14 May 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

6:09 am on 14 May 2020

Latest - Carlos Sainz is poised to replace Sebastian Vettel at the Ferrari Formula One team, with Daniel Ricciardo set to take the Spaniard's seat at McLaren.

F1 driver Carlos Sainz.

Carlos Sainz Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Talks to seal the two moves are ongoing and no final agreements have been reached, but they are expected to be concluded and announced this week.

McLaren have been chasing Ricciardo for some time and his signing is a coup.

But they must release Sainz from his contractual obligations before signing the Australian.

Sainz had been in negotiations to stay with McLaren beyond 2020 but the appeal of joining a top team has convinced him to move.

The domino effect in the driver market was triggered when negotiations over a new contract between Ferrari and Vettel failed.

Ferrari announced on Tuesday that the German four-time world champion would be leaving the team at the end of the season, which is currently on ice as a result of the coronavirus crisis.


Pichot stands down from World Rugby

Agustin Pichot has resigned from his role on the World Rugby Council and as president of Americas Rugby after his defeat by Bill Beaumont in the recent election for the post of the global body's chairman.

World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot.

Augustin Pichot Photo: INPHO/Photosport

Pichot, who won 71 caps for Argentina, served as a World Rugby vice-chairman under former England skipper Beaumont for the past four years before deciding to run for the top job.

The 45-year-old received support from the southern hemisphere SANZAAR unions as well as South America and Asia after his vow to shake up the sport, but he lost to Beaumont by a 28-23 margin this month.

Pichot had proposed ideas such as a Nations League that would combine the northern hemisphere Six Nations Championship and the Rugby Championship into a single competition that would also include so-called emerging countries.

He had also intended to hold discussions to turn the British and Irish Lions into a global phenomenon by making the touring side visit North and South America.


NRL to use just one ref

The National Rugby League has confirmed that they will use just one referee when the game returns at the end of the month.

A more entertaining, free-flowing game is the main reason the ARL Commission has agreed to adopt a one-referee rule for the remainder of the season, according to chairman Peter V'landys.

A Commission meeting on Wednesday night rubber-stamped the proposal put forward by Project Apollo as a way of saving the game money and letting the Premiership matches flow by cutting down stoppages.

In tandem with the return to a single referee - which was how the game was officiated prior to 2009 - is a "six-again" rule allowing an attacking team another full set rather than stopping play for a penalty.

Meanwhile Penrith star Nathan Cleary has been fined $1000 by NSW police over the TikTok drama that earned him a two-game ban and $30,000 fine for misleading the NRL integrity unit.


The Bus is heading home

The former All Blacks wing Julian Savea is heading home.

All Blacks players celebrate at final whistle after coming from 17-22 down with time up on the clock to beat Ireland in Dublin in 2013.

Julian Savea Photo: © www.photosport.co.nz 2013

Savea has spent the last two year playing for Toulon in France, but failed to make a significant impact in the Top 14 competition.

Savea and his wife made the announcement of their return on social media.

The 29 year old played 54 times for the All Blacks between 2012 and 2017 and scored 46 international tries.

Savea could well look to grab a contract with one of the New Zealand Super Rugby clubs for the domestic competition which starts next month.


Babar Azam takes over Pakistan captaincy

Pakistan Cricket has named Babar Azam as their new captain in one-day internationals, putting the batsman in charge of both their limited-overs teams after a stellar year with the bat.

The top order batsman, who took over Twenty20 captaincy earlier this year, succeeds Sarfaraz Ahmed as Pakistan's white-ball leader while Azhar Ali also got an extension as skipper of the test side for the 2020-21 season.

Babar has been a prolific scorer and currently ranks among the top five batsmen in all three formats.

Professional cricket remains suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic but Pakistan are preparing for their tours of Ireland, England and South Africa as well as the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in October-November.

Keeping the schedule in mind, PCB also handed out central contracts for the 2020-21 season, omitting the pace trio of Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali.


Another plea from relegation threatened EPL club

English Premier League football clubs should be relegated only if both of the top two divisions restart and complete the season, the sporting director of bottom side Norwich City said.

The Canaries are six points below the safety line with nine games to play and Stuart Webber said it would be unfair to relegate or promote teams based on an incomplete season.

Premier League clubs are in discussions to finish the season, with the possibility of a restart next month given a boost when the government said elite sport could return after June 1. The fate of lower divisions remains uncertain.

The BBC has reported that top flight clubs would have to spend a combined four million pounds on testing players for COVID-19.

Such an outlay would likely be beyond the resources of smaller clubs who are reliant on gate receipts but have already furloughed staff and would not be allowed to admit any spectators.

Norwich were among those who opposed plans for Premier League games to be held at neutral venues to limit the risk of supporters turning up, but clubs now hope such a measure can be avoided.