super League season.

Vatuvei was a high-profile signing for the Red Devils and played in the last eight matches of that campaign but severely damaged his Achilles tendon in a freak training accident a week before the opening match of the next season and was released from his contract in June 2018.

Vatuvei said on Instagram that he was now ready to accept the time was right to retire.

"I wasn't ready to or accept that my time is up and can honestly say it's been the tough and now I'm ready to accept and announce my retirement," Vatuvei wrote.

Vatuvei, who was nicknamed "The Beast", scored 152 tries in 226 games for the Warriors and was a member of the Kiwis team that won the 2008 World Cup.


Cotric cops three match ban

Canberra Raiders centre Nick Cotric has been banned for three NRL matches, after entering an early guilty plea to his dangerous throw charge.

Cotric was sent off after upending St George Illawarra centre Tim Lafai in an ugly tackle in Wollongong on Sunday.

The Raiders considered fighting the charge but risked losing the 20-year-old New South Wales representative for an additional game had they lost.

Cotric will miss matches against the Wests Tigers, Panthers and Warriors before being allowed to return for Canberra's round 21 fixture against the Roosters.

Meanwhile, Sydney Roosters forward Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will take his fight to the judiciary to challenge his dangerous contract head/neck charge after he was cited by the NRL match review committee.

The Kiwi prop was placed on report for leading with his head while being tackled by North Queensland's Josh McGuire in the Cowboys' 15-12 upset win in Gosford on Sunday.

Waerea-Hargreaves will miss two games if he is found not guilty.


'Sweet Pea' Whitaker dies in car accident

Former US boxing world champion Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker has died after being hit by a vehicle in Virginia. He was 55.

Whitaker was a world champion in four divisions - WBC lightweight, IBF light welterweight, WBC welterweight and WBA light middleweight. He retired in 2001 after compiling a 40-4-1 record including 17 knockouts and later worked as a trainer.

A member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Whitaker was named boxer of the year by Ring magazine in 1989. He also won an Olympic gold medal in 1984.

The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene and the accident is still under investigation, police added.


Pumas name four from Europe

Argentina Head Coach Mario Ledesma.

Mario Ledesma. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Argentina have included four European-based players in their squad for this weekend's Rugby Championship match against the All Blacks in Buenos Aires.

Head coach Mario Ledesma has named Stade Francais fly-half Nicolas Sanchez, Bordeaux-Begles winger Santiago Cordero, Toulon back-row Facundo Isa, and Saracens prop Juan Figallo in a 30-man squad.

The Argentinian Rugby Union recently relaxed restrictions on players, who ply their trade outside the country, from representing the Pumas.

Most of the squad to face the All Blacks consist of players from the Jaguares, who lost to the Crusaders in the Super Rugby Final earlier this month.


Simmons agrees deal with 76ers

Australian basketballer Ben Simmons has agreed to a $253 million contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers in the richest deal for an Australian athlete.

Doubt still hangs over whether the Melbourne-born NBA All-Star will play for Australia later this year at the World Cup in China and in Melbourne and Perth exhibition games.

Simmons' acceptance of the 76ers' five-year contract extension had been expected.


Fox set to take on The Open Championship

New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox plays the 15th hole at Pebble Beach Golf 2019.

Ryan Fox. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Ryan Fox has been grouped with South African Shaun Norris and South Korea's Dongkyu Jang for the first two rounds of the British Open, starting in Northern Ireland on Thursday night.

The New Zealand number one will tee-off in the afternoon wave on day one, before having a morning tee-time in round two.

Former Open champion and Portrush resident Darren Clarke will hit the first tee shot to start The Open as the tournament goes to Northern Ireland for just the second time.

Italian Francesco Molinari is the defending champion.

NRL to have first female official

Belinda Sharpe will become the first top flight female rugby league referee in Australia when she officiates the NRL match between Canterbury and Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.

Sharpe became an NRL touch judge in 2014 and officiated in that capacity at the 2017 World Cup.

She began refereeing Queensland Cup matches in 2015 and handled a Broncos' trial match against Wynnum-Manly in February this year.

In May, Sharpe and Kasey Badger were upgraded to full-time referee contracts, suggesting the significant appointment wasn't too far away.