9 Sep 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

9:26 am on 9 September 2019

Latest - Nick Willis has won the 5th Avenue Mile for a record fifth time, by the slimmest of margins.

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Photo: Supplied

The double Olympic 1500 metre medallist has come from behind to finish level on time with Scotland's Chris O'Hare at 3:51.7 minutes, but has prevailed in a photo finish.

"40 to go I hit the man hole cover and I lost my momentum a little bit and thought that must be it," Willis said.

"But I thought I could just give it a little bit more and just dipped on the line and I was lucky to get my breast in front of his."

It's a confidence boost for Willis ahead of the upcoming World Athletics Championships in Doha.

Price the best of the Kiwis at Burghley

Defending champion Tim Price has had to settle for fifth place at this year's Burghley Horse Trials.

Tim Price rides Ascona M.


He's completed a clear showjumping round on Bango to finish 10.8 penalty points behind Great Britain's Pippa Funnell and her mount MGH Grafton Street.

Funnell has beaten fellow countrywoman Piggy French by just point one of a penalty point.

Caroline Powell has finished the next best of the Kiwis in 20th place on On the Brash, with Dan Jocelyn and Blackthorn Cruise 24th.

Tim Price's leading mount and 2018 champion Ringwood Sky Boy was unable to complete the cross country.

Kiwi paddler falls just short of second career final

Tauranga kayaker Callum Gilbert was just 0.01secs away from a remarkable second career final at the last ICF World Cup canoe slalom round of the season in Prague overnight.

With the world championships and Olympic qualifications looming in Spain at the end of the month, Gilbert finished 11th in the men's K1 semifinal, with a 96.33sec run.

He was 4.32secs off the fastest time and was just pipped by Polish paddlers Michal Pasiut and Dariusz Popiela, who finished on 96.31 and 96.32 to finish ninth and 10th respectively.

If he'd eked another hair's breadth out of his run, Gilbert would've become the first Kiwi to have qualified for two World Cup finals in a season, after finishing fifth in the opening round in London in June.

Luuka Jones struggled with touches in her C1 women's semifinal, picking up three penalties as she finished 17th, 11.59secs off the pace.

Typhoon delays Wallabies departure for Japan

The Wallabies' departure to Japan for this month's Rugby World Cup has been delayed by the typhoon set to lash the country.

Australia’s Kurtley Beale (R) celebrates with Lukhan Salakaia (C) and Matt Toomua (L) after beating the All Blacks in Perth

Photo: AFP

The squad and support staff were scheduled to leave Australia just before`10pm Sunday.

However, winds of up to 216 kilometres per hour and heavy rain are forecast to hit Japan, as part of Typhoon Faxai, with trains and flights in Tokyo cancelled.

The Wallabies will now head to Japan around midday Monday (AEST).

Team officials reported no injury issues in the aftermath of Saturday's 34-15 win over Samoa.

The game in Sydney was Australia's last before their World Cup opener against Fiji in Sapporo on September 21.


Springboks prop cleared for RWC

Springboks prop Trevor Nyakane is expected to be fit for their Rugby World Cup opener against the All Blacks after limping out of the 41-7 warm-up victory over Japan on Friday.

The tighthead prop managed only 14 minutes before leaving the field with a sprained knee but should be available for selection to face the world champions on September 21.

Nyakane also made a scheduled return to South Africa on Saturday to be with his wife for the birth of their child, and he would arrive back in Japan on Friday.

The 30-year-old won his 41st cap against Japan after making his debut in 2013 and is expected to at least claim a place on the bench for the match against the All Blacks in Yokohama.

South Africa also face Italy, Namibia and Canada in Pool B.

- Reuters

USA name forward-heavy squad for RWC

The United States have opted to select an extra forward in their 31-man squad for the looming Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The USA get an offload away against Canada during their opening round win.

USA in action against Canada at the Pacific Nations Cup Photo: Linda Brothers

Announcing the squad on Sunday, coach Gary Gold explained that he had made the decision in the expectation of an attritional campaign.

"We've gone with 18 forwards and 13 backs," Gold said.

"We think that the attrition for this rugby World Cup, especially our pool, is going to take it out of our forwards, so we've gone with an extra forward.

"We've got good depth in almost every position, I think we're well covered. Where I think we are very lucky is that we've got quite a few guys who can play in multiple positions."

The US Eagles are in a tough Group C with England, France, Argentina and Tonga.

They play their opening match against Eddie Jones' highly-fancied England in Kobe on September 26.

- Reuters

Ferrari end long drought at home grand prix

Charles Leclerc has triggered a frenzy of Ferrari celebration after holding off a race-long Mercedes challenge to take the Italian Formula One team's first home grand prix victory since 2010.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.


Valtteri Bottas was second for Mercedes with five-times world champion Lewis Hamilton a distant third after tyre wear took its toll in a thrilling battle with the 21-year-old Monegasque.

"What a race! I have never been so tired," gasped Leclerc as a sea of fans, starved of success at Monza since Fernando Alonso won in the red overalls, swept onto the pit straight to party below the overhanging podium with flags and flares.

"Winning here is just a dream," continued the winner, switching to fluent Italian to address a crowd cheering a fitting triumph on the 90th anniversary of both Monza and Formula One's most glamorous team.

"Last weekend (in Belgium) was my first victory, but the emotion of winning here is 10 times that," said Leclerc, a two times winner -- and Ferrari's sole one so far this season -- in only his 14th race for Ferrari.

"Thanks to everybody. I have no words."

- Reuters

Roglic and Valverde distance rivals

Primoz Roglic maintained his sizeable lead over Alejandro Valverde in the Vuelta a Espana after stage 15 but both widened the gap over the rest of their rivals in the general classification.

Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team mate Sepp Kuss took the stage win.

Valverde launched an attack on Roglic in a bid to reduce his overall deficit although the Slovenian was up for the fight and the pair stayed together to come eighth and ninth respectively, two minutes 14 seconds down on Kuss.

Valverde still trails Roglic by two minutes 25 seconds but the Vuelta now looks set to be a two-horse race after the pair caused considerable damage to the other contenders.

2016 winner Nairo Quintana suffered the most, finishing three minutes 50 seconds behind Kuss and now trails Roglic by five minutes nine seconds.

His compatriot Miguel Angel Lopez also saw his hopes of an overall win fade as he lost 41 seconds on Roglic.

- Reuters

Spain roll on at Basketball World Cup

Spain secured their fifth successive win of the Basketball World Cup with an impressive 81-69 defeat of Serbia and Argentina matched them with a 91-65 rout of Poland.

All four sides had booked their quarter-final spots with a match to spare and the results mean that Spain will face Poland and Serbia lock horns with Argentina for places in the semi-finals.

France play Australia today for top spot in their second round pool with both teams already through to the last eight.

Also on Monday, holders the United States meet Brazil and the Czech Republic play Greece with all four sides in that group still in contention to reach the knockout rounds.

- Reuters

Maloney leaves NRL a winner

Penrith have sent James Maloney out a winner after putting Newcastle to the sword 54-10 in their NRL dead rubber at Panthers Stadium.

Panthers James Maloney celebrates after kicking the winning drop goal in Golden Point time, to win 19-18, during the NRL rugby league match between the Warriors and the Panthers, held at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland.   30 June 2019. Copyright photo: Brett Phibbs / www.photosport.nzz

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

Playing the final game of the league's regular season, the Panthers had far too much energy on Sunday for a Knights defence that showed little resilience.

Much of the build-up centred on the farewell of Super League-bound veteran James Maloney, however teammate Nathan Cleary stole the show.

The star halfback scored four tries, assisted on a fifth, and kicked a perfect nine goals from as many attempts for a club-record 34-point individual haul.


Manly may lose hosting rights for NRL elimination final

Manly's home final at Lottoland is under the threat of being moved to Bankwest Stadium after traces of asbestos were found at the suburban ground.

The NRL has confirmed small traces of asbestos were found on the Brookvale hill on Friday, with a report due to be submitted to the league on Monday evening.

Ticket sales for the elimination final against Cronulla have been put on hold, with the match still to be scheduled for Saturday night.

"Our number one priority is ensuring the safety of our players and fans," NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said.

"Unfortunately it could not be guaranteed when the schedule was confirmed.

"We have given the local council and the Sea Eagles a period of grace of 24 hours in order to assess the safety of the venue before we release tickets."