24 Jun 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

4:14 pm on 24 June 2020

Latest - All Blacks utility forward Scott Barrett won't play any part in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Crusaders Scott Barrett


The Crusaders captain was ruled out of the remainder of the competition on Wednesday with a foot injury.

Barrett suffered the injury to the structures supporting his big toe while playing in the team's inter-squad match on June 13, forcing him to miss their competition opener last weekend against the Hurricanes.

After consultation with a foot specialist, it was decided Barrett would undergo surgery, with exact return to play dates uncertain at this stage.

Alex Ainley had joined the Crusaders squad as injury cover for Barrett, with Codie Taylor taking over captaincy of the side.

Spurs beat Hammers

West Ham United's hopes of avoiding relegation suffered a cruel blow as an own goal by midfielder Tomas Soucek and Harry Kane's first goal since December condemned them to a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.

Serge Aurier of Tottenham.

Serge Aurier Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The visitors were fortunate just before halftime when VAR ruled out Son Heung-min's goal for offside, but their luck deserted them after the break at an empty Tottenham Stadium.

Defeat left West Ham above the relegation zone on goal difference from Bournemouth who have a game in hand.

Tottenham's first win in eight matches in all competitions kept them in the hunt for a Champions League qualification berth.

Jose Mourinho's side are seventh with 45 points, one behind fifth-placed Manchester United.

Brighton are six point above the drop zone after scoring a 0-0 draw at third placed Leicester.


Zanardi remains in a coma

Alex Zanardi is to be kept in an induced coma until at least next week after suffering severe head injuries in an accident on his hand cycle.

Alex Zanardi, Italian champion on HandBike.


The 53-year-old, a former Formula 1 driver turned four-time Paralympic gold medallist, collided with a lorry during a race in Pienza, Italy, on Friday.

A statement from the Sienna hospital where the Italian is being treated said he remained in a stable condition.

Zanardi is in intensive care, sedated, intubated and on a ventilator.

Zanardi has become a global sporting icon for the strength of will and determination he has shown in overcoming adversity in his career, after he lost both his legs in an accident while racing in a Champ Car event in Germany in 2001.


Rugby boss won't sing Swing Low Sweet Chariot

England rugby boss Bill Sweeney says he no longer sings 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' as the governing body reviews the song's use by England fans.

The RFU chief excutive said it would be "very difficult" to ban the song, which has links with slavery.

Instead, the RFU will focus on "education and awareness".

"I used to sing it a lot in the 70s, I won't sing it anymore," Sweeney said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he did not think the song - whose lyrics are displayed around Twickenham stadium - should be banned.

It is thought Swing Low, Sweet Chariot was written in the mid-19th century by Wallace Willis, who was a black slave.

Black Caps tour of Bangladesh off

The Black Caps test tour of Bangladesh has been postponed due to health and safety concerns amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shakib Al Hasan had a leading hand in Bangladesh's latest win.

Shakib Al Hassan Photo: Photosport

Kane Williamson's side were due to arrive in August for the two-match series as part of the ICC World Test Championship.

The BCB and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) would now work on identifying a suitable time to reschedule the series, the Bangladesh board said in a statement.

"In the present COVID-19 pandemic scenario, hosting a full cricket series in August 2020 will be a challenge in terms of preparations and we cannot take chances with the safety and health of players, support staff and related stakeholders," BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said.

"Under these circumstances, the BCB and NZC have felt that the best way forward would be to defer the series."

Bangladesh has reported more than 115,000 infections and 1,500 deaths due to the novel coronavirus.

Former captain Mashrafe Mortaza is among those to have tested positive while spinner Nazmul Islam and opener Nafees Iqbal are also reported to have returned positive tests.


Maumalo back for Warriors

Ken Maumalo and David Fusitu'a are set to be reunited on the wings for the first time this year in the Warriors' seventh-round NRL clash against the Melbourne Storm on Friday night.

Ken Maumalo dives over in the corner against Newcastle but the try was disallowed.

Ken Maumalo dives over in the corner against Newcastle but the try was disallowed. Photo: Photosport

Fusitu'a will make his 100th career appearance on Friday night with Maumalo returning for his 91st match after a hamstring injury ruled him out of the last three outings against Penrith, North Queensland and South Sydney.

Fusitu'a will become the 24th player to reach the 100-game mark for the Warriors and the first in five years since Shaun Johnson reached his century against the Sydney Roosters in 2015.

Centre Peta Hiku, halfback Blake Green and prop Agnatius Paasi will all play their 50th match for the club.

Aside from Maumalo's comeback, interim Warriors head coach Todd Payten has been forced to make other changes in his first match in charge after taking over from the departed Stephen Kearney.

Rookie second rower Eliesa Katoa (ankle) and hooker Wayde Egan (suspended) are both out resulting in new signing Jack Murchie replacing Katoa for his first start after seven interchange appearances and Karl Lawton is in for Egan at hooker.

Coming onto the bench for his first game since the season resumed is Chanel Harris-Tavita while Isaiah Papali'i is named in #17 after missing the fixtures against the Cowboys and the Rabbitohs.

Wins for Taranaki and Canterbury

The new National Basketball League competition has opened with wins for Taranaki and Canterbury.

Captain Derone Raukawa hit a game high 28 points for the Mountainairs as they beat the Nelson Giants 112-96.

Meanwhile Canterbury, who played without top pick Jack Salt, scored an emphatic 102-70 win over the Auckland Huskies.

The Rams were led by Toby Gillooly who had 25 points and captain Taylor Britt, who had 22.

Seven more Pakistan cricketers test positive

Seven more Pakistan cricket players have tested positive for Covid-19 after being screened ahead of their tour of England, taking the total to 10.

Pakistan cricketer Fakhar Zaman.

Fakhar Zaman Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz tested positive along with team masseur Malang Ali.

The PCB on Monday confirmed Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan had tested positive for the virus.

Pakistan's test and limited-overs squads are set to tour England for three tests and three Twenty20 internationals. They were due to fly out later this month before going into quarantine ahead of the first test starting on July 30.

The rate of new coronavirus cases has been rising fast in the country of 207 million people but Prime Minister Imran Khan -- a former Pakistan cricket captain -- has ruled out a nationwide lockdown.

England are returning from the coronavirus shutdown with three tests against West Indies next month with the first scheduled to begin in Southampton on July 8 without spectators.


Police investigate banner ahead of EPL game

Police were making enquiries and a local airport suspended banner-towing operations after a plane flew over Manchester City's stadium trailing the message 'White Lives Matter Burnley' at the start of a Premier League game yesterday.

The incident caused widespread offence, occurring shortly after players and officials took a knee in support of the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.

Stephen Smith, manager of Blackpool Airport to the north-west of Manchester, said in a statement that the airport and local council stood against racism and had been outraged by what happened.

Lancashire police said in a statement that they were making enquiries about the incident which occurred at the start of Manchester City's 5-0 win over Burnley.

The Premier League has joined the international movement to protest racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, while in Minneapolis police custody last month.

All of the players in the 12 Premier League games since the restart of the season after the COVID-19 stoppage have worn 'Black Lives Matter' on their shirts in place of their names.


Boro sack Woodgate

Relegation-threatened Championship side Middlesbrough have sacked former England international Jonathan Woodgate as manager and appointed the veteran Neil Warnock as his replacement.

The announcement came after a 3-0 defeat by Swansea City at the Riverside at the weekend left the second tier side above the relegation zone only on goal difference.

Middlesbrough won nine of their 38 league matches under Woodgate, a former club captain and Real Madrid defender who was appointed on a three-year deal in June last year.

71-year-old Warnock takes over at his 16th club with immediate effect.

Warnock holds the record for most promotions in English football with a career tally of eight after guiding Cardiff City to the Premier League in 2018. He left them last November after relegation and a poor start to the season.


F1 fans can donate via chequered flag

Formula One fans can buy individual squares on the race-ending chequered flag, starting with next month's season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, to help raise money for charity.

No caption

Photo: creative commons - pixabay - paulbr75

The sport said 56 of the black and white squares will be available for fans to have their name printed on, with the remaining 24 allotted to the race promoter, as part of a #WeRaceAsOne initiative.

That initiative aims to combat racism and promote diversity while also helping those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The squares, which will be mounted and framed afterwards, will be sold for $385 each.


Change of owners at Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions have announced that Martha Firestone Ford has stepped down from her role as principal owner and chairman of the National Football League team and will hand the reins over to her daughter Sheila Ford Hamp.

Firestone Ford took over the long-struggling team after her husband William Clay Ford Sr., who purchased the Lions in 1963, died in 2014.

Ford Hamp served as one of the Lions' vice chairmen during her mother's ownership in preparation for officially assuming team leadership. Last year she was appointed to the NFL's Super Bowl and Major Events advisory committee.


Schneiderlin moves to France

Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has completed a permanent transfer to Ligue 1 side Nice from Everton for an undisclosed fee.

Schneiderlin, 30, joined Everton from Manchester United in January 2017 but struggled for regular first-team opportunities at Goodison Park, making 18 appearances across all competitions this season before undergoing a knee surgery in February.

In total, France international Schneiderlin made 88 appearances for Everton, scoring one goal.

Nice, managed by ex-Arsenal and France midfielder Patrick Vieira, finished fifth in the French top-flight, which ended early because of the COVID-19 pandemic.