25 Oct 2019

Today's sport news: what you need to know

10:55 am on 25 October 2019

Latest - The New Zealand Breakers have scored their first win of the NBL basketball season with a 103-72 victory over the Illawarra Hawks in Auckland.

NZ Breakers Brandon Ashley in action.

Brandon Ashley Photo: PHOTOSPORT

After starting 0-2, the Breakers were in desperate need of a triumph and they achieved that goal on the back of an improved shooting display.

The game was billed as a Battle of the Next Stars - RJ Hampton of the Breakers and LaMelo Ball for the Hawks - and both NBA-bound youngsters had their moments.

Hampton took the early honours with a block on Ball in the opening exchanges, while Ball threw down a big dunk in the fourth quarter but neither dominated the game.

For all the pre-game chatter about the Next Stars, two of the home-grown NBL veterans helped get the job done for the Breakers.

Kiwis Tom Abercrombie (16 points) and Corey Webster (17 points) both nailed big shots when it mattered.

Breakers lost big man Rob Loe in the first quarter with a head knock which resulted in a fractured skull. Loe will undergo further tests in hospital over the weekend.


Vahaamahina gets six-week ban for RWC red card

France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina has been suspended for six weeks for his red card in their World Cup quarter-final defeat by Wales last week, World Rugby said.

France were leading 19-10 in Oita, Japan when Vahaamahina elbowed Wales forward Aaron Wainwright in the face and was sent off. The French were reduced to 14 men and went on to lose the match 20-19.

Vahaamahina admitted to the act of foul play, accepting that the offence warranted a red card.

Although the entry point for punishment was 10 weeks, the committee reduced it by four weeks after Vahaamahina acknowledged his conduct and apologised to Wainwright.

The 28-year-old Vahaamahina announced his international retirement after France were knocked out of the World Cup.

- Reuters

Boks lose winger

South Africa has suffered a big blow ahead of their Rugby World Cup semi-final against Wales with winger Cheslin Kolbe, one of the tournament's standout players, was ruled out through injury.

Kolbe missed South Africa's pool match against Canada with the ankle problem and had to leave the field in the latter stages of last week's quarter-final against Japan.

He missed training on Tuesday and will be replaced for Sunday's match in Yokohama by Sbu Nkosi in the only change to the team that beat the hosts last week.

- Reuters

Wales fullback out

Wales fullback Liam Williams has been ruled out of Sunday's World Cup semi-final against South Africa after sustaining an ankle injury.

Williams, who has 62 caps and started all of Wales's World Cup games except one, is not expected to recover in time for their next match - the final or third-place playoff.

Leigh Halfpenny is expected to replace the 28-year-old in the lineup against South Africa when the team is announced today.

- Reuters

Coulthard set to bounce back from Bathurst

Despite copping vile social media abuse including death threats, Fabian Coulthard has been backed by his Supercars teammate Scott McLaughlin to overcome his Bathurst 1000 controversy at this weekend's Gold Coast 600.

McLaughlin last week hit out at on-line trolls, admitting Coulthard was "struggling" after copping the brunt of criticism for their Ford outfit DJR Team Penske's safety car tactics at Mount Panorama.

But ahead of the Gold Coast 600, McLaughlin claimed they had now developed a thick skin and anyone who couldn't handle social media criticism shouldn't be on it.

"Social media has been pretty heavy for him and the team, but what social media gives is a voice, everyone gets an opinion, and you have to allow that," McLaughlin said.

"At the end of the day you have to get on with it.

"If you can't handle that (criticism) on social media you shouldn't be on it at all.


Hansen knocks down 'clever Eddie' spy psychology

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has laughed off spying claims by England counterpart Eddie Jones and repeated his own assertions that the Australian likes to play mind games before big matches.

Jones told reporters on Tuesday that England had seen someone filming their training session in Tokyo ahead of their World Cup semi-final against the All Blacks, though he did not accuse the New Zealanders of being the culprits.

"Eddie and I both know it's all fair in love and war," Hansen told a media conference on Thursday after naming his side for Saturday's semi-final at Yokohama Stadium.

"And Eddie knows in a time of war that you throw out a bit of distraction for you guys [the media] to deal with. Best clickbait in the world, 'someone is spying on us'.

"He didn't say it was us. He was very deliberate in doing that. He talked about it being someone else, probably a fan. But everyone has jumped on it. [He] has been very clever."

Hansen added that he and Jones exchanged text messages and "laughed" at the claims and the stories about the pair's mind games ahead of the semi-final.

Thwaites to retire

Veteran Australian Diamonds goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites will retire from international netball following Sunday's Constellation Cup decider against the Silver Ferns in Perth.

Caitlin Thwaites during the Netball Quad Series between the Australian Diamonds and the Silver Ferns in Durban January 2017.

Caitlin Thwaites during the Netball Quad Series between the Australian Diamonds and the Silver Ferns in Durban January 2017. Photo: Photosport

The 32-year-old will make her 55th and final Diamonds appearance in the clash with the Silver Ferns.

Thwaites is a long-standing member of the Diamonds, having been a member of the squad since 2006 and six years later making her debut in 2012.

Thwaites regained selection into the Australian side after a successful stint playing for the Pulse in the old ANZ trans-Tasman competition.

The goal shoot has had to spend a lot of time on the Australian bench, sitting behind star shooter Caitlin Bassett for a number of years.

Thwaites will continue to play in the Super Netball league for Melbourne Vixens in 2020.


Lydia Ko tied for 13th

New Zealand golfer Danny Lee has continued his good form in Asia.

After finishing second in South Korea last week, Lee is tied for 25th, six shots behind Americans Tiger Woods and Gary Woodland at the latest PGA event in Japan.

Woods returned to competition in style, shooting his best score in more than a year to take the lead with a spectacular six-under-par 64.

Compatriot Lydia Ko is tied for 13th, three shots off the leader at the BMW Championship in South Korea.

Meanwhile Ryan Fox fired a one over par 72 to be tied for 89th at the Portugal Masters.

3am start for runners?

Tokyo, host of the 2020 Olympic Games, is considering proposing to start the marathon and race walking events as early as 3am to counter an IOC decision to move the races to Sapporo due to worries about heat.

The International Olympic Committee this month announced a plan to move the marathon and race walking to Sapporo, on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, from originally planned courses in the capital.

Kyodo, citing unnamed sources, said Tokyo is looking into an alternative plan to have the races start at 3am or 5am to keep them in the city.

- Reuters