11 Aug 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

12:31 am on 11 August 2019

Latest - Parramatta have left Newcastle's NRL finals hopes hanging by a thread after surviving a second-half onslaught to claim a 20-14 victory.

With four games remaining in the regular season, the Knight's are three points outside the top eight in 12th spot.

The Eels join Manly on 26 points but stay in sixth on points differential.

Meanwhile, Robbie Farah's final weeks in the NRL are in danger and the Wests Tigers' finals hopes were dented by a shock 18-16 defeat to Canterbury.

Farah limped from the field in the first half after injuring his right knee.

A win over the lowly-ranked Bulldogs would have seen them stay in the top eight with four rounds to play, but they'll now finish the weekend 10th and one point adrift.

Earlier, St George Illawarra all but consigned Gold Coast to the NRL wooden spoon with a drought-breaking 40-28 win over the Titans.


Te'o, Brown dropped by England after brawl - report

Backs Ben Te'o and Mike Brown were excluded from the final week of an England training camp after being involved in an altercation during a team social event, according to an English media report.

New Zealand-born centre and former Queensland State of Origin representative Te'o and fullback Brown were among four players cut from the training squad by coach Eddie Jones and neither was included in the match day 23 for Sunday's World Cup warm-up test against Wales at Twickenham.

Jones, who will finalise his 31-man squad for the World Cup on Monday, said the players cut from the squad could still make it to Japan, where the World Cup kicks off on 20 September.

The Times newspaper report said word of the clash got back to Jones after the social event designed at building stronger bonds between the players at the camp in Treviso, Italy.

- Reuters

Waikato stun Canterbury

Waikato have stunned Canterbury in Hamilton 31-28 in the first round of the Mitre 10 cup.

Canterbury, last year's beaten finalists led 21-14 at half-time in the men's provincial rugby competition.

Earlier, Tasman whalloped the Wellington Lions 45-8 in Blenheim, while Taranaki beat Counties-Manukau 34-29 in Pukekohe.

Japan beat United States

Japan overpowered a dogged United States 34-20 to win the Pacific Nations Cup in Suva and enjoy a timely confidence boost six weeks out from hosting the Rugby World Cup.

Captain Michael Leitch scored a try in each half, with winger Kenki Fukuoka and fullback Ryohei Yamanaka also crossing to give the undefeated Brave Blossoms their third triumph in the tournament after claiming the 2011 title and sharing the 2014 trophy with Samoa.

Despite a selection shake-up and some early fumbles, Japan soon produced the high-pace, running rugby that saw them rack up big scores in the defeats of Fiji and Tonga.

Jamie Joseph, back in charge after missing the win over Tonga due to the death of his mother, was underwhelmed by the win, however, and felt his team had put themselves under pressure.

- Reuters

Rain washes out Black Caps warm up

Rain has washed out the final day of the three day warm-up match between the Black Caps and a Sri Lankan Board Eleven in Colombo.

The match has been called a draw.

Rain also prevented any play on the second day of the tour match.

The locals ended the first day on 323 for six.

The first Test against Sri Lanka starts in Galle on Wednesday.

Williams gets past Osaka

Serena Williams moved into the Rogers Cup semi-finals with a maiden career victory over Naomi Osaka in their first meeting since the American's infamous row with an umpire overshadowed last year's US Open final.

Serena Williams in action in Melbourne.

Serena Williams in action. Photo: Photosport

The 6-3 6-4 loss continued a run of poor form for Osaka but there was some good news later in the day when Karolina Pliskova lost to ensure the US and Australian Open champion would replace Ash Barty as world number one next week.

Unlike at Flushing Meadows last year, where Osaka won her first Grand Slam title, there were no fiery exchanges with the umpire, no smashed rackets, no point or game penalties - just a rock-solid performance from Williams.

Williams will next face qualifier Marie Bouzkova, who advanced when Wimbledon champion and holder Simona Halep retired from their match with a left Achilles problem after dropping the first set 6-4.

- Reuters

Warriors rookie Harris-Tavita turns heads

Coach Stephen Kearney will consider fielding Kodi Nikorima at hooker when the Warriors face the Sydney Roosters next week, such is the striking form of NRL rookie Chanel Harris-Tavita.

The boom 20-year-old five-eighth was best on park as the Warriors upset Manly 24-16, attacking with variety, kicking prodigiously and bringing Mt Smart Stadium to life with a series of bone shuddering hits.

With just 10 first grade appearances to his name, Harris-Tavita will be hard to drop when Kiwis international half Nikorima returns from an ankle injury, probably next week.

Kearney admitted as much when asked if he'd consider Nikorima for a first career start at hooker, where all three Warriors specialists are unavailable because of injury or suspension.

Harris-Tavita was the only Warrior to emerge with real credit in the previous week's 46-12 loss to Canberra, scoring all their points, including two tries.

Kearney said in a 25-year playing and coaching career, he couldn't recall a young half so willing to land heavy defensive shots, usually on considerably bigger players.


Liverpool start with a big win

Liverpool have given Norwich a rude welcome back to the English Premier League as they inflicted a 4-1 rout at Anfield, but there was a worrying sight for Jurgen Klopp as goalkeeper Alisson hobbled off before halftime.

Champions League Final - Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring their first  goal.


Norwich, back in the top flight after a three-year absence, gifted the European champions a seventh-minute lead via Grant Hanley's own goal and quickly crumbled as Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk and Divock Origi added to the score before halftime.

The Canaries looked much better in the second half as Teemu Pukki pulled a goal back but there was nothing they could do to prevent a 10th straight Premier League win for the hosts.

However, what could have been the perfect start to what Liverpool hope will be another title challenge had the sheen taken off by Alisson's injury as the Brazilian went down clutching his calf after slipping while playing a goal kick.

Champions Manchester City open the defence of their title with a trip to London tonight to face West Ham.


Sri Lanka recall two for NZ Test series

Sri Lanka recalled former captains Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews for the first test against New Zealand which starts in Galle on Aug. 14.

Chandimal was dropped from the team for their tour of South Africa earlier this year due to poor form and did not make the squad for the World Cup either.

Mathews, who missed the South Africa tour due to a hamstring injury but played in the World Cup, returns to the test side after an impressive performance in Sri Lanka's recent 3-0 one-day international series win over Bangladesh.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella, who also missed the World Cup, is another notable addition to the 15-man squad, which includes spinners Lasith Embuldeniya, Lakshan Sandakan and Akila Dananjaya.

Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa Fernando are the three quicks in the line-up, with all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva offering another spin option.

Sri Lanka squad:

Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Janith Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya De Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Oshada Fernando, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando

- Reuters

McCullum set to coach

The former Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum is in line to take over as the head coach of Trinbago Knight Riders and assistant coach at Kolkata Knight Riders following his retirement from all forms of cricket earlier this week.

Brisbane Heat batsman and former Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum.

Brisbane Heat batsman and former Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum. Photo: Photosport

ESPNcricinfo is reporting that McCullum has been signed up by the Knight Riders franchise - which owns both teams - for at least the upcoming seasons of the Caribbean Premier League and the Indian Premier League.

The 37 year old was expected to play in the Euro T20 Slam from August 30 as an icon player for Glasgow Giants but instead announced his retirement as a freelance cricketer.

Kolkata Knight Riders recently announced that they were parting ways with Jacques Kallis, their head coach, and Simon Katich, the assistant coach who was also the head coach at Trinbago. The head coach for the IPL franchise hasn't been announced yet.

Woods out injured

Tiger Woods has been forced to withdraw from the Northern Trust Open due to pain and stiffness in his surgically repaired back, the PGA Tour said.

Tiger Woods has his eyes forward as he rediscovers the form that made him a global superstar.

Tiger Woods has his eyes forward as he rediscovers the form that made him a global superstar. Photo: Photosport

Woods, 43, had acknowledged that his back was stiff on the eve of the first event of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs which had limited his ability to practice.

The 15-times major champion struggled to compete in the first round and carded a four-over-par 75 which left him 13 strokes behind American leader Troy Merritt.

"I went for treatment early Friday morning, but unfortunately I'm still unable to compete," Woods was quoted as saying by the PGA Tour.

The American's withdrawal means Woods will have to wait longer to tie Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour victories.

- Reuters

England drop Ali for second Test

All-rounder Moeen Ali has been left out of England's squad for the second Ashes test against Australia next week after a disappointing display during a crushing defeat in the opener.

As expected, fast bowler Jofra Archer was included in the 12 and looks poised to make his test debut in the absence of England's record wicket taker James Anderson.

The veteran Anderson injured his calf again on the first day of the opening test at Edgbaston which Australia won by 251 runs -- their first win at the ground since 2001.

Moeen made only four runs in two innings at Edgbaston and his exclusion means left-hander Jack Leach, who batted impressively to score 92 as a night watchman against Ireland the week before Moeen also failed, will likely take over England's spin bowling duties at Lord's.

Moeen has reached 50 only once in his last 16 test innings and has also struggled to make an impact with the ball in the previous series against Australia.

While the loss of Anderson is a major blow to England's hopes of regaining the Ashes, the prospect of Archer steaming in to bowl his 90mph deliveries will excite England's fans.

The Barbados-born pace bowler made a huge impact at the World Cup when he was England's leading wicket-taker and bowled the dramatic Super Over at Lord's which sealed the title for the hosts over New Zealand.

- Reuters

McLaren returns to Indycars

McLaren will return to full-time IndyCar racing in 2020 in partnership with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chevrolet.

The team will be renamed Arrow McLaren Racing SP, entering two Chevrolet-powered cars in next year's championship. No drivers have been mentioned.

Former Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran, the sporting director of McLaren Racing, will lead a dedicated group independent of the Formula One team.

McLaren last competed full-time in the IndyCar championship in 1979.

McLaren have been mulling a full campaign since their failure to qualify Spaniard Fernando Alonso for this year's Indianapolis 500.

Alonso has targeted Indianapolis as the only race between him and becoming only the second driver after the late Briton Graham Hill to win the so-called "Triple Crown of Motorsport".

The double Formula One world champion has won the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours.

- Reuters

Jones to become most capped Welsh player

Alun Wyn Jones will become his country's most capped rugby player of all time this weekend when he captains Wales against England at Twickenham in his 135th test match.

The 33-year-old lock will lead a strong selection as Wales coach Warren Gatland named an unchanged backline from the side that clinched the Grand Slam against Ireland in March for the first of back-to-back World Cup warm-up games.

The second is in Cardiff next Saturday.

Meanwhile the former Crusaders halfback Willi Heinz will start at halfback for England in the match.

- Reuters

Murray set for singles comeback

Former world men's tennis number one Andy Murray will make his singles return next week at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

The news, announced by the Scot on his Facebook page, comes seven months after his tearful revelation in Australia in January that his career could be over and six months on from his second hip operation.

Murray began his comeback in June by playing doubles in the Championships at Queen's Club and has continued to compete in the less-demanding format, most recently in this week's Canadian Open.

Murray has been combining competing in doubles with training for singles and revealed ahead of last week's tournament in Washington that he was targeting Cincinnati.