30 Jul 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

3:31 pm on 30 July 2020

Latest - Christchurch is set to host New Zealand's biggest domestic netball crowd outside of Silver Ferns' matches when the Tactix host the Northern Stars at Horncastle Arena tonight.

Jane Watson of the Tactix.


The Round 8 fixture marks the competition's return around the country for the first time since March, following six rounds of centralised matches at Auckland Netball Centre after the season pause due to COVID-19.

More than 5000 fans will pack the stands in what will be the largest ANZ Premiership crowd of all time and the country's

biggest domestic netball crowd for a single game.

The match-up is critical to the title chances of both the Tactix and Stars, with second spot on the ladder still up for grabs behind the undefeated Pulse, who are in top position.

The Northern Mystics are currently second on the table and the Tactix third.

Tonight's match starts at 7pm.

Rams still alive in NBL

They were bottom of the table after the regular season but the Canterbury Rams have now won two games in the National Basketball League play-offs.

Thomas Webley of the Canterbury Rams.

Thomas Webley Photo: PHOTOSPORT


After beating Nelson in the first round, Canterbury have now beaten the Auckland Huskies 98-84 to reach the semi-finals.

A 39-point third period propelled the Cantabrians into the lead for the first time with youngster Thomas Webley scoring 21 points.

Canterbury will play top seeds Otago tonight.

Meanwhile 31 points from Marcel Jones and 28 from Derone Raukawa helped Taranaki to a 99-90 victory over the Franklin Bulls and a semi-final showdown with Manawatu.

Two sevens tournaments canned

The Dubai and Cape Town rounds of the 2021 World Sevens Series have been scrapped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tyla Nathan-Wong of Black Ferns Sevens.

Tyla Nathan-Wong Photo: PHOTOSPORT

World Rugby says it will continue to focus on delivering the remainder of the 2021 series, with a working group formed to review contingency plans and evaluate preparations for the sport's safe return.

The Dubai and Cape Town rounds had been scheduled for Nov. 26-28 and Dec. 4-6 this year.

New Zealand were awarded the men's and women's World Sevens Series titles after World Rugby cancelled the rest of the 2020 season last month because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Tournaments in London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong were cancelled on the men's tour, while the women's circuit lost rounds in the United States, Paris and Hong Kong.


Two Warriors players can't come home

The New Zealand Warriors have been told that two of their players can not return to New Zealand at the conclusion of the National Rugby League season in Australia as they are not citizens.

Warriors forward Eliesa Katoa.

Eliesa Katoa Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Warriors relocated to Australia in May in order for the NRL to restart their season. They will remain there until they have completed all of their matches.

New Zealand's borders, however, are closed to all but citizens or permanent residents to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and both Eliesa Katoa and Selestino Ravutaumada have been excluded from returning as they are on work visas.

Both Tonga-born Katoa and Fijian Ravutaumada moved to New Zealand as teenagers and been resident for more than three years.

"They've got the appropriate visas to be in New Zealand," Warriors boss Cameron George said. "It's easily demonstrated that they're residents here, because they've been here for years and gone to school here.

"Yet our border officials say they're not New Zealand residents. I know by definition they need to be citizens, but three months ago they were all of the above."


Melbourne clubs suspend training

Training for the two Melbourne ANBL basketball teams has been immediately suspended after two players tested positive to Covid-19.

Melbourne United informed the NBL yesterday that the two players, Mitch McCarron and Jo Lual-Acuil, had returned positive tests. All players and staff who have attended training sessions on or after July 22 will now be tested and self-isolate for 14 days, even if a negative test is returned.

Melbourne United has suspended training until further notice. The NBL has also suspended training for South East Melbourne Phoenix as a further precautionary measure.

Melbourne United had been permitted to train at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) in line with both protocols outlined by the NBL and Return to Play guidelines for high performance and professional sport, reviewed by the Victorian Government.

The club's doctor and staff had been following these protocols and players were tested and isolated once they displayed symptoms and training was suspended.


Cyclists test positive for Covid-19

Three Colombian riders have withdrawn from the Vuelta a Burgos in Spain after coming into contact with an individual who tested positive for Covid-19.

The trio completed the first stage yesterday but did not participating in the second stage.

They were all members of the UAE Team Emirates.

The team still had reason to cheer though as Fernando Gaviria stepped up inside the final kilometre to overtake Arnaud Demare of Groupama-FDJ and Deceuninck-QuickStep's Sam Bennett to lead the sprint to the finish line and win the second stage.

Gaviria, who had himself tested positive for COVID-19 at the ill-fated UAE Tour in February.

New Zealander George Bennett finished 29th today and is now eighth overall, 8 second behind tour leader Felix Grossschartner of Austria.


Exeter to keep Chiefs logo

English Premiership rugby leaders Exeter Chiefs says they'll keep their logo but retire mascot 'Big Chief' following a review of the club's branding in the wake of a petition calling for an end to their use of "harmful imagery".

Exeter Chiefs mascot


The Chiefs' badge and mascot both feature a Native American and the club's board said they had sought views from sponsors, supporters, the wider rugby community and "certain sections from the Native American community" during the review.

The petition by a fans' group had garnered thousands of signatures and called on the club to stop the cultural appropriation of Indigenous Peoples' imagery that had no relation to the history of the club or the city.

The petition against the Chiefs' came in the wake of the NFL's Washington team saying this month it would retire its 'Redskins' name and logo, which had long been criticised as racist by Native American rights groups.


England stick with same side

England have named an unchanged squad for first match of the three-test cricket series against Pakistan that begins next Wednesday in Manchester.

England beat West Indies 2-1 in the first international test series since the Covid-19 pandemic suspended the sport in March, winning the third test by 269 runs on Tuesday.

After losing the first test in Southampton, England roared back into the series with all-rounder Ben Stokes shining in the second to level it at 1-1 before fast bowler Stuart Broad guided the home side to victory with 10 wickets in the third match.

James Bracey, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach and Dan Lawrence have been named in the reserves.

The test series against Pakistan will also be held behind closed doors in a bio-secure bubble, even though a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend county cricket matches with social distancing guidelines in place.


Pakistan cricketer has suspension cut

Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal's three-year ban for an anti-corruption breach has been halved by an independent adjudicator.

The middle-order batsman was banned in April for failing to report approaches to engage in corrupt practices ahead of this year's Pakistan Super League Twenty20 competition.

Umar, who last played for Pakistan in a Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka in Lahore last year, appealed against the suspension in May.

Umar, whose brothers Adnan and Kamran have also featured for Pakistan, will be eligible to play from August 2021 but the 30-year-old hopes to return earlier.