15 Sep 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

4:14 pm on 15 September 2020

Latest - Seven riders have been selected for the World Road Cycling Championships in Italy next week.

New Zealand cyclist George Bennett.

George Benett Photo: PHOTOSPORT

World Tour riders George Bennett, Patrick Bevin and Dion Smith will compete in the men's road race with Bevin also focussing on the time trial after finishing fourth last year.

Georgia Williams, Mikayla Harvey and Niamh Fisher-Black, who all ride in Europe will compete in the women's road race.

Williams and Harvey will also compete in the time trial.

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the championships have been hastily rearranged for Imola in Italy after the original hosts in Switzerland were unable to host the event under Covid regulations.

Accordingly, the championships have been reduced to elite races only.

Development rider Finn Fisher-Black has been given dispensation to ride both men's events.

Ko on the rise

The New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko continues her climb back up the world women's rankings.

New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko.

Lydia Ko Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Yesterday Ko produced the score of the final round to finish sixth in the ANA Inspiration, the second major of the year.

That has resulted in her climbing another seven spots in the world rankings to now be 34th.

Ko, the former world number one, got as high as 55 earlier this year.

ANA Inspiration winner Mirim Lee of South Korea climbed 73 sports to be number 21, while country woman Jin Young Ko remains number one.

Warriors prepared for another stint in Australia

Results did not go the Warriors' way in the 2020 NRL season but chief executive Cameron George is giving the season a pass mark.

Warriors CEO Cameron George.

Cameron George Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Warriors have two more rounds to play before the players and staff who have been based in Australia since the NRL season re-started in May can return home.

"From a club's perspective it has been a really tough year but that said I think there has been a demonstration of resilience, of commitment and passion from players and staff and we're really proud of that and the way they have performed on the field has really made our club stand tall and proud for our fans," George said.

George said when the side first arrived in Australia for isolation in Tamworth there was still a degree of uncertainty about what the future would for them and their families and whether or not the trans-Tasman bubble would open.

"I think our club and our staff and players were thinking week to week, I don't know whether they really had their bags unpacked just in case they could come home, however a point happened in the season where everyone said right we're here now, we're here for the rest of the year, lets accept it, lets get on with it and I think at that point in time is when the team really knuckled down and got stuck into it and results - albeit we are missing out on the finals - under the circumstances have been somewhat pleasing."

Given the length of time away from home and restrictions of being in an NRL hub, George said the players handled the mental toll "as best they can".

He knows some of his players struggled and that the situation they faced was "not ideal", but George is prepared to do it all again next season.

"We're gonna have two options next year aren't we, it's either the borders are open and it's life on the road as normal for us given the NRL season or we have to relocate to Australia, it's black and white for us, until we understand what the borders are doing later this year we can't really confirm that decision, we're certainly planning a contingency plan of being in Australia."

Tomkinson banned for six weeks

Otago midfielder Sio Tomkinson has been suspended from rugby for six weeks after being sent off in his side's match against Auckland at the weekend.

Tomkinson was sent off late in the game for a dangerous tackle.

The judiciary ruled Tomkinson's action was reckless and resulted in the opposition player being injured and removed from the match.

Tomkinson will miss Otago's matches against Manawatu, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Counties Manukau and Northland.


Rotorua marathon to go ahead

The Rotorua marathon is set to go ahead next week, but runners from the Auckland region will not be able to take part.

Alice Mason wins the 2019 Rotorua Marathon.

Alice Mason Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Athletics New Zealand says with most of New Zealand due to be at Alert Level 1 by next Tuesday, the iconic marathon will go ahead.

However with Auckland expected to stay at a higher level, runners from that area won't be allowed to take part.

All Auckland-based entrants are able to receive either a 50 percent refund on their entry fee or a free transferral to next year's race.

This year's race was also meant to double as the national marathon championships, but that won't now be the case.

The Rotorua marathon is usually held in May, but was delayed this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Archer defends their stance on Black Lives Matter

England fast bowler Jofra Archer has said they have not forgotten about the 'Black Lives Matter' movement after former West Indies bowler Michael Holding criticised the country's board when players stopped taking a knee before matches.

England and West Indies players took a knee before each game in their three-test series in July but the symbolic gesture was discontinued for the Pakistan series as well as the two limited overs series against Australia.

The ECB had released a statement justifying their decision to stop taking a knee which was described as 'lame' by Holding, who also took issue with Australian captain Aaron Finch's statements when the visitors said they would not take a knee.

"We have not forgotten, no one here has forgotten about 'Black Lives Matter'," Archer said.

"I think it is a bit harsh for Michael Holding to not do some research before criticising. I'm pretty sure he doesn't know what is going on behind the scenes.

England also wore "Black Lives Matter" logos on their shirts during their test series against West Indies, but opted not to continue the practice against Pakistan and Australia.


New Kiwi Ferns coach

New Zealand Rugby League has appointed Ricky Henry as the new Kiwi Ferns head coach ahead of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.

Henry was an assistant coach under previous Kiwis Ferns head coach Justin Morgan.

His coaching experience includes New Zealand Warriors assistant development coach (2008) Warriors NRL assistant coach (2013-14) and Warriors Nines head coach (2014), and at a national level, the NZ 18s (2012) and NZ Maori (2016) head coach.

"I am passionate about the long term success of Women's Rugby League and building a strong foundation for the future. It's a privilege to have the opportunity to coach these elite women athletes as we work towards a World Cup victory come 2021," Henry said.