6 Nov 2019

Today's sport news: what you need to know

3:18 pm on 6 November 2019

Latest - the defending champions the Pulse will begin their title defence in next year's ANZ Netball Premiership on the road against the Tactix in Blenheim.

The draw for next season has been released with the season opener on March 15th.

The Northern Stars will host the Mystics the same day while the Southern Steel will play the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in Dunedin the following day.

A new schedule will see two games played on Sunday's and one on Monday night.

The Pulse celebrate winning the ANZ Premiership Trophy.

The Pulse celebrate winning the ANZ Premiership Trophy. Photo: Photosport

Shapovalov ships back to Auckland

Top Canadian tennis player confirmed for Auckland, Chelsea fight back in ECL and strong cycling team named for World Cup.

Canadian tennis player Denis Shapovalov.

Denis Shapovalov Photo: PHOTOSPORT

20-year-old Denis Shapovalov will return to the event joining fellow youngsters Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov.

The Canadian took home his first ATP Tour title in 2019, winning the Stockholm Open in October and reached a further final, three semi-final's and three quarter-final's in a career best year which has propelled the Canadian to a career high World Number 15.

The excitement machine, who is known as one of the most flamboyant and energetic players on Tour, has proved he plays his best tennis on the biggest stages. He was the youngest player ever to reach a Masters 1000 semi-final when he beat Nadal and Juan-Martin Del Potro en-route to the final four at the Toronto Masters, a feat he has repeated on the clay courts of Madrid, Miami and indoors in Paris showcasing his abilities on all court-types.

Dramatic night at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea fought back from 4-1 down against nine-man Ajax Amsterdam to draw 4-4 in their Champions League game at Stamford Bridge.

Jorginho of Chelsea celebrates a goal.

Jorginho Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The result left both teams and Valencia, who beat bottom side Lille 4-1, on seven points at the top of the standings in a battle for two places in the last 16.

Ajax dominated the game until they had both Daley Blind and Joel Veltman sent off for second yellow cards midway through the second half.

European champions Liverpool moved within one step of qualifying for the knockout stage with a 2-1 win over Belgium's Genk at Anfield.

The win leaves Liverpool, who fielded a weakened side ahead of Sunday's top-of-the-table Premier League clash with Manchester City, top of Group E with nine points.

Napoli are second in the group with eight points.

Barcelona were booed off the pitch by their supporters as they drew nil all with Slavia Prague.

Barcelona remain top of the group, one point ahead of Borrusia Dortmund who beat Inter Milan 3-2.

17 cyclists named in World Cup team

Cycling New Zealand has named a team of 17 riders for their first Track World Cup meeting in Hong Kong later this month.

Rio Olympic silver medallists New Zealand team sprint, Ethan Mitchell, Eddie Dawkins and Sam Webster.

NZ sprint team Photo: Photosport

The three-time world champion team sprint trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins have been named, while former Marlborough rider Callum Saunders has been rewarded for two international wins in keirin this season with his first World Cup for the elite team.

The leading women's sprint trio of Commonwealth Games medallists Natasha Hansen and Ellesse Andrews are joined by Rio Olympian Olivia Podmore, with all three performing strongly at the Oceania Championships.

The Hong Kong meet is the third round of the six-stop World Cup circuit which is the final international qualifying series to secure placings and performances leading to the 2020 Tokyo

The fourth round of the World Cup is in Cambridge in December.

Breakers sign reinforcement

The Breakers have signed American Glen Rice as injury cover for Scotty Hopson.

Injured American import Scotty Hopson

Injured American import Scotty Hopson Photo: Photosport

Hopson split a ligament in his knee against the Cairns Taipans last Thursday and there is still no definite date for his return.

With starters Rob Loe and Finn Delany also injured, the Breakers have called up the free agent Rice, who they hope will contribute immediately to the side.

The 28-year-old shooting guard has had NBA stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards but particularly shone on court under the guidance of Dan Shamir in Israel last year.

In one season under Shamir, he was the league leader averaging 24.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

The Breakers have just two wins from six games this season.

Stewart grabs narrow Tour lead

New Zealand cyclist Cambell Stewart will take a four-second lead into today's fourth stage of the Tour of Southland.

Tour of Southland

Tour of Southland Photo: Studio Jubb

Stewart, the world omnium champion on the track, won a sprint finish in yesterday's stage to Te Anau.

Stewart leads from Australian Jensen Plowright with James Harvey third and defending champion Michael Vink fourth.

Today's stage is from Mossburn to Coronet Peak.

Walker hard hit by Melbourne Cup loss

New Zealand jockey Michael Walker didn't have a great Melbourne Cup outing, just being pipped for the win and then being fined.

The Australian-based rider was suspended for seven meetings and fined $10,000 for over use of the whip, using it 12 times before the 100m mark.

Walker admitted he was devastated he couldn't win the Melbourne Cup for his family.

Third across the line, Prince Of Arran was elevated to second behind Vow And Declare after a stewards' protest.

As Walker was leaving home for Tuesday's meeting, he promised his daughter Layla that he would win the Melbourne Cup.

Tuesday was Layla's 11th birthday.

"I'm very family orientated and I feel like I've let her down," Walker said.

"That's what has hit me the hardest.

"Then getting elevated to second probably makes it hurt a little bit more.

Walker's suspension starts after he rides at the Oaks day meeting at Flemington on Thursday.


Liverpool squad depth tested

Liverpool will field two different playing squads in the League Cup and Club World Cup in the space of 24 hours in December due to a lack of available dates to postpone their League Cup quarter-final.

Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp Photo: Offside Sports Photography

The quarter-final against Aston Villa is set to be played on December 17 - the same week Jurgen Klopp's side travel to Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup where they play their first match on December 18.

After knocking Arsenal out in the last 16, Klopp had threatened to pull the Anfield side out of the League Cup if they could not find a suitable date for the quarter-final tie.

Liverpool said they had discussed alternative dates with the English Football League but could not find a suitable one that would not compromise the competition's schedule.


Saracens fined for salary cap breach

English club rugby champions Saracens have been given a 35-point deduction and fined $NZ10 million after they were found guilty of breaching salary cap regulations.

British media reported the breaches related to England internationals such as Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Mako and Billy Vunipola entering into business partnerships with club chairman Nigel Wray.

Saracens said they were "shocked and disappointed" by the sanctions and confirmed they would appeal the disciplinary panel's findings.

Saracens, who accomplished the Premiership and European double last season, were fourth in the standings this season with nine points from three games before the punishment was announced.

The points deduction will place them last in the standings on -26 ahead of Saturday's trip to Gloucester and in danger of relegation from the top flight if they end the season at the bottom of the table.

The current salary cap is $NZ14.1 million, which does not include two 'excluded players' whose salaries are outside the cap.


Smith masterclass guides Australia to T20 win

Steve Smith has put on a batting masterclass to help Australia cruise to a seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in their Twenty20 clash in Canberra.

Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins Photo: Photosport

Smith tallied his highest T20 score for Australia in more than four years, his unbeaten 80 helping the Aussies chase down 151 with nine balls to spare.

The former Australian captain was at his vintage best during the 51-ball knock.

Ashton Agar (2-23) and Pat Cummins (1-19) were Australia's best performers as they restricted Pakistan to 150-6.

Iftikhar Ahmed anchored the Pakstan innings from No.6 with an unbeaten 62 off 34 balls.

The first match was washed out, with the third match in Perth on Friday.


Early entry Franklin Bulls into NBL

South Auckland will be represented ahead of time in next year's National Basketball League by new franchise Franklin Bulls.

Just months ago the Bulls were granted provisional entry into the national league for the 2021 season, but after moving quickly to complete a set of requirements set down by the NBL, the franchise is now set to represent in the 2020 competition.

The Bulls become the eighth team in the league and find themselves on a recruiting mission.

NBL general manager Justin Nelson said entry was fast-tracked largely because of the club's determination to succeed.

Djokovic and Federer to clash in ATP Finals

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have been drawn in the same group for next week's year-ending ATP Finals in London.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic Photo: Panoramic

New world number one Rafa Nadal was drawn with defending champion Alexander Zverev.

Djokovic and Federer were joined by Austrian Dominic Thiem and Italy's Matteo Berrettini in Group Bjorn Borg, while Nadal and Zverev were drawn alongside Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and Russian Daniil Medvedev in Group Andre Agassi.

Federer has won the ATP Finals a record six times in his career -- last winning the title in 2011 -- while Djokovic has won it five times. Nadal has never won the tournament, losing in the final to Federer in 2010 and Djokovic in 2013.

Nadal, who dethroned Djokovic at the top of the ATP rankings on Monday, pulled out of the semi-finals of the Paris Masters last week due to an abdominal injury but the Spaniard confirmed he is set to travel to London after undergoing a scan.


Russian doping scandal overwhelming: WADA president

Outgoing World Anti-Doping Agency president Craig Reedie says the scale and size of the 2015 Russian doping scandal overwhelmed his organisation.

Speaking at the World Conference on doping in sport in Poland, Reedie said the affair that emerged ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics and saw the involvement of a vast number of athletes, coaches and officials was the biggest challenge WADA faced in its 20-year existence.

He said the level of cheating was unprecedented, leaving WADA under mounting pressure to work for all clean athletes as the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) was declared non-compliant.

RUSADA was suspended after the 2015 WADA report found evidence of state- sponsored doping in Russian sport and the country was barred from the Rio Games the following year.

Reedie will be replaced by Poland's sports minister Witold Banka in January.