5 Sep 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

3:07 pm on 5 September 2019

Latest - The New Zealand tennis player Michael Venus and his Chinese Taipei partner Hao-Ching Chan are through to the final of the Mixed Doubles at the U.S. Open in New York after a straight sets semi-final win.

11th July 2019 - Tennis - Wimbledon (Day 10) - Michael Venus (NZL) celebrates as he and his partner Raven Klaasen (RSA) win a point against Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL) and Robert Farah (COL) during their Gentlemen's Doubles Semi Final match - Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

Photo: Photosport

They will play Jamie Murray of Britain and American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the final on Sunday morning.

Venus and Chan lost the Mixed Doubles Final in 2017.

The winners will earn $250 thousand.

Black Caps opener returning home

Black Caps opener Martin Guptill has been ruled out of the third and final Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka with a right abdomen strain.

New Zealand's Martin Guptill (L) is watched by Sri Lanka's wicketkeeper Kusal Perera as he hits a six during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Sophia Gardens stadium in Cardiff.

Martin Guptill in action against Sri Lanka at the Cricket World Cup Photo: AFP

Guptill suffered the injury while fielding and didn't open the batting as New Zealand chased down 161 to claim the second T20I in Kandy by four wickets.

Guptill is on his way back to New Zealand for further assessment, with Otago Volts and Worcestershire opener Hamish Rutherford called across from England as cover.

Black Caps coach Gary Stead confirmed Rutherford will join the squad today, as cover for Central Stags batsman Tom Bruce who tweaked his right knee while batting in game two.

There's better news for Ross Taylor (left hip) who is fit and available for the final T20 on Saturday morning NZT.

Kiwi swimmer calls it quits

Rio Olympian Emma Robinson has announced her retirement from competitive swimming to focus on a career in sports management.

Emma Robinson

Emma Robinson Photo: Ian McNichol

As well as representing New Zealand at the 2016 Games, the 24-year-old attended the 2013 and 2015 world championships.

"I have been lucky enough to be a competitive swimmer since the age of 12," Robinson said.

"Over that time swimming has given me so much, it has taught me dedication, hard work, trusting the process, leadership, discipline and how to deal with failure just to name a few.

"Moving forward I'm planning on finishing my sports management degree and then move into that field of work."

Warriors second-rower declared unavailable for Kiwis

Injured second-rower Tohu Harris won't play rugby league until next year after the Warriors declared him unavailable for Kiwis international duty.

Warriors player Tohu Harris.


The classy forward's season has been sabotaged by a foot injury suffered in mid- June which has proved more damaging than first feared.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney made it clear the 27-year-old won't add to his 16 Tests until 2020 at the earliest.

New Zealand face Australia in Wollongong on October 25 before home Tests against Great Britain over the two following weekends.

"I'm saying now that I won't be making Tohu available but I'm pretty confident that he's going to be saying the same thing," Kearney said.

"He's the type of fella that he doesn't want to put himself at risk given he's missed 10 games this year, missed half of the season. He's still having issues with it."


In a major step in his recovery, North Queensland Cowboys prop Matt Scott has been discharged from hospital after suffering a mild stroke.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - 21/02/2016 - Rugby League - Dacia World Club Challenge - Leeds Rhinos v North Queensland Cowboys - Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds, England - North Queensland Cowboys' Matt Scott (second left) celebrates the win with team-mates.

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

The Cowboys said doctors were confident Scott would make a full recovery.

The 34-year-old had already announced he would retire, ending his 268-game NRL career at season's end.

But he was robbed of an on-field farewell when he suffered the stroke following North Queensland's 42-6 loss in Newcastle three weeks ago, promptly ending his 16-season career - all with the Cowboys.

"North Queensland Cowboys legend Matt Scott has been discharged from hospital as he continues his recovery from a mild stroke," a Cowboys statement said.

"Scott's condition has improved gradually over the past two weeks and doctors remain confident he will make a full recovery in due course."


Twitter taking action against online racist abuse

Twitter said it has taken action on more than 700 cases of "abuse and hateful conduct" related to football in Britain in the last two weeks and promised to continue its efforts to curb the menace.

Paul Pogba of Manchester United has had a very public falling out with manager Jose Mourinho.

Paul Pogba Photo: Photosport

Manchester United's Paul Pogba was a target of racist abuse online after missing a penalty in a Premier game last month and Twitter had said it would discuss the issue with the club and British anti-discriminatory body Kick It Out.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard called on social media firms to register their users in order to stamp out racist comments after defender Kurt Zouma and striker Tammy Abraham were targeted.

"In the past two weeks, we've taken action on more than 700 examples of abuse and hateful conduct related to UK football," Twitter UK said.

"This vile content has no place on our service. We will continue to take swift action on the minority that try to undermine the conversation for the majority.

"This behaviour does not reflect the vast majority of fans who use Twitter... we've spent years forging strong partnerships with clubs, organisations and supporters and deeply value the relationships."

- Reuters

Pocock back to lead Wallabies

Flanker David Pocock will captain Australia on his return from injury in Saturday's final Rugby World Cup warm-up against Samoa in Sydney.

David Pocock is hoping for a thumbs-up from Australian rugby officials to allow him to study overseas for a year.

David Pocock is hoping for a thumbs-up from Australian rugby officials to allow him to study overseas for a year. Photo: Photosport

Pocock's return after a long lay-off due to a calf injury is a major boost for the Wallabies as they look to build confidence and work on combinations before their bid for a third Webb Ellis Cup in Japan.

The 31-year-old openside will start in the number seven jersey alongside number eight Jack Dempsey and blindside Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.

Cheika is resting a number of players from the side that were thrashed 36-0 by world champions New Zealand in their last start, including halfbacks Christian Lealiifano and Nic White, and regular captain and openside Michael Hooper.

Centre Samu Kerevi, fullback Kurtley Beale, locks Rory Arnold and Izack Rodda, and front row forwards Allan Alaalatoa, Tolu Latu and Folau Fainga'a, will also miss the match as Cheika takes a safety-first approach before Japan.

The match will double as a farewell to home fans for a number of retiring Wallabies.

Genia and prop Sekope Kepu have announced they will quit internationals after the World Cup, while veteran hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau is set to play his last test off the bench, having been omitted from Cheika's Japan squad.

- Reuters

"Mix and match strategy" for England in final RWC warm-up

England coach Eddie Jones has handed Joe Marchant a starting berth against Italy in their final Rugby World Cup warm-up match on Friday despite the centre being overlooked for the 31-man squad for Japan.

England rugby coach Eddie Jones

England rugby coach Eddie Jones Photo: Photosport

Marchant has been training with the squad for the last three weeks and gets the nod with Henry Slade and Jonathan Joseph both ruled out with injuries.

Two further players not selected for the World Cup are present on the bench in lock Charlie Ewels and flanker Matt Kvesic.

Ruaridh McConnochie, the only uncapped player in England's World Cup squad, has again been named to start after pulling out of two warm-up fixtures due to injury last month.

Marchant will join Piers Francis in the midfield in what is described by Jones as a "mix and match strategy" for the match at St James' Park in Newcastle.

Jones' side will fly out to Japan on Sunday before their tournament opener against Tonga on Sept. 22.

- Reuters

Former captain to coach Pakistan

Former captain Misbah-ul-Haq has been named Pakistan's head coach as well as the chief selector on a three-year contract, with pace great Waqar Younis joining him as the team's new bowling coach.

Pakistan test captain Misbah ul Haq

Misbah-ul-Haq Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Misbah and Waqar have worked together in the past when the former was the Pakistan captain and the latter was the head coach.

"It is very humbling for me to join a select group of some of the very best to have coached the Pakistan national sides in the past," Misbah, who scored over 10,300 international runs in 75 tests and 162 one-dayers, said in a statement.

"It is an honour and more than that, a massive responsibility as we live and breathe cricket.

"I know expectations are high, but I am absolutely ready and up for the task otherwise I would not have thrown my name in the hat for one of the most challenging and coveted roles in Pakistan cricket."

- Reuters

Athletics Integrity Unit not appealing USADA decision

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said it would not appeal the decision by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to withdraw a whereabouts charge against American sprinter Christian Coleman.

Director-General of the World Anti-Doping Agency, David Howman.

David Howman Photo: AFP

USADA had charged Coleman with three failures to properly file whereabouts information in a 12-month period, but withdrew it after receiving guidance from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on how to calculate the window.

The AIU, which oversees integrity issues in international athletics, including doping, had the right to appeal but said they would not exercise that option.

"Based on the facts of the case and clear advice about the interpretation of the current International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI) received from WADA, the AIU has decided not to appeal the USADA decision regarding Coleman," AIU chairman David Howman said in a statement.

Coleman is set to represent the United States in the 100 and 200 metres at the Sept. 27-Oct. 6 world championships in Doha.

- Reuters

Gatlin cleared to run in world champs

Reigning world 100 metres champion Justin Gatlin should be back training within the week after tests were negative for a possible hamstring injury.

Justin Gatlin with his 2017 world championship gold medal.

Justin Gatlin with his 2017 world championship gold medal. Photo: Photosport

The American sprinter slowed noticeably about 65 metres into a race he was leading and began grabbing his left hamstring before finishing fourth in Zagreb this week.

"He said he started to feel something grabbing, so he immediately tried to protect against any potential injury occurring," his manager Renaldo Nehemiah said in an email.

Tests to Gatlin's hamstring "showed he still had 100 per cent strength in the leg and there were no adhesions or anything," Nehemiah added.

The Zagreb race, on a relatively cool evening, was Gatlin's last before defending his world title in Doha later this month.

He is expected to resume training in Florida several days after returning home, Nehemiah said.

- Reuters

Local rider wins latest stage of Vuelta

Spanish rider Mikel Iturria won stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana on home soil in the Basque Country with a hugely impressive solo attack, while Primoz Roglic maintained his overall lead.

Iturria was part of a 12-strong group of breakaway riders on the 180km hilly stage from Saint-Palais in France to Urdax-Dantxarinea but attacked himself 25 kilometres from the finish, at one point stretching his advantage to 45 seconds.

The chasers gained ground on Iturria but could not reel him in and the Euskadi-Murias rider earned his first Grand Tour win by finishing six seconds ahead of fellow Spaniard Jonathan Lastra in second and third-placed Lawson Craddock of the U.S.

"When I was asked which stage I wanted to win, I said this one with my family here. I've always dreamed of something like this, because I'm a worker not a winner," Iturria told reporters.

Race leader Roglic came in 18 minutes and 35 seconds behind Iturria with the rest of the peloton, maintaining his lead of one minute 52 seconds over nearest challenger Alejandro Valverde after his victory in Tuesday's individual time trial.

- Reuters

Marijuana plantation found on the Vuelta

Spanish police were lent an unexpected hand in a drug raid in the province of Barcelona after a helicopter camera filming the Vuelta a Espana cycling race alerted officers to two rooftop marijuana plantations.

Officers seized 40 cannabis plants in the town of Igualada after being alerted to the plantations due to videos from last Saturday's stage eight which had been posted on social media.

The images showing the plants were taken from a helicopter camera as the riders approached the finish line in Igualada, located 65 kilometres outside of Barcelona.

The 166.9 kilometre stage beginning in Valls was won by German rider Nikias Arndt.

The spokeswoman added that no arrests had been made and there was an ongoing investigation to find the culprits.

- Reuters

Heavyweights three from three at Basketball World Cup

Serbia have celebrated their third successive basketball World Cup win after a majestic performance by guard Bogdan Bogdanovic helped them to a 92-77 victory over Italy while Argentina overpowered Russia 69-61.

Spain, the 2006 champions, also made it three wins out of three with a laboured 73-65 win over Iran as did Poland after they beat Ivory Coast 80-63.

Puerto Rico booked their berth in the second group stage after edging Tunisia 67-64 and they were joined by surprise package Venezuela, who brushed aside China 72-59 and knocked the host nation out of the 32-team tournament.

Sacramento Kings guard Bogdanovic scored 31 points and Denver Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic added 15 as Serbia pulled away in the third quarter after the Italians had slashed the deficit to 55-53.

- Reuters

Cowboys running back ends holdout

Running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys agreed to a six-year, US$90 million contract that ends his five-week holdout.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday that Elliott earned his massive payday.

"Zeke has been arguably our best player," said Jones, who was in New York to ring the opening bell at the Stock Exchange, in an interview with CNBC. "I'm not trying to be unfair to anybody else. But he's an incremental part to our success. We're glad to get him booked in, we're glad to have him on the team.

"And he plays a position that has some pretty interesting dynamics to it because running backs are short-lived, although we had what I consider to be one of the top five greatest ones in Emmitt Smith, and Emmitt ran the ball for 13 years. So you don't have to have a four- or five-year career to be a running back. On the other hand, Zeke allows us to create such problems for the defense that then we can open it up to our passing, open it up for Dak Prescott."

Elliott is in line to receive $50 million in guarantees, trumping the $45 million Todd Gurley received from the Los Angeles Rams, according to ESPN.

"Zeke has a big heart," Jones said. "Now he's got a thick pocketbook, too."

- Reuters