21 Jul 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

2:30 pm on 21 July 2020
Andy Haden on the burst for the All Blacks in the 1981 series against South Africa.

Andy Haden on the burst for the All Blacks in the 1981 series against South Africa. Photo: Photosport

Latest - The former All Black 69 year old Andy Haden is critically ill with cancer RNZ understands.

Haden played 117 matches and 41 Tests for the All Blacks between 1972 and 1985.

He's infamously remembered for diving from a lineout in a bid to win a penalty in the All Blacks controversial win over Wales in 1978.

Haden also played over 100 matches for both Auckland and his club, Ponsonby before hanging up the boots in 1986.

England level series

The England cricketers have beaten the West Indies by 113 runs in the second Test at Old Trafford.

Stuart Broad of England.

Stuart Broad Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The three Test series is now level at 1-1.

England had declared their second innings at 129-3 in the first session after all-rounder Ben Stokes smashed 78 off 57 deliveries, setting the tourists a target of 312 with 85 overs left in the day.

England's fast bowlers struck early to reduce the visitors to 37-4 but were left frustrated when Shamarh Brooks and Jermaine Blackwood stitched together a 100-run partnership until Stokes dismissed Blackwood at the stroke of tea for 55.

Brooks' resistance was ended by Sam Curran who trapped him leg before wicket for 62 while Dom Bess castled a stubborn Jason Holder for 35.

West Indies lost their final two wickets for just 15 runs, with Ollie Pope taking a stunning catch at short leg to dismiss Kemar Roach.

The tourists were bowled out for 198.

The third Test starts in Manchester on Friday.


Tactix power past Steel

Banishing the hurt of a narrow loss the previous night, the Tactix scored an impressive 48-35 victory over the Southern Steel in the ANZ Netball Premiership.

Erikana Pedersen of the Mainland Tactix.

Erikana Pedersen Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Mainlanders produced some of their strongest netball of their season this weekend, and wanted to hit back hard from their contentious one-goal loss to the unbeaten Pulse on Sunday.

At opposite ends of the court, Jane Watson and Ellie Bird were the stand-out performers for the Tactix. The victory has elevated them into third on the table, now within striking distance of the Mystics in second spot.

After a one-goal win over the Magic on Sunday, the Steel couldn't back up the intensity for a second day on the run. Co-captain Gina Crampton admitted the travel demands and a week of sickness in the camp could have also taken their toll.

Bird shot 32 of 34 attempts for the Tactix, while Watson was named MVP for her work on defence.

After six rounds the Pulse top the table with 32 points, the Mystics have 21, Tactix 20, Stars 17, Magic and Steel 10.

Wolfpack won't play this season

Toronto Wolfpack have decided they will take no further part in the 2020 Super League season.

Toronto Wolfpack Sonny Bill-Williams.

Sonny Bill Williams Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Canadian outfit have been playing in English rugby league's top flight for the first time after winning promotion from the Championship.

But, owing to the "overwhelming financial challenges" posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, they have opted to withdraw from the rest of the campaign.

They say they still "fully intend to field a team in the 2021 season".

Rugby League's only North American team made headlines around the world late last year when they signed for All Black Sonny Bill Williams on a multi-million dollar deal.

Toronto, who will also be withdrawing from the Challenge Cup, said in a statement:

"This decision has not been taken lightly, and in consideration of a range of factors specific to the club as the only transatlantic team in the league.

"Greatly reduced ticket, sponsorship, merchandise and game day revenue streams have resulted from the loss of all 11 of the team's home Super League games in Toronto.

"The Wolfpack would be left covering significant additional costs simply to complete a season of games in the UK, including Covid testing, stadium rentals, medical costs and player pay increases to align with the rest of the league."


Snooker fans allowed into Crucible

Snooker's World Championship at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre in August will allow a limited number of spectators after the government paved the way for fans to attend elite sports events on a trial basis.

World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Crucible Theatre Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Professional sport in Britain returned last month after a near three-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic but fans were not allowed to attend to adhere to social distancing norms to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

But the government said last week it would allow spectators at carefully selected trial events from late July to early August to 'stress test' new guidelines on a return to some kind of sporting normality.

World Snooker Tour said fans who had previously bought tickets and registered an interest in keeping their place in a limited capacity crowd would retain their seats while tickets available for other sessions would be put on general sale.

Defending champion Judd Trump, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson are among the players expected to participate.


No world player of the year this year

The Ballon d'Or will not be awarded this year for the first time in its 64-year history after the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the football calendar.

Lionel Messi wins 2015 Ballon d'Or.

Lionel Messi wins 2015 Ballon d'Or. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The prestigious award, voted for by journalists, is an annual prize given to the best male footballer in the world since 1956. The women's Ballon d'Or was first awarded in 2018.

The 2019-20 season has been ravaged by the pandemic, with all the major European leagues suspending matches from March to June.

International tournaments, such as the European Championship and Copa America, were also pushed back to 2021 due to the virus.

Pascal Ferre, editor-in-chief of France Football, said in a statement: "From a sports perspective, two months (January and February), out of the eleven generally required to form an opinion and decide who should lift the trophies, represent far too little to gauge and judge.

Barcelona's Argentina forward Lionel Messi has won the men's award a record six times -- one more than long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

To fill the void left by the annual ceremony, France Football magazine's jury of 180 will elect an all-time 'Dream Team' at the end of the year.


NZ rugby players need a rest, bring in the Aussies

Australian sides would be a welcome addition to a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition if only to give New Zealand teams a rest from beating each other up every week, Hurricanes assistant coach Cory Jane has said.

New Zealand Rugby is looking to set up a new Super Rugby competition from 2021 involving its five teams, a Pacific Islands side and two to four teams from Australia.

Jane said the current Super Rugby Aotearoa competition, set up for New Zealand's sides after the broader Super Rugby season was halted in March, was proving incredibly physical as every game was a local derby and All Blacks places were on the line.

"Obviously the Super Rugby we have been in at the moment has been good and people are loving it," Jane said. "But you ask most teams around New Zealand and they'd say their players are sore.

"Adding some teams to the competition is a must. You can't have New Zealand teams going around and beating each other up.

"(If we) play each other three or four times ... there aren't going to be too many walking at the end of the competition."


Human Rights issues remain in Japan sport

A Human Rights Watch report has found child athletes in Japan often suffer physical and verbal abuse and sometimes sexual abuse during training after documenting the experiences of over 800 athletes in 50 sports.

The 67-page report titled "I Was Hit So Many Times I Can't Count" looks at Japan's history of physical punishment in sport and includes first-hand accounts from athletes.

The report comes in the week that would have marked the start of the Tokyo Olympics had it not been for the global coronavirus pandemic. The Games have now been delayed a year.

"The specific abuses we documented include punching, slapping, kicking or striking with objects (and) excessive or insufficient food and water," Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch (HRW), told a news conference.

In 2013, the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) promised to take steps to wipe out violence among its sports federations after an internal survey revealed more than 10% of its athletes had been victims of bullying or harassment.

It also cut funding to its judo federation for a time after coaches were found to have physically abused female athletes.