28 May 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

7:23 am on 28 May 2020

Latest - The Warriors are poised to secure rising Roosters prop Poasa Faamausili on a month-long loan to ease their injury-hit roster.

Stephen Kearney Warriors training Gosford.


The Warriors have suffered a number of injuries since they relocated to Australia and have a severe shortage of players in the forward pack.

NRL.com is reporting that Faamausili is set to join the side next week with the Roosters blessing after both clubs agreed to the short-term loan.

The NRL last week approved a short-term dispensation for the Warriors to take on loan players from rival clubs, with paperwork around Faamausili's move now being worked through.

The Warriors' relocation to the Central Coast has made the NRL's May 28 restart possible.

But coronavirus restrictions have limited access to players outside their top NRL squad in the face of a severe front-row injury shortage.

Faamausili's expected arrival in Warriors camp would ease the impact of recent injuries to middle forwards Leeson Ah Mau and Jazz Tevaga, which came on top of already season-ending surgeries for props Bunty Afoa and Jackson Frei.

The Auckland born 24 year old has played 14 games for the Roosters.


England club netball canned

England Netball is hoping for some form of international competition with southern hemisphere teams this year after their domestic competition was abandoned.

Silver Ferns Ameliaranne Ekenasio shoots for goal against the England defense.

Silver Ferns Ameliaranne Ekenasio shoots for goal against the England defense. Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

England's Netball Superleague season has been terminated with immediate effect because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The season was suspended on March 15th after only three full rounds of fixtures.

England Netball chief executive Fran Connolly said she was in discussions over a small-scale international tournament with Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, which could take place in the (northern) autumn to keep up the national side's sharpness, provide revenue to help the Superleague and keep the sport in the public eye.

Connolly said they hoped to have a "standalone short-form" competition later this year if "achievable and safe to do so".

The New Zealand ANZ Premiership is set to resume on June 19th.

The quad series involving the Silver Ferns, Australia, England and South Africa is scheduled for New Zealand in September, but seems unlikely to go ahead.

-England Netball/RNZ

EPL takes next step to return

English Premier League football clubs have voted unanimously to return to contact training, including tackling, as the English top flight moved a step closer to a resumption after the shutdown caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

West Ham defender Patrice Evra tackles Manchester City's Leroy Sane.

West Ham defender Patrice Evra tackles Manchester City's Leroy Sane. Photo: Photosport

Failure to resume the season could cost the league around $1.5 billion in lost revenue from broadcasters according to British media estimates.

Clubs last week began the first phase of 'Project Restart' after agreeing to a return to training in small groups under strict limitations and no contact.

The announcement that Phase Two can commence follows 1,744 tests on players and staff for coronavirus which produced eight positives, including Watford defender Adrian Mariappa and Bournemouth keeper Aaron Ramsdale.

No matches have been played in the Premier League since March when the coronavirus pandemic shut down world sport.

However, Wednesday's vote is a big step towards the league completing the 92 remaining fixtures.

The league had signalled June 12 as a potential start date but it now looks likely to be later in the month. Matches would be held without fans in attendance.


No NBA showdown for the Breakers this year

The New Zealand Breakers pre-season basketball showdown with NBA club the Brooklyn Nets is now unlikely to go ahead because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks

Sean Marks Photo: AFP/Getty Images

The game had been organised and would have resulted in the likes of NBA stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving taking on the Auckland NBL club.

It would have been the Breakers' third straight NBA trip, having previously faced the Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Breakers Owner and CEO Matt Walsh is disappointed.

"It's unfortunate, we had lined up a game with the Brooklyn Nets, obviously Sean Marks is there and it was great working with them, that would've been very exciting for us, going and made a trip of it, spend a week there and train, everyone's dealing with something right? It's unfortunate."

"We'll work with them for next year. Getting a chance to play against Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, that would've been a dream for our guys, it could've been Kevin Durant's first game which would've been pretty cool, but hopefully they sign another star and next year we will play them," said Walsh.

"I saw Steve Kerr's tweet this week that the states needed Jacinda. Maybe we can set up something where he has dinner with Jacinda, have the team out here? We're exploring everything."

NZ Cricket to cut costs

New Zealand Cricket will cut up to 15% of staff and look to shave $6 million in operating costs as part of proposals to cope with "challenging" conditions brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, Chief Executive David White has said.

NZ Cricket chief executive David White.

David White Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

White told New Zealand media he had informed NZC's 80 staff about the planned cuts, which would allow the board to maintain funding levels at provincial and district levels, and avoid shrinking the domestic schedule.

"We have our priorities for the year which we're not compromising and we're investing in those," he told Stuff Media.

"The cuts are coming from NZC, NZ$6 million, of which NZ$1.5 million is staff."

Players and staff for the national men's Black Caps and women's White Ferns teams would not be affected by the cost-cutting measures. Players' annual retainers would remain as forecast for the coming season, White said.

ICC still working towards World Cup

The International Cricket Council says it is continuing its preparations for the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in Australia in October-November and denied reports that a decision had been taken to postpone the event.

Media reports in India said ICC members had come to an understanding that this year's event would be pushed back to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ICC board is due to meet today to discuss a number of issues related to the virus outbreak and members will also address the World Cup, which is due to be held in Australia from Oct. 18 to Nov. 15.

"The ICC has not taken a decision to postpone the T20 World Cup and preparations are ongoing for the event in Australia this year as per plan," a spokesperson for the governing body told Reuters.

"This is on the agenda for the ICC Board meeting and a decision will be taken in due course."


ICC chairman to stand down this year

International Cricket Council Chairman Shashank Manohar has confirmed he'll step down when his term ends later this year.

BCCI board president Shashank Manohar.

BCCI board president Shashank Manohar. Photo: AFP

The ICC is set to discuss the process to elect its new chief at its board meeting today with media reports saying England and Wales Cricket Board chief Colin Graves is favourite to fill the post.

The ICC president used to head the board of directors but the position largely became honorary after constitutional changes in 2014 saw the creation of the chairman's post.

But Manohar initiated further reforms in 2016 and became the first independent chairman of the governing body with no formal links to any other country's board. The position of the ICC president was also abolished then.

Prominent Indian lawyer Manohar was unanimously elected on a two-year term but resigned for personal reasons in March, 2017, only to defer his resignation a week later. He was re-elected unopposed for a second two-year term in 2018.

The new chairman is set to formally take over when the ICC's annual general meeting is held at the end of July.

The name of Sourav Ganguly, the president of the powerful Indian cricket board (BCCI), has also made the rounds with Cricket South Africa director Graeme Smith backing the former India captain to take over the reins of the ICC.


Italy to decide on football return

After weeks of wrangling, with several U-turns on the way, Italy is due to decide today if and when its top-flight Serie A football league can resume after the coronavirus stoppage.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus


Possibly encouraged by seeing how Germany's Bundesliga has restarted without problems so far, the Italian government appears to have relaxed its position recently.

Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora, who is due to meet the head of the Italian Football Federation Gabriele Gravina ahead of the announcement, says the most likely outcome is a restart on June 13 or 20.

But only last month, he had warned that Serie A could go the same way as its French counterpart Ligue 1 and be called off -- a comment that he said led him to be painted as "the enemy of football".

Serie A's 20 clubs have voted unanimously in favour of a restart although some appear more enthusiastic than others.

One of the stumbling blocks to a resumption of the league was the government's insistence that if a player tested positive for the coronavirus, the whole squad would have to be quarantined but this has since been dropped.

Teams will however still be subject to strict measures, similar to those adopted by the Bundesliga.


La Liga to return 7 days a week

The Spanish football federation will allow matches to be played every day of the week in order to complete the season after a three-month shutdown due to the new coronavirus pandemic despite winning a legal battle with La Liga over scheduling.

A commercial court rejected La Liga's lawsuit against the federation, who last year ruled that league matches could only be scheduled on weekends so as to protect the interests of match-going supporters.

The federation today welcomed the judge's decision but said it would not stand in the way if the league wished to schedule matches on every day of the week in order to finish the current season as quickly as possible.

There are 11 rounds of matches remaining in the top-flight season, which is set to resume on June 11 after being suspended indefinitely on March 12 due to the pandemic, although fixtures have not yet been confirmed.


Miller rises to Ducati factory team

Australian Jack Miller will step up to Ducati's main MotoGP team next season with an option on 2022.

MotoGP rider Jack Miller.


The 25-year-old is currently with the non-works Pramac Ducati team.

Miller will be the third Australian to ride for the official Ducati team after Troy Bayliss and two-times MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner.

Miller finished eighth overall last season, with five podiums. The 2020 season has yet to start due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Since he arrived in the Pramac Racing Team, Jack has grown steadily, proving himself one of the fastest and most talented riders in the championship," said Ducati chief executive Claudio Domenicali.

Ducati currently have Italians Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci under contract.