29 Oct 2019

Today's sport news: what you need to know

6:47 pm on 29 October 2019

Latest - The New Zealand XI have beaten England by 8 wickets in a warm-up match in Lincoln ahead of the first T20 cricket international this Friday.

Colin Munro hit an unbeaten 107 for New Zealand while fellow opener Tim Seifert made 12.

Blackcaps' Colin Munro celebrates 50 against Sri Lanka 2018.

Colin Munro Photo: PHOTOSPORT

England set New Zealand a target of 189.

Meanwhile, Wellington batsman Devon Conway has blazed a double century on the first day of the Plunket Shield match against Canterbury.

His 261 not out has set up Wellington in a commanding 415 for 6 at stumps.

The Firebirds named debutant Michael Snedden in their playing XI, making Snedden the first fourth-generation cricketer in New Zealand first-class history - following in the footsteps of father Martin Snedden, grandfather Warwick Snedden and great-grandfather Nessie Snedden.

Both Martin and Nessie Snedden represented New Zealand, Nessie having captained his country.

Michael Snedden made his Domestic debut for the Auckland Aces last season, playing two Ford Trophy matches, but did not play first-class cricket for the side before switching to Wellington.

He is also the sixth cricketer overall from the Snedden family to play first-class cricket.

Rugby and rugby league unite

The Warriors and the Blues will unite the once-deeply-divided codes in what is believed to be a world-first rugby league-rugby union double header to be played at Eden Park.

Auckland Blues coach Leon MacDonald and Warriors coach Stephen Kearney ahead of the "Codes of Auckland" rugby and rugby league double header.

Auckland Blues coach Leon MacDonald and Warriors coach Stephen Kearney. Photo: Supplied

The back-to-back games will bring the NRL and Super Rugby competitions together and also pit Auckland's two oval ball clubs against their Australian capital counterparts.

Dubbed the "Codes of Auckland", the 21 March event will kick off with the Warriors facing beaten NRL grand finalists the Canberra Raiders at 5pm followed by the Blues taking on Super Rugby semi-finalists the Brumbies at 7.35pm.

The encounter with the Raiders will be the Warriors' seventh home game at Eden Park, six years after their last there which was also against Canberra.

"New Zealand's national stadium was built for crowds of all sizes and demographics so an opportunity to host fans of both the Blues and the Vodafone Warriors in our 116-year old home is inspiring," Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner said.

"We look forward to showcasing the stadium's diversity and providing Kiwis with another great reason to visit Eden Park," he said.

SBW on English Super League radar

Ambitious English Super League newcomers Toronto Wolfpack have reportedly made a $9 million play to lure Sonny Bill Williams back to the 13-a-side game.

Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams Photo: PHOTOSPORT

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the 34-year-old superstar is weighing up a two-year deal.

Williams is contracted to New Zealand rugby until the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup in Japan - with the All Blacks preparing to face Wales on Friday in the third-place playoff.

It is believed that a host of rugby clubs have already made a play for Williams while back-to-back NRL premiers Sydney Roosters appear to be priced out of the race for the services of their former back-rower.

The Wolfpack were established in 2016 and will be the first North American team to compete in Super league after they won promotion to the top-tier via the Million Pound Game on October 5.

They are funded by Australian mining and resources billionaire David Argyle, who has previously revealed his interest in snaring Williams as their marquee signing.

Toronto coach Brian McDermott told the PA news agency earlier this month that they wanted to bring in a David Beckham-type player to raise their profile, much like the former football icon did for Los Angeles Galaxy and the MLS, and that Williams fits the bill.


Champion opens with a win

Defending champion Elina Svitolina has opened her WTA Finals campaign in style with a straight-sets win over world No.2 Karolina Pliskova.

Elina Svitolina (UKR) returns the ball.

Elina Svitolina Photo: Photosport

Svitolina's straight sets victory leaves the Ukrainian in prime position to claim a semi-final berth for the second straight season after she won the title last year in Singapore.

The eighth seed needed seven set points to take the opening tiebreaker before sealing victory after one hour and 53 minutes in Shenzhen.

Svitolina is the only player among this year's WTA Finals field who has yet to win a title in 2019, but could be saving her best for last, just like she did in Singapore 12 months ago.

Meanwhile Simona Halep has battled back from a set and match point down to deny Bianca Andreescu in a thrilling encounter.

Andreescu looked set to add yet another big-name scalp to her stunning 2019 CV before the Wimbledon champion dug deep to eke out a spirited three set victory over the teenage sensation.


England top world rugby rankings

England are now the number one ranked team in world rugby.

England's head coach Eddie Jones attends a warm-up session before the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between England and Australia at the Oita Stadium in Oita on October 19, 2019.

England rugby coach Eddie Jones Photo: AFP

England's 19-7 victory over the All Blacks in the World Cup semi-final has lifted them to the top of the rankings, a position they last occupied in June 2004.

South Africa are now second in the rankings after their 19-16 semi-final win over Wales.

The All Blacks drop to third, equalling their lowest ever position since the rankings were introduced in 2003.

In the rest of the rankings Wales are fourth followed by Ireland, Australia, France, Japan, Scotland and Argentina.

Federer sits out Paris Masters

World number three Roger Federer has withdrawn from this week's Paris Masters as he fine tunes his schedule heading into the season-ending ATP Finals.

Roger Federer has been eliminated from the U.S. Open.

Roger Federer Photo: Photosport

The 38-year-old Swiss lifted a record-extending 10th Swiss Indoors championship title in his hometown of Basel over the weekend and has decided not to play back-to-back weeks at this stage of the season.

"I have to pace myself since I want to play as long as possible on the ATP Tour. I am sorry for my French fans who I will see next year at Roland Garros."

Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas have booked their places for next month's ATP Finals, with the Paris Masters set to determine who clinches the final two spots for the London tournament.

- Reuters

F1 champion calls for better race trophies

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel has renewed his call for Formula One to have better race trophies after criticising the sponsored one handed to him in yesterday's Mexican Grand Prix.

Scuderia Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The four-times world champion also took a dim view of race mascot 'Mario Achi', a white helmeted character dressed as a Mariachi musician, trying to join the champagne celebrations with a selfie stick.

"I think it's a shame, you have such a great race and they've put so much effort into the race, and then you get these... trophies that look boring," the German, who finished second, said.

He suggested something more traditionally Mexican would be a good idea.

"I mean, there's Heineken written everywhere," he said of the current one. "So get something nice like they had when we used to race, when Formula One used to race here before we came back."

There was no immediate response from race organisers or sponsors.

- Reuters

Basketball grand finalists struggle in new season

Melbourne United's season is on shaky ground after the reigning NBL basketball grand finalists were beaten 90-85 by the Cairns Taipans.

United led by 13 points early in the match and looked well on the way to registering a dominant win against the struggling Snakes.

But the Taipans, desperate to register their first win at home for the season, were down by just four at half time and their were up by one heading into the final quarter.

Cairns have now defeated both of last year's grand finalists, following last week's win against the Perth Wildcats, and hold a 2-4 record.

Melbourne are second from bottom on the standings with one win from five games.