29 Aug 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

7:06 pm on 29 August 2020

Latest - Jamie Whincup has eaten into Scott McLaughlin's Supercars championship lead with a commanding win in the opening race in Townsville.

Jamie Whincup

Jamie Whincup Photo: Photosport

Whincup has won from pole position, ahead of fellow Australians Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert.

Fabian Coulthard has finished the best of the New Zealand drivers in fourth, with McLaughlin seventh.

McLaughlin had started from 16th on the grid after his worst qualifying result in two years.

His championship lead has been cut from 177 to 141 points.

New Australian netball coach named

Stacey Marinkovich has been appointed coach of the Australian netball team.

New Australian Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich.

New Australian Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich Photo: Russell Freeman Photography © 2020

Marinkovich is currently coaching the West Coast Fever in the Super Netball competition and will continue to do so until the end of the 2021 season.

She will then move fulltime into coaching the Australian Diamonds in the lead-up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the 2023 Netball World Cup in South Africa.

Marinkovich replaces Lisa Alexander, who finished up in March after more than eight years in the role after her contract was not renewed.

She beat the likes of Melbourne Vixens coach Simone McKinnis and ex-Australia star Vicki Wilson, who has most recently coach Fiji, for the coveted position.

Second-tier netball league canned

Netball New Zealand has announced that the revised 2020 Beko Netball League has been cancelled due to the shift in COVID-19 alert levels.

Central Manawa celebrates winning the Beko Netball League Grand Final at Horncastle Arena, Christchurch, New Zealand, 19th May 2019.Copyright photo: John Davidson / www.photosport.nz

Central Manawa celebrate winning the 2019 Beko Netball League Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

The league, which is in its fifth season and has proven an important pathway for performance for both players and coaches, was set to start today (August 29) under a condensed schedule with six teams competing over three weekends.

But with the New Zealand Government's announcement that the Auckland region would remain at Alert Level 3, it was decided the Beko Netball League could not go ahead.

Auckland, Te Aroha and Wellington were set to host the competition, but the uncertainty over the length of lockdowns and changes to the requirements at each level means the call to cancel the 2020 league was made.

The league sits directly below the ANZ Premiership and has proven a key stepping-stone to the elite game. Central Manawa is the three-time defending champions with Southern Blast the only other team to have won the league.

Triathlete runs away with cross country challenge title

Triathlete Hayden Wilde has convincingly won Athletics New Zealand's cross country challenge in Dunedin.

New Zealand triathlete Hayden Wilde.


Wilde has finished more than a minute clear of his nearest rival at the Chisholm Links golf course.

Up and coming 1500m runner Sam Tanner has finished second, with Oli Chignell third.

Eva Goodisson has won the women's race.

The event was originally the national championship but its status was changed as some athletes were unable to take part due to the Auckland region remaining at Alert Level 3.

New Zealand footballer signs with Liverpool

Football Ferns defender Meikayla Moore has joined one of the most famous clubs in England.

Football Ferns Meikayla Moore celebrates her goal during the international football friendly. New Zealand Football Ferns V Japan. Westpac Stadium, Wellington. Sunday 10th June 2018.

Meikayla Moore celebrates scoring a goal for the Football Ferns in 2018 Photo: Photosport Ltd 2018

Moore, 24, has signed with Liverpool FC after two seasons with MSV Duisburg in the women's Bundesliga.

"I'm at a time in my career where I needed a new adventure and a new opportunity and I'm thankful that they were willing to give that to me," Moore told Liverpoolfc.com.

"I'm excited to get here and really work hard for this team, for the staff, the club and the badge. It's a massive club so it's a huge honour to be here."

Liverpool's playing in the second tier English Championship this season after being relegated from the Women's Super League.

They open their season against Durham next weekend.

Phoenix defender completes move to Belgium

The departure of Liberato Cacace from the Wellington Phoenix is official.

Phoenix's Liberato Cacace.


Belgian club Sint-Truiden (STVV) have confirmed their signing of the 19-year-old All Whites defender to play in the Pro League, ranked eighth best football league in the world.

Cacace was the second Phoenix Academy graduate in the past 13 months to transfer to a top tier league in Europe after playing for the club's first team.

He follows ex-teammate Sarpreet Singh, who signed with German champions Bayern Munich and had gone out on loan to division two side FC Nürnberg.

The Belgian Pro League began their shortened season on August 8, and Cacace joined a few familiar faces at STVV.

Head coach Kevin Muscat and assistants Carlos Pérez Salvachúa and Luciano Trani have all previously coached in the A-League.

Only two players under par at PGA Tour playoff event

Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay are tied for the lead at one-under par after the second round of the BMW Championship as the Olympia Fields Country Club continued to torment the world's best golfers.

Irish golfer Rory McIlroy


McIlroy and Cantlay are the only two players under par at the halfway point of the second of three FedExCup playoff events, where 69 players are battling it out for a place in next week's Tour Championship.

Starting on the back nine, McIlroy (69) was cruising early with three birdies and a bogey over his first nine holes but struggled coming in as conditions worsened at the course outside Chicago.

Cantlay's eventful round included an eagle, four birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey as the American carded a second round two-under 68 to sit at one-under 139 for the tournament.

New Zealand number one Danny Lee is tied for 30th place at five-under par.

- Reuters

NBA playoffs set to resume

NBA players who boycotted games as part of a protest against racial injustice and police brutality have agreed to resume the playoffs on Sunday (NZ time).

The decision ended a three-day halt in action as part of a players-led protest sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and led to game cancellations in other sports as well.

The Milwakee Bucks called off their NBA playoffs game against the Orlando Magic in support of Black Lives Matter.

The Milwakee Bucks called off their NBA playoffs game against the Orlando Magic in support of Black Lives Matter. Photo: 2020 Getty Images

The agreement was announced a day after players, coaches and team governors had a candid discussion regarding the next steps to further collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality.

As part of the agreement, the NBA and its players would establish a social justice coalition, while teams who own and control their stadiums would work with local officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 presidential election.

The league also said it would work to include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.

- Reuters

Japan potentially out of tournament

Japan are reportedly set to withdraw from November's eight-team tournament featuring the Six Nations sides and Fiji as they struggle with logistical complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jamie Joseph has stood down as Sunwolves coach.

Japan coach Jamie Joseph. Photo: Photosport

The tournament, which takes the place of this year's autumn internationals, is scheduled to begin on November 14.

Japan has among the strictest restrictions in place to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

According to Kyodo news agency, the ban on foreign-passport holders has prevented members of Japan's coaching staff, which includes New Zealanders Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown, from entering the country, making it difficult to organise training camps.

Fiji's involvement is also at risk, while British media reported that Georgia have been invited to take the place of the 2019 Rugby World Cup hosts, who were to be grouped in a four-team pool alongside Scotland, France and Italy.

- Reuters

UCI optimistic about Tour de France

International Cycling Union (UCI) president David Lappartient is confident that the Tour de France can be completed despite concerns over a possible second wave of the coronavirus in the country.

The number of new daily cases has been rising steadily since the beginning of the month, prompting the UCI to enforce strict rules to help protect riders during the three-week race starting on Sunday (NZ time).

Tour de France peloton on the Champs-Elysees 2019.


Asked whether it would be a miracle if the Tour made it to the French capital, Lappartient replied: "I believe in miracles, so yes we will reach Paris."

One of the new rules imposed by the governing body concerns when teams can be excluded from the race in the event of positive tests for COVID-19.

Should two or more riders from the same team test positive for the coronavirus over a seven-day period, the whole outfit could be excluded.

Riders have been tested twice before the start of the race and a mobile laboratory provided by organisers will ensure they can be tested during the event.

- Reuters

Russian anti-doping boss fired

Russia has dismissed the head of RUSADA, its national anti-doping agency, in a move that threatens to further strain the country's relations on the global sporting stage.

Publicly critical of some sports officials for their inaction in tackling Russia's doping crisis, Yuri Ganus had been appointed to head RUSADA as it mounted a push to be reinstated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The appointment of a new director had been a condition for the reinstatement.

Yet his dismissal as director general of RUSADA came after Russia's Olympic Committee - one of the agency's founders along with the Paralympic Committee - accused him of presiding over serious financial violations. Ganus denied the allegations.

Ganus portrayed the accusations against him as an attempt to undermine RUSADA's efforts to rebuild international trust in Russia's anti-doping system.

WADA and other global sports bodies expressed concern earlier this month when RUSADA's supervisory board recommended Ganus be fired, stressing that the independence of anti-doping agencies was paramount.

- Reuters

Question marks over Kohli availability

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli is likely to travel to Australia later this year despite his wife expecting their first child in January.

No caption

Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Kohli's social media post announcing his wife's pregnancy went viral this week, drawing good wishes from several India team mates.

Australian media reports said Cricket Australia (CA) and its broadcasters would be "holding their breath" over the availability of one of the biggest drawcards of world cricket.

"He's available for the tour, at least he has not said anything to the contrary," a key Indian cricket board (BCCI) official told Reuters on Friday..

Beginning on December 3 in Brisbane, India will play four Tests sandwiched between three Twenty20 Internationals and a trio of one-dayers.

- Reuters