6 Feb 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

10:08 am on 6 February 2020

Latest - Double Olympic rowing champion Mahe Drysdale has regained the single sculls sport in the national rowing squad and is all but assured of chasing a hatrick of medals at the Tokyo Games later this year.

New Zealand's Mahe Drysdale after winning gold in the mens singles at Rio 2016 Olympics.


Drysdale has ousted Robbie Manson from the single scull spot which Manson took over in 2017 on the back of a form slump from Drysdale following his Rio Olympic gold medal win.

However Manson has struggled on the international scene and following recent trials on Lake Karapiro has moved into double alongside Chris Harris with Drysdale reclaiming the single.

Drysdale will contest two World Cup regattas in Italy and Switzerland in May.

Seven other crews including women's single scull Emma Twigg, the women's coxless pair of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast, the women's double of Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue and the lightweight double of Jackie Kiddle and Zoe McBride have been named.

Fatialofa moved to specialist spinal unit

The former Hurricanes lock Michael Fatialofa has been moved to a specialist spinal injuries clinic after four weeks in a London hospital.

Hurricanes lock Michael Fatialofa 2018.


The 27-year-old New Zealander suffered a serious neck injury playing for Worcester against Saracens on 4 January.

The club says "although Michael is making good progress his injuries leave him facing damaged function, feeling and control over his body and a long period of rehabilitation and recovery,"

A fundraising campaign has been set up by the Rugby Players' Association's Restart charity.

- Reuters

Young Reds advance to take on Chelsea

Liverpool have booked a fifth round tie against Chelsea after their youngest-ever starting line-up overcame League One Shrewsbury Town 1-nil at Anfield in their fourth round replay.

With the Reds' senior players out because of the Premier League winter break, Liverpool's line up included seven teenagers.

Newcastle needed extra time to beat League One Oxford United 3-2.

In other fouth round replays Birmingham City beat Coventry 4-1 on penalties.

Penalties were also needed in the Cardiff-Reading match, with Reading advancing 4-1.

Derby beat Northampton 4-2.

Captain leads South Africa to win against cricket world champs

Captain Quinton de Kock smashed a sparkling century as South Africa eased to a seven-wicket victory against world champions England in the opening One-Day cricket International at Newlands.

Quinton de Kock bats for South Africa in their ODi win over NZ.

Quinton de Kock Photo: PhotoSport

After being put into bat England overcame a top-order wobble to post 258 for eight in their 50 overs, helped by a well-constructed 87 from Joe Denley in the side's first ODI outing since lifting the World Cup at Lord's last July.

But De Kock (107) and Temba Bavuma (98) put on 173 for the second wicket as South Africa reached 259 for three to secure victory with 14 balls to spare.

The second ODI will be played in Durban on Friday, with the three-match series ending in Johannesburg on Sunday.

- Reuters

World Cup champs host All Blacks at altitude

The All Blacks will play in the new Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit for the first time when they take on South Africa in this year's Rugby Championship.

The Springboks celebrate their World Cup win

The Springboks celebrate their World Cup win Photo: INPHO

The Springboks will host New Zealand there on September 26, with all three of the Springboks' home matches in the competition to be played at altitude.

South African Rugby confirmed the six venues for the home tests in 2020 on Tuesday, which also includes two matches against Scotland and a meeting with Georgia in July.

South Africa have played on three previous occasions at the Mbombela Stadium, which is on the border of the famous Kruger National Park, and recorded wins over Scotland, Wales and Argentina.

The Boks will also play a final test at Cape Town's Newlands Stadium, some 129 years after their first, before rugby in the city is moved to the Cape Town Stadium from 2021.

- Reuters

India into U19 cricket final

India are through to the under-19 men's cricket World Cup final after beating Pakistan by 10 wickets.

The defending champions were in impressive form bowling Pakistan out for just 172.

Yashasvi Jaiswal then scored 105 and Divyaansh Saxena 59 as India crusied to their target in the 36th over.

New Zealand play Bangladesh in the other semi-final tomorrow night.

New Zealand bowlers closing in on Trans Tasman title

The Blackjacks men have taken a big step towards winning the Trans Tasman bowls trophy for the first time in 11 years, while the women have suffered another agonising defeat to Australia.

Blackjack Ali Forsyth celebrates a good shot while representing New Zealand.

Ali Forsyth Photo: Photosport

Ali Forsyth, Gary Lawson, Shannon McIlroy, Mike Kernaghan and Chris Le Lievre have won the series opener on the Gold Coast to take a one-nil lead in the three test series.

And they did so in style, winning the first four matches to take an unassailable four-nil lead.

Australia's heaped more pain on the Blackjacks women, winning on shot differential for a third straight test, after their contest again finished three matches a piece.

The second test is today.

Breakers' Hopson up for MVP

Forward Scotty Hopson is the only Breakers player nominated for the Australian NBL MVP of the season.

NZ Breakers Scotty Hopson.

Scotty Hopson Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hopson is averaging 18.3 points and 4.4 assists per game this season.

The Sydney Kings had three players nominated (Andrew Bogut, Casper Ware and Jae'Sean Tate), Cairns Taipans three (Scott Machado, DJ Newbill and Cameron Oliver), Perth Wildcats two (Bryce Cotton and Nick Kay), Adelaide 36ers two (Jerome Randle and Daniel Johnson) and South East Melbourne Phoenix two (Mitch Creek and John Roberson).

Shawn Long (Melbourne United) and Lamar Patterson (Brisbane) round out the list of 15 nominees with the winner to be announced at the 2020 NBL Andrew Gaze MVP Awards on Sunday February 16 in Melbourne.

The Breakers Brandon Ashley is up for the Best Sixth Man and Ethan Rusbatch and RJ Hampton are up for Eligible Rookie of the Year.

New approach needed for Grand Slam record

Former world tennis number one Serena Williams must rethink her approach to Grand Slams after her latest bid to win a record-equalling 24th major prize came unstuck at Melbourne Park, her coach Patrick Mouratoglou has said.

The 38-year-old American, who is looking to match Australian great Margaret Court's record, has reached four Grand Slam finals since giving birth to daughter Olympia in 2017 but failed to win any of them.

She arrived at this year's Australian Open having won the Auckland Classic title but was beaten by China's Wang Qiang in the third round.

"We have to accept the fact that it's not working," Mouratoglou told the BBC.

"We have to face reality, but she's positive that she can make it, otherwise she probably wouldn't be on a tennis court anymore. She believes she can and I believe it too. She's not that far, but we have to change a few things.

"Maybe come back with a different angle, strategy and goals so she can make it. She does feel positive, she feels negative too because it's a failure when she doesn't win a Grand Slam."

Mouratoglou said time was not on Williams' side in the pursuit of the record.

- Reuters

Sumo supports Olympics

The world's top sumo wrestlers will hold a tournament in August to support the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympics and showcase their sport to a global audience.

The sumo tournament will be on August 12 to 13, just days after the end of the Olympics and before the Paralympics begin on August 25.

The two current Grand Sumo Champions - 'Yokozuna' Kakuryu and Hakuho - attended yesterday's news conference to throw their considerable weight behind the Tokyo Olympics, which begin on July 24.

Sumo wrestling has never featured at the Olympics although the Tokyo-based International Sumo Federation aims to get it included one day.

- Reuters

Injury rules out England centre for Six Nations

England centre Manu Tuilagi has been ruled out of this weekend's Six Nations match against Scotland due to a groin injury sustained during their shock defeat by France last week.

Tuilagi limped off early in the 24-17 loss in Paris when he tweaked his groin and scans confirmed the Leicester player had a low grade strain that will keep him out of the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield.

However, coach Eddie Jones said he is optimistic the 28-year-old would return in time for their home fixture against Ireland later this month.

England are fourth in the standings after the first round of fixtures while Scotland are fifth.

- Reuters

New reserve driver for Williams

Anglo-Korean driver Jack Aitken has joined Williams as their official reserve for the 2020 Formula One season.

The 24-year-old was previously a Renault reserve and competed in Formula Two last year, finishing fifth overall with three wins.

Williams said Aitken would attend all races, ready to step in if needed and taking part in a Friday practice session as well as doing simulator work.

The struggling team have already appointed Dan Ticktum, a two-times Macau F3 winner, and W Series champion Jamie Chadwick as development drivers along with Israeli Roy Nissany as official test driver.

Williams finished last with just one point in 2019, after scoring only seven in 2018. They last won a race in 2012.

- Reuters

Changes to Ireland Six Nations squad

Ireland coach Andy Farrell has made two changes to the starting lineup for their second Six Nations game against champions Wales, with Robbie Henshaw and Peter O'Mahony being named as injury replacements.

Ireland assistant coach Andy Farrell.

Andy Farrell. Photo: Photosport

Henshaw replaces injured centre Garry Ringrose, who was ruled out of Ireland's next two matches against Wales and England after he sustained a hand injury in their tournament opener against Scotland over the weekend.

O'Mahony comes in for Caelan Doris after the number eight was injured early in the 19-12 win in Dublin, with CJ Stander set to step into Doris' role.

Uncapped forward Max Deegan is set to make his international debut after he was named among the replacements while the experienced Keith Earls, who missed the win over Scotland, is back on the bench.

- Reuters