20 Jul 2019

Today's Sports News - What you need to know

5:59 pm on 20 July 2019

Latest - New Zealand have staged an incredible comeback to win the gold medal in football at the Pacific Games for the first time.

New Zealand's Dane Schnell scored in the 86th minute.

New Zealand's Dane Schnell scored in the 86th minute. Photo: www.phototek.nz

The Des Buckingham coached U-23 side scored twice in the final few minutes to stun three-time defending champions New Caledonia at the J.S. Blatter Football Complex in Apia.

Buckingham said the come-from-behind win was typical of the character his squad has shown over the past two weeks at the Pacific Games in Samoa.

"If you are going to win a final, that is a great way to do it, score twice in the final minutes and to win it the way we did. Full credit has to go to the players, it is a fantastic achievement," he said after the win.

New Caledonia, the most successful side in the competition's history with seven titles, went into the final without conceding a goal.

Saints beat defending champions

The Wellington Saints have beaten the defending champion Southland Sharks 95-89 in today's first National Basketball League semi-final in Christchurch.

The Saints will take on the winner of this evening's second semi-final between Canterbury and Hawkes Bay in tomorrow's final.

Kikau and Fifita face shoulder charge bans

The NRL judiciary charged Penrith's Viliame Kikau and Cronulla's Andrew Fifita for illegally using their shoulders during separate matches last night.

The duo are set to miss one game each if they accept early guilty pleas, risking a further match suspension if they unsuccessfully fight the charge.

Fifita's alleged shoulder charge was on Warrior Lachlan Burr during the Sharks' 19-18 loss to the New Zealand team.

The Panthers host the Raiders in round 19, while the Sharks are at home to the Cowboys - both crucial matches for both Penrith and Cronulla, who are stuck among a host of teams vying for top eight positions.


Johnson devastated at Warriors defeat

Thankful his Warriors reunion is over, Shaun Johnson believes he's coming into the kind of form that can revive a Cronulla NRL campaign plunging close to finals oblivion.

The celebrated Warriors halfback of eight seasons said he was gutted to fall short 19-18 against his former club, admitting the match in Wellington had played on his mind for some time and was like nothing he had experienced.

While the emotions weren't as thick as if the game had been staged at his old Auckland stomping ground of Mt Smart Stadium, Johnson said his nerves had escalated before kickoff.

"It was different, it's something I'm glad is out of the way now."

"Even like running out there and seeing them warming up at the other end of the field, things like that (felt strange). But once you're into it, it's like a normal game."

Johnson looked sharp on a dangerous right edge and admitted he was feeling close to his best form after missing five games with a torn hamstring that required a careful return initially.


England set up netball semi-final with NZ

England have fired a message to their Netball World Cup rivals with a dominant 58-47 win over fellow title contenders South Africa in their final group game in Liverpool.

England's win has set up a semi-final against New Zealand, while the South Africans must recover in time to face favourites and triple defending champions Australia, who beat the Kiwis 50-49 on Thursday.

Tracey Neville's team will have few fears over the identity of their future opponents after such a big win over a team that had beaten them in their previous meeting, costing them the Quad Series title in January.

England immediately imposed themselves and their opponents' cause was hardly helped by the early exit of captain Bongiwe Msomi, who hobbled off injured after seven minutes.

- PA