4 Sep 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

12:17 pm on 4 September 2019

Latest - Otago distance runner Caden Shields has been added to the New Zealand team for this month's World Athletics Championships in Doha.

Shields will compete in the men's marathon alongside Malcolm Hicks.

Pole vaulter Eliza McCartney.

Eliza McCartney Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Robertson twins, Jake and Zane, have both withdrawn from the marathon to focus on their preparation for next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Eliza McCartney also won't be competing in Doha, with the Rio pole vault bronze medallist announcing her withdrawal.

It leaves the New Zealand team at 12, with double Olympic medallist Nick Willis likely to be added when the qualification period ends on Friday.

Serena in commanding form in US Open quarter-final

Serena Williams has raced through to the semi-finals of the US Open in New York.

Tennis - US Open 2019 - Serena Williams - Usa

Photo: Chryslene Caillaud / Panoramic

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion has needed just 44 minutes to beat Qiang Wang of China 6-1, 6-0.

Williams will face Ukrainian Elina Svitolina in the last four of the women's draw after the fifth seed overcame Brit Johanna Konta, also in straight sets.

Russia's Daniil Medvedev is through to his maiden Grand Slam semi, after beating Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka in four sets.

Medvedev will play the winner of the next men's quarter-final between five-time champ Roger Federer and Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov.

Bevin second on stage 10 of the Vuelta

New Zealand cyclist Patrick Bevin has come up just one spot short of a stage victory on one of the sport's prestigious Grand Tours.

New Zealand cyclist Patrick Bevin


Bevin has finished second in this morning's stage 10 individual time trial at the Vuelta a Espana.

The CCC team rider's time was 25 seconds down on stage winner, Slovenia's Primoz Roglic, who has taken the overall leader's red jersey.

Roglic is now 1:52 minutes clear of Spain's Alejandro Valverde, with Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez third a further 19 seconds back.

New Zealand's George Bennett clocked the 27th fastest time on the stage - to move up two places to 13th overall, more than 10 minutes behind his Jumbo-Visma team-mate Roglic.

New Zealand still in running to host World Cup

New Zealand Football is one of eight member associations that will continue their bid to host the expanded women's World Cup in 2023.

Sarah Gregorius of New Zealand celebrates scoring against England.


FIFA agreed to increase the number of participating teams for the 2023 event from 24 to 32 following this year's edition in France, and it subsequently reopened the bidding process.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, South Africa and South Korea, which is interested in a joint bid together with North Korea, are also in the running to host the tournament.

Belgium, which registered its interest last month, as well as Bolivia are not on the latest list.

Member associations have until December 13 to submit their bid and FIFA will conduct official inspections for relevant member associations in January and February 2020, with the hosts are expected to be named in May.

- Reuters

Chiefs lock headlines Canada's squad

Chiefs lock Tyler Ardron has been appointed Canada's captain for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Tyler Ardron.
Chiefs v Reds, Super Rugby, FMG Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand. 24 May 2019. © Copyright Photo: Jeremy Ward / www.photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

Ardron headlines a Canadian squad which features a number of players from the newly formed Major League Rugby in North America.

DTH van der Merwe, who plays for Glasgow Warriors in the Pro 14, has been selected to play at this fourth World Cup.

Canada was the final nation to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, with wins over Kenya, Germany, and Hong Kong in a 4-team repechage tournament in France.

Canada will face Italy in their tournament opener on September 26th before playing the All Blacks, South Africa and Namibia.

Strong Springboks side named to face Japan

South Africa named a strong side for their final Rugby World Cup warm-up match against hosts Japan, with head coach Rassie Erasmus viewing Friday's contest as the perfect preparation for their tournament opener against New Zealand.

Springbok Siya Kolisi.

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Erasmus made wholesale changes to the squad from the victory over Argentina last month with captain Siya Kolisi returning at flank for Friday's clash in Kumagaya.

Kolisi's inclusion is the only difference from Erasmus' 23-man squad for the draw with New Zealand in July which means Japan can expect to face the full might of the Springboks.

Fellow flanker Pieter Steph du Toit will make his 50th test appearance for the Springboks in a formidable back row that also includes Duane Vermeulen at No.8.

Erasmus said he picked a strong squad partially to prepare for the September 21 World Cup opener but also because of the respect the Springboks still hold for Japan, who famously beat them in the pool stages in Brighton four years ago.

"We respect Japan a lot and we think they are a very good team, who are ranked number nine in the world," Erasmus told reporters in the central Japanese city of Gifu, where South Africa are holding their pre-tournament training camp.

- Reuters

Edinburgh hooker named Scotland's captain for RWC

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend says the calming influence Stuart McInally will bring the best out of other players in the team at the World Cup in Japan after naming the Edinburgh hooker as the captain of their 31-man squad.

2019 Six Nations Scotland's Stuart McInally runs in to score a try.


The 29-year-old, who has 29 caps for his country, was on Tuesday chosen ahead of the experienced John Barclay and Greig Laidlaw for the tournament which kicks off later this month.

"Stuart has done a really good job in the opportunities he's had to captain Scotland," Townsend, who named 13 players with previous World Cup experience, said in a statement.

"He captained Edinburgh last season and is a real lead-by-example player, both in training and in games. He's a calming influence and is very good at bringing the best out of others.

"We have a number of leaders in our squad and it was great to see them work well together out in Georgia last week."

Scotland, quarter-finalists in 2015, kick off their campaign in Pool A against Ireland on September 22 before matches against Samoa, Russia and hosts Japan.

- Reuters

Gogodze returns for Georgia

Former captain Mamuka Gorgodze has been named in Georgia's 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan, more than two years after he announced his international retirement.

Georgia's head coach Milton Haig 
and captain Mamuka Gorgodze lead the captain's run at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff.

Georgia's head coach Milton Haig and captain Mamuka Gorgodze lead the captain's run at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff. Photo: AFP

Gorgodze, 35, won the last of his 71 caps in March 2017 but returns to play in his fourth World Cup as coach Milton Haig turned to the flanker, who can also play as a lock and number eight, following a run of injuries to his players.

Georgia begin their Pool D campaign against Wales on September 23 before matches against Uruguay, Fiji and Australia.

- Reuters

Woakes out of England side for fourth Ashes test

England will make one change from the team which beat Australia at Headingley, with Craig Overton replacing Chris Woakes in the seam attack for the fourth Ashes test at Old Trafford, starting tonight.

Captain Joe Root said Somerset seamer Overton would make his fourth test appearance, having last featured in New Zealand in March 2018, and that conditions at Old Trafford should suit the 6 foot five tall Overton.

"At this ground, I think it does perform slightly differently, that extra bit of bounce, a taller bowler is a slightly different option to go to and I feel like that balances out our attack really well in these conditions," Root told reporters.

Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer will open the England bowling attack with all-rounder Ben Stokes another seam option and Jack Leach providing slow left-arm spin.

Overton made his test debut in the Ashes series in 2017 at Adelaide and bowled Australia's Steve Smith as well as removing current skipper Tim Paine.

Australia have dropped top-order batsman Usman Khawaja and recalled Steve Smith, who is fit again after suffering concussion in the second test.

- Reuters

Steve Smith back atop the test batting rankings

Australia's run-machine Steve Smith has edged past Indian captain Virat Kohli to become the best test batsman in the world, based on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) rankings.

Australian batsman Steve Smith

Australian batsman Steve Smith Photo: All Rights Reserved

Kohli's side moved to the top of the new ICC World Test Championship table with a 2-0 series sweep against West Indies. But his own first-ball duck in the second innings at Sabina Park meant he slipped to second spot in the men's individual ranking with 903 points.

Smith leads Kohli by one point but will have a chance to consolidate his position in the fourth Ashes test against England starting on Wednesday at Old Trafford, where he returns after recovering from concussion.

Former captain Smith has not held top spot in the rankings since December 2015.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson retains third spot, while India's Ajinkya Rahane returned to the top 10, rising four places to seventh.

- Reuters

USA need overtime to beat Turkey

Holders United States ground out a dramatic 93-92 overtime win against Turkey in the Basketball World Cup while Canada were knocked out after a 92-69 drubbing by Lithuania.

Turkey came agonisingly close to staging the shock of the tournament but missed four successive free throws in the final 10 seconds of the contest before Chris Middleton sank both his shots from the foul line with two 2.1 second left.

The Americans were able to breathe a huge sigh of relief after Turkish forward Ersan Ilyasova's off-balance shot on the buzzer fell short.

Having suffered a 108-92 defeat by Australia, the Canadians left themselves no chance of progressing after they were torn apart by a rock-solid Lithuanian side.

Lithuania never looked back after winning the first quarter 24-14 and built on that lead against a disjointed Canada, whose coach Nick Nurse suffered a painful exit after steering the Toronto Raptors to the 2019 NBA title.

Six Lithuanian players ended in double scoring digits to wipe out a valiant solo effort by Canada's Kyle Wiltjer, the game's top scorer with 24 points.

- Reuters

Record spend during football's latest transfer window

Spending by teams in Europe's Big Five leagues totalled a record 5.5 billion euros ($6.13 billion) during the close season transfer window, financial analyst Deloitte's Sports Business Group said.

The outlay was 0.9 billion euros more than the previous record set in 2018, with England's Premier League clubs spending 1.55 billion euros with a net spend of 635 million euros.

Spain's La Liga clubs spent 1.37 billion euros -- exceeding 1 billion euros for the first time -- while Italy's Serie A (1.17 billion euros) Germany's Bundesliga (740 million euros) the French Ligue 1 (670 million euros) all set new records.

"Spending across clubs in Europe's 'big five' leagues has reached record levels in this summer's transfer window," said Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

"This unprecedented level of spend has been driven by a number of factors, including additional income from new league broadcast cycles, participation in, and subsequent distributions from, UEFA club competitions."

- Reuters