24 Jan 2020

Today's Sports News: What you need to know

1:39 pm on 24 January 2020

Latest - Worcester forward Michael Fatialofa has been moved out of intensive care and into a major trauma unit after suffering a serious neck injury this month.

Hurricanes lock Michael Fatialofa 2018.

Michael Fatialofa Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 27-year-old New Zealander suffered the injury against Saracens on January 4, less than a minute after coming onto the field in the second half, and was taken off on a stretcher with a neck brace.

"Michael has been diagnosed with a spinal contusion, a serious condition which causes compression on the spine," Worcester said in a statement.

"He has undergone surgery to relieve the pressure on his spinal cord caused by bruising and swelling.

"Michael's condition remains serious but he is making good progress and he is showing encouraging signs of improvement."

Worcester said it was now hoped that Fatialofa will be moved from London to the spinal injuries unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital to continue his rehabilitation.

- Reuters

Liverpool extend EPL lead

Liverpool extended their English Premier League lead to 16 points with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers thanks to goals from Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino.

Henderson's eighth minute goal, which came off his shoulder from a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner, quietened a raucous crowd inside a mist-shrouded Molineux.

But Wolves, under coach Nuno Espirito Santo, have built a reputation for upsetting more illustrious opponents and came roaring back in the 51st minute when Raul Jimenez steered home a powerful header from the lively Adama Traore's cross.

Both sides then squandered chances before Firmino found space in the box to settle the outcome with an 84th minute strike that gave Liverpool a 14th consecutive league win.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp punched the air and their fans sang "We shall not be moved" as the relentless Reds close in on their first top-flight title in three decades.

The win put Liverpool on 67 points and still with a game in hand over last season's champions Manchester City who have 51.


PB's for NZ cyclists

The world championship-bound trio of Kirstie James, Aaron Gate and Nick Kergozou all produced personal bests on the way to claiming titles on the opening day of the National Track Cycling Championships in Cambridge.

Southland cyclist Nick Kergozou.

Nick Kergozou Photo: PHOTOSPORT

James held off fellow Elite teammate Jaime Nielsen to win the 3000m individual pursuit final.

Gate and Kergozou have both come through a tough four-day road race at the New Zealand Cycle Classic, but still were able to convert back on the boards at the Avantidrome.

Gate beat young Canterbury rider Josh Scott in the men's 4000m individual pursuit final, going nearly five seconds under his previous best.

Southland's Kergozou showed his real speed for an endurance rider in winning the 1000m time trial ahead of Zac Williams of Auckland and omnium world champion Campbell Stewart of West Coast North Island.

Double junior world champion Laurence Pithie of Canterbury showed his class with an emphatic win in the junior 1000m time trial.

Nienaber to take over Boks

Jacques Nienaber will be confirmed as the new coach of World Cup winners South Africa later today.

Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus.

Rassie Erasmus Photo: Photosport

Nienaber steps up to the role after assisting Rassie Erasmus, who led the Springboks to World Cup success in November.

He was the defence coach for the side and credited with many of the team's tactical successes in Japan.

The 47-year-old Nienaber has been the front runner for the job since Erasmus announced after the World Cup that he would step down as coach.

Erasmus will continue as Director of Rugby at the South African Rugby Union and will likely continue to have a major influence on the team.

Nienaber is a long-time collaborator with Erasmus, having originally worked as a conditioning coach. He has never played top class rugby nor coached any senior team.

Nienaber is expected to be assisted by Deon Davids, former coach of the Southern Kings.


Porte takes the lead in Down Under Tour

One of the favourites, the Australian Richie Porte, has taken the overall lead in cycling's Tour Down Under in South Australia.

Australian cyclist Richie Porte.

Richie Porte Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Porte won the 131km third stage which finished on a hill climb to grab the leaders jersey.

New Zealand's George Bennett finished ninth, five seconds behind Porte.

Porte is six seconds ahead of defending champion South African Daryl Impey on general classification.

Bennett is fifth overall, 14 seconds off Porte.

The field faces a 153km stage today.

Sri Lanka thump Zimbabwe

Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal claimed four scalps to help dismiss Zimbabwe cheaply as Sri Lanka wrapped up a 10-wicket victory on the final day of the first cricket test at the Harare Sports Club.

Resuming on 30 without loss, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 170 in their second innings, leaving Sri Lanka to knock off 14 runs for the win.

Lakmal took 4-27 in 20 overs as he ripped through the top order with Zimbabwe losing three quick wickets for the addition of just eight runs in the morning session.

Sri Lanka amassed 515 for nine declared in their first innings, with Angelo Mathews unbeaten on 200.

The second test will start on Monday at the same venue.

Zimbabwe returned to test cricket for the first time since their tour of Bangladesh in 2018.

They were briefly suspended by the International Cricket Council last year because of government interference.


Williamson makes NBA debut

Zion Williamson capped his long-awaited NBA debut by scoring 17 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and stirring the crowd into a frenzy - only to see his team come up short.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points and 14 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan added 20 points, as the San Antonio Spurs withstood Williamson's late surge for a 121-117 victory over New Orleans.

After spending the past three months rehabilitating from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, Williamson struggled to find his shot during the first three quarters, during which he played a little less than 12 minutes.


India offers to host boxing event

India has offered to host the Asia-Oceania Olympic boxing qualifying tournament.

The International Olympic Committee cancelled the tournament in Wuhan due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

The Chinese city was scheduled to host the qualifier from 3-14 February.

India is scheduled to host the 2021 world championships.

The Philippines and Japan are other possible hosts, but no matter where it is held it will be pushed further into February.

The New Zealand team of five men and four women are still in Bangkok as they were due to fly to China today.

Poor start for Foxy

The New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox has made a poor start to the latest European PGA event.

Fox fired an opening round four over par 76 to be tied for 89th at the Dubai Desert Classic.

He's nine shots behind the leader Thomas Pieters of Belgium.