12 Mar 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

12:25 pm on 12 March 2020

Latest - Olympic silver medallist Luuka Jones and Olympic newcomer Callum Gilbert have been selected as New Zealand's canoe slalom athletes for Tokyo 2020.

Luuka Jones

Luuka Jones has been selected for her fourth Olympic Games. Photo: Photosport

Tokyo will be the fourth Olympic Games for Jones, while Gilbert will be making his Olympic debut after giving up his job as a software engineer three years ago to chase his sporting dreams.

Gilbert will compete in the K1, while Jones will compete in both the K1 and C1 events.

Gilbert had a strong year on the world tour in 2019, with his top result a fifth place at the London World Cup.

He heads overseas shortly to train and compete in further World Cups.

Jones will also be based overseas from mid-April. She's already spent a lot of time at the Olympic venue and will be back there before the Games.

Sonny Bill Williams may need minor knee surgery, according to Toronto coach Brian McDermott.

The former All Black was absent from the Wolfpack team that beat Huddersfield 18-0 in the Coral Challenge Cup on to book their place in the sixth-round draw in New York.

"Sonny Bill has got a little bit of a sore knee at the moment," McDermott said.

"We might have a look at having that operated on.

"He might go have that checked out on Saturday. Fingers crossed, by all accounts it's going to be a 10-day or two-week job at worst."

In Williams' absence, Samoa international Ricky Leutele scored the only tries inside the first 10 minutes to put Toronto on their way to a first win as a Super League club.

- PA

Woods qualifies for golf hall of fame

Tiger Woods will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2021.

Tiger Woods smiles as he walks off the seventh tee during the final round for the Masters golf tournament, Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Augusta, Ga.

Tigwer Woods Photo: AP

"I am both honored and humbled," Woods, a 15 times major winner, said after receiving the necessary 75 per cent of support from the body's voting panel.

"This achievement is the ultimate recognition to never give up and keep chasing."

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan paid tribute to the 44-year-old Woods, who is missing from the Players Championship starting in Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida due to a back issue.

"Tiger has done more for the game of golf than anyone ever thought possible, and his historic feats on the course are only one aspect of his impact," Monahan said.

"His imprint on the game is immeasurable, and his unparalleled legacy is one we look forward to celebrating as he's inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame next year."

Woods's 15 major championships are second only to the 18 captured by Jack Nicklaus.

Woods also has 82 official PGA Tour victories (which include the 15 majors), tied for the all-time record with Sam Snead.

The Hall of Fame recently lowered the age of qualification to 45.

Woods turns 45 on December 30.

- Reuters

Serie A footballer tests positive for coronavirus.

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has become the first Serie A player to test positive for coronavirus.

Juventus said in a statement that the 26-year-old Italy international, who played in matches against Brescia and SPAL in February and was on the bench for Sunday's home game against Inter Milan, had not shown any symptoms of the virus.

"The footballer, Daniele Rugani, has tested positive for Coronavirus-COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic," Juve said.

"Juventus Football Club is currently activating all the isolation procedures required by law, including those who have had contact with him."

Juve are due to take on Olympique Lyonnais in a Champions League quarter-final second leg next week but that match is now in doubt as the Turin squad will have to go into quarantine.

The Italian government has banned all sporting events, including Serie A, until at least April 3, in a bid to contain Europe's worst outbreak. The most recent games were played on Sunday.

- Reuters

All Whites' football games cancelled

The All Whites' March window matches against Oman and Bahrain have been cancelled by the respective hosts.

NZ Football was liaising with Bahrain and Oman football management over the past few weeks as the coronavirus situation escalated.

While the overall health risk in these countries remains low, the volatile situation with border closures and self-isolation requirements could seriously effect travelling staff and players.

"We're obviously disappointed, because we've committed to playing as much as possible before the FIFA 2022 World Cup, but we believe this is the right outcome given the situation and risks attached," NZ Football ceo Andrew Pragnell said.

Kiwi skier's World Cup over

The FIS Women's World Cup races in Are, Sweden have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak following new recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden - impacting on New Zealand skier Alice Robinson.

Queenstown skier Alice Robinson.

Alice Robinson Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Swedish resort was due to host the final three races of the World Cup season this week -- a parallel giant slalom, giant slalom and slalom.

The races in Are will not be replaced on the World Cup calendar and the 2019-2020 season is officially finished for the women.

Previously the World Cup finals scheduled for the Italian resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo were cancelled due to the outbreak.

Three members of the sponsor support team at the FIS Alpine World Cup have been placed under quarantine after experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus. One member showed symptoms in Norway and immediately went into self-quarantine. He subsequently tested positive last night.

The members of the support team travelled to Are were immediately placed in quarantine without coming into contact with anyone in Are.

Robinson is in Are and is in fifth in the Giant Slalom World Cup placings.

Nyika beaten in final

The New Zealand boxer David Nyika has been beaten in the heavyweight final at the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament in Jordan.

New Zealand heavyweight boxer David Nyika.

David Nyika Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Nyika started well taking the first round against Olympic silver medalist Vassiliy Levit of Kazakhstan, however his more experienced opponent battle his way back into the contest to take a split points decision.

The Hamilton fighter jabbed his way back into the bout late in the third round, but Levit held on for a 4-1 decision from the judges.

32 year old Levit has been fighting for more than a decade and last year won the World Championship bronze medal.

Nyika had already qualified after making the semi-finals.

Meanwhile the America's Olympic qualifying tournament in Argentina has been called off because of the Coronavirus with organisers yet to come up with a new plan.

NBA game to be played without fans

The Golden State Warriors will play tomorrow's NBA basketball home game without spectators because of concerns about coronavirus.

The decision was announced shortly after the city and county of San Francisco announced a two-week ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

After hosting the Brooklyn Nets tomorrow, the Warriors will play their next five games on the road before returning home to face the Atlanta Hawks on March 25.

The number of US coronavirus cases has risen steadily and affected almost three- quarters of the states.


Sanctions possible for Bulldogs players

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has warned the two Canterbury players who have been stood down are facing significant sanctions if they have found to have taken part in the "completely unacceptable" conduct allegations levelled at them.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg.

Todd Greenberg Photo: Photosport

Second-rower Corey Harawira-Naera and winger Jayden Okunbor have been stood down following allegations of misconduct involving local female high school students during a pre-season trip to Port Macquarie.

Neither player is under criminal investigation but they have been issued show cause notices by the NRL.

"Our players have no greater social responsibility than promoting respect for women," Greenberg said.

Harawira-Naera is a Kiwi second rower.

Canterbury play Parramatta in the opening game of the season tonight.


Rugby fundraiser for injured forward

The English rugby club Worcester Warriors are to allow their home game with Harlequins on April 11 to act as a fundraiser for injured New Zealand-born forward Michael Fatialofa.

Fatialofa, 27, is slowly recovering from the serious neck injuries he received in a game against Saracens.

"Although Michael is making encouraging progress, the long-term prognosis is still uncertain," said Worcester managing director Peter Kelly.

Fatialofa suffered his injury just a minute after coming on at Allianz Park on January 4 and spent more than a fortnight in intensive care at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington in London before being transferred to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire.

Recent social media posts have shown the former Hurricanes lock walking with crutches.


NBA looking at new venues

The NBA is entertaining the option of moving games to cities that have yet to suffer outbreaks of the coronavirus.

This is one of the options in play for the NBA as the league's board of governors plans to speak with the commissioner's office today on a conference call.

The NBA reportedly is also considering playing in empty arenas or even suspending game operation for a period of time in lieu of the virus.

CNN reported on Wednesday morning that the novel coronavirus has infected more than 115,800 people -- including at least 1,000 in the United States -- and killed over 4,200 worldwide.

The NBA's new locker room policy bans media from entering. Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer enacted the same policy.


Australia qualify for Olympic football

Australia has sealed their place in the Tokyo Olympics' women's football tournament as a 2-1 away win over Vietnam completed a 7-1 aggregate victory.

Ante Milicic's side had all but guaranteed their progress to the finals following a 5-0 first leg win in Australia last week and Sam Kerr, who scored twice in the opening meeting, was on target again to put the outcome beyond doubt.

The Chelsea striker side-footed a volley home 15 minutes into the first half and, 12 minutes later, set up Hayley Raso to stroke home Australia's second.

The Matildas join hosts Japan in representing the Asian Football Confederation at the 12-team Olympic tournament during the summer. They will be joined by the winners of the playoff between South Korea and China, which will be played in June.

New Zealand has already qualified.