8 Nov 2019

Today's sport news: what you need to know

4:59 pm on 8 November 2019

Latest - Wellington wicketkeeper Tom Blundell will captain the New Zealand A cricket side in next week's England Test warmup match in Whangarei.

Tom Blundell hits hard through the off-side during a T20 for the Black Caps.

Tom Blundell Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

The side includes 10 present or past Black Caps, including Jimmy Neesham, Ajaz Patel, Hamish Rutherford and Will Somerville.

The England side includes the likes of Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Joe Root.

The England Test squad will begin their red-ball preparation on Tuesday with a two-day warm-up game against a New Zealand Eleven made up of provincial players, before the 3-day match in Whangarei.

The first of two Tests is in Mt Maunganui starting on November 21st.

Breakers pipped by United

The Breakers have been beaten 104-101 by Melbourne United in the Australian NBL game in Auckland.

NZ Breakers RJ Hampton

RJ Hampton Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The homeside was up by two at half time, but Melbourne exploded in the third quarter to take a 17 point lead into the final quarter.

Melbourne's offensive output was spearheaded by veteran Chris Goulding who hit 16 points in the third period and eventually finished with 24.

That third-quarter dominance pushed the Breakers out of the contest as they were unable to attack the basket and had to rely on jump shots that wouldn't fall.

The Breakers have struggled with injuries of late but may have uncovered a diamond in Glen Rice Jr who only arrived in New Zealand the day before.

The American was signed as injury cover for guard Scotty Hopson (knee) and scored a team-high 26 points.

But while Rice was hot on the offensive end, he found himself in foul trouble during the third quarter and briefly had to take a seat as Melbourne took over.

The Breakers managed to cut the deficit in the fourth quarter as guard Corey Webster scored 20 points while captain Tom Abercrombie and RJ Hampton both added 16.

Eventually, Rice fouled out with only a few minutes left as the Breakers fell to 2-5 for the season.


Gatland finalises coaching staff

The new Chiefs coach Warren Gatland has largely stuck with his existing coaching staff for the 2020 Super Rugby season.

Warren Gatland appointed British & Irish Lions Head Coach.

Warren Gatland Photo: PHOTOSPORT

After 12 years with Wales, Gatland returns to his hometown next year to take over the franchise.

Former Chiefs first five and New Zealand Under 20 Assistant Coach David Hill will join his staff as an assistant coach.

Hill will join the coaching unit of Forwards Coach Neil Barnes, Defence Coach Tabai Matson, Attack Coach Roger Randle, Scrum Coach Nick White and Resource Coach Andrew Strawbridge.

Gatland said he was happy to have finalised his management and is ready to settle into the campaign.

"There is an abundance of experience among these men and I trust this will provide us with a solid platform we can build on to deliver a successful campaign for the Club."

Gatland signed a four year deal with the Chiefs in July although he will take a break in 2021 to coach the British and Irish Lions again.

The Chiefs squad will be named next week.

Two of South Africa's RWC winners sidelined

World Cup final man of the match Handre Pollard missed the start of South Africa's victory tour because he is in hospital with a fractured eye socket.

The first-five kicked 22 points as the Springboks beat England 32-12 to win the World Cup for a record-equalling third time.

Pollard, 25, watched on television as the Springboks visited Pretoria, Johannesburg and Soweto today.

A South Africa Rugby statement said Pollard, who sustained the injury during the final, would be out of action for six weeks.

Pollard, who is set to join French Top 14 club Montpellier, was the leading points scorer at the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Lock Lood de Jager who dislocated his right shoulder in the final victory over England, is out for up to six months, delaying his move to English side Sale.

Frayre still leads tour

The Mexcican rider Eder Frayre will take a 35 second lead into today's penultimate stage of the cycle Tour of Southland.

Frayre won his second straight stage yesterday which finished on the top of Bluff Hill.

He's now in prime position to become just the fifth overseas rider in 63 years to win New Zealand's most prestigious cycling race.

Frayre now leads Southland's Corbin Strong by 35sec, with defending champion Michael Vink another 12 second back.

Today's 151km stage is from Invercargill to Gore.

NZ sevens teams unbeaten

The New Zealand men's and women's rugby sevens teams have both had winning starts to the Oceania tournament in Fiji.

Portia Woodman

Portia Woodman Photo: Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

The All Black Sevens beat New Caledonia 57-nil and Niue 38-nil in their opening two games while the Black Ferns had a 26-5 win over Japan in their only game on the opening day of the tournament.

The men's side play Japan and Fiji today while the women play Australia and Canada.

Black Ferns star Portia Woodman showed no ill effects from her year on the side line recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon - scoring an impressive solo try from halfway in the win over Japan.

Hartley retires from rugby

Former England captain and Northampton Saints hooker Dylan Hartley has announced his retirement after failing to recover from a knee injury that cost him a place in the Rugby World Cup squad.

Dylan Hartley lifts the Calcutta Cup after England defeated Scotland.

Dylan Hartley Photo: Photosport

Hartley, 33, led England to back-to-back Six Nations triumphs in 2016 and 2017 but has not played since suffering the injury while representing club side Northampton against Worcester in December.

New Zealand-born Hartley was left out of Eddie Jones' 31-man squad which finished runners-up to South Africa in the recently concluded World Cup in Japan.

Hartley ends his career as England's second most capped player with 97 test caps -- behind only former prop Jason Leonard who ended his career with 114 caps -- and more than 250 appearances for the Saints.


O'Gara says Hansen took a while to warm up to him

The former Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O'Gara says he had a rather frosty relationship with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen when he arrived in New Zealand.

Ronan O'Gara  during Crusader Training

Ronan O'Gara Photo: PHOTOSPORT

O'Gara was part of the Crusaders' coaching staff during 2018 and 2019 before leaving the Super Rugby champions to accept the role as head coach of French Top 14 outfit La Rochelle.

The Irishman told the Off the Ball website that Hansen was rather cold to him.

O'Gara felt that Hansen, who has now stepped down from the All Blacks, wasn't keen on having foreign coaches involved in Super Rugby sides.

"I kind of made up with him a year or two later, but I think at the start he struggled to get his head around what I was doing there," O'Gara said.

"Particularly with the World Cup coming up, particularly with Ireland going so well."

O'Gara added that there was no hard feelings between him and Hansen and he informed of the two-time World Cup winning coach of his ambitions to coach at the highest level.

Sharma leads India to victory

India captain Rohit Sharma celebrated his 100th Twenty20 International with a blistering 85 to help secure his team's series-levelling eight-wicket victory over Bangladesh in Rajkot.

Smarting from India's loss in Sunday's opening match in Delhi, Rohit put up a scintillating batting display as India overwhelmed their 154-run victory target with 26 balls to spare.

Nagpur hosts the third and final match of the series on Sunday.


Scotland Rugby fined for comments around typhoon

The Scottish Rugby Union has been fined $140,000 and told to apologise for comments made during the Rugby World Cup in relation to the possible cancellation of their match against Japan in Yokohama due to Typhoon Hagibis.

Three World Cup pool matches were cancelled and Scotland's decisive game with the host nation was in doubt for several days due to the impact of the typhoon, which led to the deaths of more than 80 people and caused massive flooding.

SRU chief executive Mark Dodson had threatened legal action if the match did not go ahead, saying that the decision "was not just".

He also suggested that New Zealand might have been treated differently in the same situation and said that Scotland were "winners in the court of public opinion" on the matter.

A World Rugby independent disputes committee has ruled that the comments constituted misconduct, fined the SRU, formally reprimanded the union and said it should issue a "meaningful apology" to World Rugby.

The match did go ahead, with Japan claiming a famous 28-21 victory that sent them into the quarter-finals and eliminated the Scots.

The fine will be donated to the Childfund Pass it Back charity, assisting with the relief effort in the area hit by the typhoon.