26 Aug 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

9:12 am on 26 August 2020

Latest - Former All Black winger Julian Savea will play for Wellington in the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup provincial competition.

Julian Savea of the Hurricanes with fans.


The 30-year-old returned from French club Toulon in May and joined the Hurricanes as injury cover for the final couple of weeks of Super Rugby Aotearoa but never took the field.

Savea made his debut for Wellington in 2010 and in 2017 captained the side to a Championship title win against Bay of Plenty leading to promotion back into the Premiership division.

"Really excited to announce I'm coming back home to where it all began. To be able to put this jersey on means the world to me and to be back home with the brothers, representing Wellington is an honour and a privilege," Savea said.

In 2015, Savea starred out wide in the All Blacks Rugby World Cup title win.

2019 Wellington captain, Du'Plessis Kirifi, said Savea brings a wealth of experience to a young team.

"The boys are stoked to have Jules back this year. He's an amazing player who's achieved nearly everything there is to achieve in the game. You've got boys coming out of high school and club rugby who are playing Mitre 10 Cup for the first time - so to have someone of this calibre floating around presents awesome opportunity to learn."

The full Wellington Lions squad for the 2020 season will be released on Friday.

Maguire in trouble in Greece

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been handed a suspended sentence by a Greek court after he was found guilty on four counts following a brawl on the island of Mykonos last week.

British media reported he had been found guilty of repeated bodily harm, attempted bribery, violence against public employees and insult after his arrest Mykonos.

The 27-year-old England international, who was one of three people arrested after an altercation with police., has denied any wrongdoing.

He was detained for two days following the incident.

Deliberations at the courthouse on the nearby island of Syros, where Maguire was represented by his lawyers, lasted more than seven hours.

Maguire has been named in England's squad for the Nations Cup.


Chinese grand prix canned

Formula One have announced the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix and the return of Turkey on a 17-race 2020 calendar that has been revised and shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Formula One said that Bahrain's Sakhir circuit would host two races in late November and early December with Abu Dhabi's December 13 Grand Prix completing the season.

Thirteen other races had already been announced.

Some will be open to a limited number of fans, including hospitality after the six races held so far have been behind closed doors.

China's race in Shanghai had looked doubtful for some time due to the virus.

The first Vietnamese Grand Prix, postponed from April, will not be happening either although its cancellation has yet to be confirmed officially.


Two changes to Warriors

Halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita and second rower Eliesa Katoa come straight back into the Warriors starting side for Saturday's NRL game against Newcastle in Tamworth.

Peta Hiku, Jazz Tevaga, Ken Maumalo, Chanel Harris-Tavita and Gerard Beale watch the replay scoreboard screen during the Warriors match against the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday.

Photo: © Copyright Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz Photosport Ltd 2019

The match has special significance for the Warriors as they return to the city which welcomed them in when they quarantined there more than two weeks after arriving from New Zealand on May 3 for the resumption of the 2020 season.

Harris-Tavita returns after undergoing head injury protocols following a training session collision with teammate Adam Keighran last week while Katoa was sidelined for the Bulldogs clash as he served a one-match suspension on a dangerous contact charge.

Harris-Tavita reclaims his halfback's spot from his stand-in Paul Turner who drops to the bench.

It's the same situation for Katoa with his replacement Isaiah Papali'i named on the extended bench.

The Warriors probably need to win all of their five remaining games to have any chance of making the play-offs.

Phoenix return home

The Wellington Phoenix staff and players have left their Sydney home of the last nine weeks and returned to their respective homes.

Wellington Phoenix players say goodbye to fans at Wellington airport.


The team's run in the A-League cam to an end on Saturday night when they were beaten by Perth in their elimination final.

Coach Ufuk Talay and coaching staff have now returned to New Zealand, along with players David Ball, Callan Elliot, Louis Fenton, Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, Zac Jones, Alex Rufer, Oliver Sail, Walter Scott, Sam Sutton and Ben Waine.

These staff and players will quarantine in Wellington for the next 14 days at a government-appointed quarantine hotel.

Australian-based players Luke DeVere, Cameron Devlin, Liam McGing, Reno Piscopo, Jaushua Sotirio and Brandon Wilson will remain in Australia and have begun the process of returning home to their respective states.

Steven Taylor, Ulises Davila and Matti Steinmann will return to the UK, Mexico and Germany respectively for the off-season. In addition Stefan Marinovic, Liberato Cacace and Callum McCowatt have elected to travel to Europe directly from Australia for personal reasons.

Kings won't play this year

South African rugby side Southern Kings will not take part in any competitions for the remainder of 2020 due to financial issues.

The Kings have faced crippling financial woes in recent months after a failed takeover bid, leading South African Rugby to assume control in June.

The Kings, who have competed in Europe's PRO14 since 2017, were set to be one of eight teams competing in a domestic competition scheduled to start in September.

A consortium reached a deal to acquire 76% of the Kings in January 2019, which was billed as new dawn for the Port Elizabeth-based team, but failed to come up with the necessary funds to complete the transaction.


Hesson lays down the law

Any wilful breach of the bio-secure bubble at this year's Indian Premier League by any Royal Challengers Bangalore player could jeopardise the tournament and will have "strong consequences" for him, the IPL team have said.

Strict Covid-19 protocols have been put in place for the eight-team tournament, which will be played in the United Arab Emirates from Sept. 19 after being shifted out of a pandemic-hit India.

"We have a document that the BCCI (Indian cricket board) has written which is basically a part of your contract," RCB team director Mike Hesson said in their first virtual team meeting on Monday, a video of which was posted on the team's website.

In case of an accidental breach, the former New Zealand head coach said, the player would be put in isolation for a week and must clear multiple Covid-19 tests before being allowed back in.

"If there is a breach of bio-bubble and if it's a wilful act then it becomes a contractual issue between the player and RCB. It will be dealt with very seriously," Hesson said.

"So, there will be strong consequences if players choose to do that. Every player from every team will need to sign a document which basically explains the consequences around that," he said.


Ostapenko out of US Open

Former French Open tennis champion Jelena Ostapenko is the latest player to withdraw from the U.S. Open.

The 23-year-old, who won her only major in 2017 at Roland Garros but has slipped to No. 42 in the world rankings, last played on the WTA Tour in February at the Qatar Open where she reached the last 16.

Six of the world's top 10 women have already withdrawn from the U.S. Open, which begins next week and will be played in a 'bio-secure bubble' to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Top-ranked Ash Barty, world number two Simona Halep, defending champion Bianca Andreescu, Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens and Belinda Bencic have all decided to skip the event in New York.