11 Sep 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

10:37 am on 11 September 2019

Latest - The New Zealand men have made a successful start to the World Surfing Games in Japan, which doubles as a qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics.

Mahia’s Ricardo Christie will join Taranaki’s Paige Hareb on the World Surf League tour this year.  Photo Robin Martin

Mahia’s Ricardo Christie will join Taranaki’s Paige Hareb on the World Surf League tour this year. Photo Robin Martin Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Ricardo Christie and Billy Stairmand have won their opening round heats, while Kehu Butler has finished second in his to also advance.

They're up against more than 130 surfers from 55 countries who are chasing berths at next year's Olympics.

Christie, Stairmand and Butler are trying to emulate team-mate Ella Williams, who has provisionally qualified for Japan by finishing as the leading Oceania surfer in the women's competition.

Warriors without star signing

The Warriors women will be without their major recruit for the start of the second season of the NRLW.

Kiwi Ferns captain Honey Hireme will play for the Warriors this season.

Kiwi Ferns captain Honey Hireme will play for the Warriors this season. Photo: Photosport

Kiwi Ferns player Honey Hireme isn't available for Saturday's opening round match against the Roosters in Melbourne, as she's away supporting her seriously ill mother.

"Family is everything and we want Honey to do what is right for her," said coach Luisa Avaiki.

"We know she wants to be playing and hopefully she'll be available when we have our first home game against St George Illawarra (at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday, September 22)."

Avaiki has still named a line-up laden with internationals.

Led by new captain Georgia Hale, the starting combination features 10 players from the Kiwi Ferns side which trounced Fetu Samoa in June plus a non-playing member of the squad.

Also named is seasoned Kiwi Fern Atawhai Tupaea, who has made her return to top level this year after having her second child, as well as Fiji international Timaima Ravisa, one of two Fijian players signed this year.

Meanwhile Kiwis prop and Sydney Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has been cleared for Friday's blockbuster final after successfully arguing at the NRL judiciary that his hit on Liam Knight had been a "rugby league accident".

The Kiwi test prop was found not guilty of a grade-one careless high-tackle charge on Knight, despite the South Sydney prop suffering a nasty gash above his left eye.


New Zealand making winning start to boxing world champs

Auckland light heavyweight Jerome Pampellone has made a strong start to the men's World Boxing Championships in Russia.

Pampellone has beaten an Hungarian opponent in the first preliminary round by way of a unanimous decision.

He'll next meet a Belgian on Sunday night.

Middleweight Ryan Scaife and double Commonwealth Games gold medallist David Nyika will have their first bouts this weekend.

Hillier goes pro

New Zealand's highest ranked amateur golfer Daniel Hillier has made the transition into the professional ranks.

Daniel Hillier

Daniel Hillier Photo: Photosport

Having won the first stage of European Tour Qualifying School last week, he will make his European Tour debut at this week's KLM Open in the Netherlands.

Hiillier has been New Zealand's top ranked amateur for several years, and felt it was time to start the next chapter in his young golfing career.

He will also sign with Sportcircle, a golf agency based in London which counts Ernie Els, Romain Langasque and Matthew Jordan among its clients.

English footballers four from four in Euro 2020 qualifying

England remains in charge of its qualifying group for Euro 2020 after an entertaining 5-3 win over Kosovo in Southampton.

The English scored five straight goals after conceding in the opening minute, but were then held scoreless in the second-half as Harry Kane missed a penalty.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane Photo: Photosport

The result leaves England three points ahead of the Czech Republic, with a game in hand.

Reigning European champions Portugal are second their group after Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals in a 5-1 win over Lithuania.

But Iceland's in danger of failing to qualify after falling 4-2 to Albania and slipping to third in its group.

Former Black Caps captain signs up to coach new English cricket competition

Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming has signed up to coach the Nottingham-based team in a new competition called The Hundred.

Stephen Fleming.

Stephen Fleming. Photo: Photosport

"I am looking forward to returning to Nottingham. It was a special part of my career and it allowed me to fall back in love with the game. My memories with Nottingham and Trent Bridge are outstanding."

The Hundred is a new 100-ball format that is set to launch next year with the men's and women's competitions to run concurrently over a five-week period.

The competition is set to attract some of the world's best players and will feature eight city-based clubs, from Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff, Southampton and two in London at Lord's and the Oval.

Argentina wind back the clock

Argentina steamrolled into the Basketball World Cup semi-finals with a spectacular 97-87 win over Serbia, who were among the tournament favourites, and were joined by 2006 champions Spain who overpowered surprise package Poland 90-78.

The Argentines will lock horns with either holders United States or France, who meet in Wednesday's opening quarter-final, while the Spaniards will take on the winners of the Australia v Czech Republic clash.

Playmaker Facundo Campazzo sank 18 points and racked up 12 assists while evergreen 39-year old centre Luis Scola scored 20 points as Argentina picked Serbia apart with a barrage of fast breaks and lethal long-range shooting.

- Reuters

Reprieve for Namibia loose-forward

Namibia loose-forward PJ van Lill has received a Rugby World Cup reprieve after successfully appealing against a red card he received in a warm-up match against South African franchise Southern Kings on Saturday.

Van Lill, who will be appearing at his third World Cup in Japan, was sent off in the 21-17 victory along with Kings flanker Thembelani Bholi after the pair were involved in a scuffle.

It would have meant a suspension for Namibia's opening three games of the World Cup against Italy, South Africa and New Zealand.

The versatile Van Lill, 35, has 50 international caps since making his debut in 2006 and has played at lock, flank and number eight in recent years. He is expected to be used at the back of the scrum in Japan, where Namibia are also in the same pool as Canada.

- Reuters

Michael Jordan contributes to Hurricane Dorian relief effort

Michael Jordan pledged $1 million Tuesday to the Hurricane Dorian relief effort in the Bahamas.

Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan. Photo: Photosport

The Charlotte Hornets owner and NBA Hall of Fame member owns property there and is a frequent visitor to the area that was devastated by the Category 5 storm earlier this month.

The official death toll has climbed to 50 in the Bahamas but is expected to rise. Thousands remain missing or displaced.

Jordan donated $2 million last year toward Hurricane Florence relief efforts near his hometown of Wilmington, N.C.

- Reuters

MLB to make September 11 anniversary

Major League Baseball will mark the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 with tributes, special caps and base markers.

Games will be played in 15 cities and each ballpark is scheduled to hold pregame ceremonies and a moment of silence to mark 9/11.

"All of our clubs have a commitment to honoring those whose lives we lost and to ensuring that we don't forget," said Melanie LeGrande, MLB's vice president of social responsibility, told MLB.com. "We're preserving the legacy for those who perished on that day."

The New York Mets will host the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night and have invited first responders to join them on the field before the game. Both teams will wear NYPD and FDNY caps during batting practice.

- Reuters