24 Jul 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

10:40 am on 24 July 2020

Latest - The New Zealand cyclist Ella Harris has scored a top ten finish in the first UCI women's road race back after the coronavirus pandemic.

Cycling NZ Elite Women's Road Race,  2019.


Harris, who rides for the German Canyon-Sram Racing team finished seventh in a one day race in Spain.

The race was won by world champion Annemiek van Vleuten of The Netherlands.

Fellow New Zealander Mikayla Harvey was 17th, while her Equipe Paule Ka team-mate Niam Fisher-Black failed to finish what was her first outing for the team.

The fourth New Zealander in the field Georgia Williams also failed to finish.

Because of concerns about the Covid-19 safety measures in place only 15 of the original 25 teams took part.

The one-day series continues tonight with a third race on Sunday.

Fitzy joins board of Scarlets

The former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick has joined the board of Welsh club Scarlets.

Former All Black Sean Fitzpatrick.


The 57-year-old World Cup winner has been installed by the Welsh region in the same week that Simon Muderack has replaced Nigel Short as executive chairman.

Fitzpatrick joins as a non-executive director and global ambassador.

"I'm hugely excited to be joining a club with such a rich history," said Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick was part of New Zealand's World Cup-winning squad in the inaugural tournament in 1987. He played in 92 Tests between 1986 and 1997 and was captain for 51 internationals.

"The tradition and the passion is so similar to New Zealand and the Scarlets is the closest to a New Zealand environment I have experienced, completely community-based, with a total focus on the development of local talent and pride in their achievement," said Fitzpatrick.

"The development structures are outstanding, that is shown by the number of academy players who come through and earn senior contracts and also go on and win international honours, similarly with the coaching structures."

"My father [Brian] played against Wales in the 1953 match - the last time Wales beat the All Blacks - and greats like Phil Bennett and Gareth Edwards were my childhood heroes."


Fox remains in contention

A second successive 67 has New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox on the leaderboard after two rounds of the British Masters in Newcastle.

New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox.

Ryan Fox Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Fox is eight under for the tournament, three shots behind leader Renato Paratore of Italy.

He's in a tie for eighth.

Fox only arrived in the UK on Monday as the European tour returned to full action this week with the first of six tournaments taking place in Britain.

Fox though is delighted with his start after the problems in getting to the event

"I've done the trip over here enough times I kind of know what to expect jetlag wise but practice rounds I didn't feel too good but I've been playing really nice at home and it was nice to be able to bring that over here after all the travel and still feel like I'm hitting some decent golf shots."

Unfortunately Michael Campbell was unable to follow up his bright start to the tournament and fired a second round nine over par 80 to miss the cut.

SBW heading back to Sydney, but will he play?

Sonny Bill Williams is preparing to fly to Sydney as the Roosters free up a roster spot for the dual-code superstar but his $10 million Toronto Wolfpack deal may prevent another NRL comeback.

Sonny Bill Williams playing for the Roosters in 2014.


Williams, who holds a New Zealand passport, is seeking permission to travel directly to Australia with his wife Alana and their four children, with a view to joining the Roosters for the remainder of the season.

However, the most significant hurdle to his return is a rule precluding players from holding simultaneous contracts with an NRL club and a team in another sporting competition.

Under NRL rules, Williams would be required to terminate his two-year $10 million contract with the Wolfpack before signing another deal with the Roosters or any other club for that matter.

Despite withdrawing from the Super League this week, the Wolfpack want to rejoin the competition in 2021 and Williams does not intend to walk away from his $5 million per season deal.


Van Niekerk chasing new record

Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk is aiming to become the first man to run under 43 seconds in the 400 metres as he works his way back from almost three years on the sidelines with injury.

South African runner Wayde van Niekerk.

South African runner Wayde van Niekerk. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Van Niekerk romped to Olympic gold four years ago in a new world record time of 43.03 seconds, smashing the previous fastest time of 43.18 that had been set by American Michael Johnson in 1999.

But a serious knee injury sustained playing a charity touch rugby game in October 2017 left the South African's career in doubt, though he is now ready to return.

"Growth should be improving my times within the 42-second range. That's where my mind is at, that's where my heart is at," he told BBC Sport.

"That's just the competitor in me and for me to settle for anything less than that would mean I'm doing an injustice to myself and the team working for me.

"I have this deep desire to be out of reach. And after coming out of a period of somewhat suffering, it makes me more hungry."

The 28-year-old, who is the cousin of Springbok Rugby World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe, admits he should never have accepted the invitation to play the charity event.


Comics go into golf museum

Mickey Mouse, the Jetsons, Tom and Jerry and dozens of other colorful characters are now taking up permanent residence at the USGA Golf Museum after an Indiana couple donated more than 560 golf-themed comic books to the archive.

The collection, the most significant of its kind in the world, contains comics dating to the 1930s that depict Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey and others playing golf.

The Simpson's Mr. Burns can be seen bulldozing trees to make way for a new course in another.

The museum said the collection reflects the periods in American history when they were published and changing attitudes toward the game, which is championed for its difficulty but criticized for historically being accessible only to the ultra-wealthy, Richie Rich's of the world.


Eels beat Tigers

The Parramatta Eels remain top of the table after a 26-16 win over Wests Tigers.

Coming off a five-day turnaround after a shock loss to Manly, the Eels dug to deep to turn a 12-4 deficit into a comfortable win.

Tigers back-rower Michael Chee Kam copped an accidental hip to the head in a 26th minute tackle that left him convulsing on the ground.

He was taken to hospital.


Nuggets secure top spot for play-offs

The Otago Nuggets have secured top spot on the National Basketball League ladder after a 97-85 win over the second placed Manawatu Jets.

Nuggets guard Jordan Ngatai.

Jordan Ngatai Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Nuggets now boast a 9-4 record.

The Nuggets had won the first two encounters between the two team and spurred on by the class of Jordan Ngatai (37 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists) and Jarrod Kenny (7 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals they completed a clean sweep against the Jets.

Otago will finish top of the standings when the regular season finishes this weekend.

Meanwhile the Franklin Bulls beat Taranaki 92-65.

The Bulls win was built on a sharp shooting display from veteran guard Everard Bartlett, the former Tall Black was deadly from deep in draining all five of his triples for a game leading 18 points.

Iron Mike confirms fight

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson will make a much anticipated return to the ring when he faces four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr in an exhibition bout on September 12.

Roy Jones Jr in action against Felix 'Tito' Trinidad.

Roy Jones Jr Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The eight-round fight will be part of a three-hour pay per view event, which has also obtained streaming rights to a 10-part docuseries featuring behind-the-scenes, pre-fight footage leading up to the bout.

Tyson teased fans about a possible return to the ring in May when the 53-year- old boxer posted videos of himself training.

Tyson later said he was interested in returning to the ring to raise money for charity and potential opponents immediately began to line up for a crack at the fighter known as "Iron Mike".

Old rival Evander Holyfield and New Zealand rugby great Sonny Bill Williams were among those reported to be in line for the fight before Jones Jr. was chosen.

The 51-year-old Jones, who has simultaneously held a record seven belts, last fought in 2018.


Marquez won't miss a race

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has been declared fit to race at this weekend's Andalusian Grand Prix in Jerez but will sit out Friday's practice sessions as he continues to recover from a surgery on a broken right arm.

Marc Marquez comes off his bike.

Marc Marquez Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Marquez sustained the injury when he crashed in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez last weekend and underwent surgery in Barcelona two days later.

Team manager Alberto Puig was not expecting Marquez to return until the third round of the season in the Czech Republic next month but said the six-times MotoGP champion was keen to race almost immediately after the operation.

The surgery involved fixing a titanium plate internally to his right humerus, but his radial nerve was not affected, in a boost for the Repsol Honda rider's hopes of an early return.


Archer back in England squad

Jofra Archer has been included in England's 14-man squad for the third and deciding cricket test against the West Indies, which starts at Old Trafford tonight.

The 25-year-old fast bowler had been expected to feature in the second test but was dropped after he breached the bio-secure bubble -- in place to shield players from Covid-19 -- by visiting his home after the first match in Southampton had ended.

His participation in the third test had also been in doubt as he admitted that was struggling mentally after being racially abused on social media for having to spend five days in isolation as a result of stepping out of the bio-secure environment.

But England selected him, signalling the possibility of continuing with the rotation of the bowlers.

The series against West Indies, which is tied at 1-1, will be followed by three tests against Pakistan.

The West Indies are likely to go into the third test with the same lineup they used in the first two.


Washington will just be called Washington at this stage

Washington's NFL franchise will be called the "Washington Football Team" pending the adoption of a new name.

Washington Redskins Helmet.


That decision allows the organization to continue to work toward a new name after retiring the "Redskins" nickname earlier this month.

According to a press release, the Washington Football Team will keep its burgundy and gold color scheme, with a "Washington" word mark on the chest of its jerseys. Its helmet logo will be replaced by the players' number in gold.

The NFL team said it plans to be rid of its former nickname on physical and digital spaces by the Sept. 13 regular-season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The franchise launched a review of the team nickname on July 3 after multiple sponsors sent owner Daniel Snyder letters threatening to remove signage and end financial agreements, including the stadium naming rights deal with FedEx.


Liverpool upset that fans gathered

Liverpool have expressed their disapproval after a number of fans ignored warnings and social distancing guidelines to gather outside Anfield yesterday for their Premier League trophy celebrations following their final home game of the season.

Merseyside Police and the club had warned fans against gathering outside Anfield due to the Covid-19 pandemic but around 3,000 supporters congregated outside the stadium.

Visuals showed fans flooding the streets outside Anfield, setting off fireworks, lighting flares and chanting together as Juergen Klopp's side beat Chelsea 5-3 in a thrilling encounter.

"Liverpool would like to thank those supporters who stayed at home to celebrate the team lifting the trophy last night, protecting their loved ones and our city from the ever-present threat of this pandemic," the club said in a statement.

"We are, however, disappointed with the scenes outside Anfield last night and that more supporters did not heed the celebrate at home advice.

Despite sealing the league title last month with seven rounds to go, Liverpool's players only got their hands on the Premier League trophy after their final home game in a muted presentation ceremony in front of an empty Kop.