22 Sep 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

4:08 pm on 22 September 2020

Latest - Powerhouse Mate Ma'a Tonga and Manly front rower Addin Fonua-Blake will join the Warriors from next season on a three-year deal.

Manly's Addin Fonua-Blake is set to replace the suspended Andrew Fifita in Tonga's starting line-up to face the Kiwis.

Manly's Addin Fonua-Blake is set to replace the suspended Andrew Fifita in Tonga's starting line-up to face the Kiwis. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The imposing 189cm, 118kg prop's acquisition follows the signing of his Tonga teammate Ben Murdoch-Masila from Warrington, Parramatta Eels prop Kane Evans and St George Illawarra centre Euan Aitken plus ex-Canberra back rower Jack Murchie, who was signed on an extended deal after initially joining the Warriors only until the end of this year.

Fonua-Blake, who was granted a release from his contract with Manly after playing his 97th and last match for the club on September 11, won't line up for the Sea Eagles in their season-ending encounter with the Warriors on Sunday.

After being used predominantly as an interchange prop in his first two seasons he has been a first-choice starting front rower for Manly since 2018.

He made his international debut with the Kiwis in 2017 but then switched to Tonga in 2018.

Tour de France team investigated

Two people are in custody after an investigation was opened into suspected doping by the Arkea-Samsic team at this year's Tour de France, the Marseille prosecutor says.

The Arkea-Samsic team at the start of the 2020 Tour de France.


Dominique Laurens said in a statement that the probe was targeting a "small part of the team" and that those in custody were part of the "close entourage of the main rider".

The prosecutor did not name the main rider. The leader of the Arkea-Samsic team is Colombian Nairo Quintana.

The probe targeted "the administration and prescription without medical justification of a substance or a method prohibited during a sporting event, and helping and encouraging the use of that substance or method," the statement added.

Searches led to "the discovery of many health products, including drugs, in their personal belongings and above all a method that can be qualified as doping," it said.


Wins for City and Villa

Manchester City got their Premier League campaign off to a flying start with a 3-1 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Wolves beat City home and away last season but Pep Guardiola's side were full value for their victory despite a strong response from the home side after they went 2-0 down.

The result means there has not been a single drawn match in the opening two rounds of Premier League fixtures and the 44 goals over a single 'game week' is a record for the 20-team era.

Earlier Aston Villa got their season up and running with a laboured 1-0 home win against 10-man Sheffield United as Ezri Konsa's second-half header proved enough to settle a dour game.


Coll beaten in Manchester

New Zealand squash pro, Paul Coll has been beaten in the semifinals of the Manchester Squash Open by world No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy of Egypt.

Kiwi squash pro Paul Coll


Coll ranked fifth in the world took the game the full distance, but the Egyptian was too steady in the fifth game winning 11-4, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7

in 85 minutes.

The Manchester tournament was the first PSA event since the six month Covid-19 enforced shutdown.

Coll and fellow Kiwi Joelle King will now travel to Cairo to play in the World Tour Finals (top eight player) tournament starting in just under a week.

Tennis players test positive for coronavirus

Six players in the men's and women's qualifying draw for the French Open have been withdrawn due to Covid-19 concerns.

Initially, two players and a coach tested positive for Covid-19 and three others with confirmed close contact with the coach were withdrawn.

Organisers said that a player in the women's draw had also tested positive and had been withdrawn.

The qualifiers began today, with the main draw set to start on Sept. 27.

Organisers did not reveal the names of those who had been pulled out but Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur said he had been withdrawn because his coach Petar Popovic had returned a positive test.


Dutch PM gives football fans a warning

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has hit out at fans who sing and cheer at football matches, saying they were frustrating the fight against the coronavirus amid a surge in infections.

Limited crowds have been allowed back in Dutch stadiums since the start of the new season this month, but only if they adhere to social distancing rules and refrain from singing and shouting.

"Just shut up when you're sitting there," Rutte said when asked about fans' behaviour in the stadiums. "Watch the game and don't shout. It's possible."

The fans have been far from quiet and many have left their designated seats during matches to stand and sing together.

The venues are operating at around a quarter of their capacity to make sure there is at least 1.5 metres distance between fans from different households.


Black Lives Matter warning from Ferdinand

Former England football striker Les Ferdinand believes 'taking a knee' in support of the Black Lives Matter cause has become nothing short of a PR stunt and that the real message is being diluted.

Ferdinand, who is Black, is now Director of Football at Queens Park Rangers who were criticised after both sets of players opted not to take the knee before their match against Coventry City in the Championship at the weekend.

The London club issued a statement today saying that it in no way suggested a lack of support for the campaign.

Ferdinand, who made his name as a prolific striker at QPR and enjoyed successful spells at Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur, said the criticism of a club he calls one of the most diverse in England was unwarranted.

"This should not be about QPR. Many clubs did not take the knee on the opening weekend, yet this was not reported," Ferdinand, 53, said in a club statement.

"Taking the knee was very powerful but we feel that impact has now been diluted."

The Black Lives Matter cause was taken up by Premier League clubs on the resumption of last season following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.