13 Oct 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

10:59 am on 13 October 2020

Latest - Japan number eight Kazuki Himeno will play for the Otago Highlanders in next year's Super Rugby competition, his Japanese club Toyota Verblitz has announced.

Kazuki Himeno during the first half of Japan v South Africa, Quarter Final, Rugby World Cup 2019 at Tokyo Stadium, Japan. 20th October 2019.

Kazuki Himeno in action against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

Himeno, who was a key player in Japan's back row during their run to the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup last year, will link up with the Dunedin-based Highlanders ahead of the 2021 season.

The 26-year-old, who has previous Super Rugby experience with the now-defunct Tokyo-based Sunwolves, has played 17 times for Japan, scoring five tries, including one against Samoa at the 2019 World Cup.

There is a strong Japanese connection at the Highlanders, who are currently looking for a new head coach.

Former Highlanders flyhalf and current Japan assistant coach Tony Brown is one of the frontrunners to fill the vacancy.

Jamie Joseph, Japan's head coach, led the Highlanders to their sole Super Rugby title in 2015.

- Reuters

Coll feeling himself again

New Zealand squash player Paul Coll has won through to the quarter-finals of the Egyptian Squash Open Platinum tournament with a straight game win over 49th ranked Youssef Ibrahim of Egypt.

Paul Coll in action at the 2020 Egyptian Squash Open.

Photo: Supplied

The world number five has won 11-9, 11-4, 12-10 in 48 minutes in a hard fought encounter and will now face 18th ranked Mostafa Asal (Egypt) on Thursday (NZT) for a place in the semifinals.

Coll says he's back to himself after disappointingly falling short of the semi-finals at the World Tour Finals earlier this month.

"I had some other stuff going on in my life that's a lot more important than squash and I wasn't in the headspace to compete against top 10 people," Coll said.

"I went home, reset myself (and) talked to some people really close to me and we're ready to rock this week."

Lakers honour Kobe Bryant

The Los Angeles Lakers dedicated their NBA Finals victory to the late Kobe Bryant, whose death in a helicopter crash in January united and motivated the team in a year full of challenges.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 27: Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, attend the WNBA All-Star Game 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Photo: AFP

Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others died in the crash near Los Angeles, sending shockwaves through the NBA world and beyond.

Bryant won five championships in 20 seasons with the Lakers and is considered one of the sport's all-time greats.

"Ever since the tragedy, we wanted to do it for him, and we didn't want to let him down," Anthony Davis, who was Bryant's team mate on the 2012 Olympic team, said after Sunday's Game Six victory over the Miami Heat.

"I know he's looking down on us and proud of us, I know (Bryant's wife) Vanessa is proud of us, the organization is proud of us. It means a lot to us.

"He was a big brother to all of us and we did this for him."

- Reuters

Premier League restructure labelled a power grab

The minister who oversees sport in Britain said he feared a plan by Liverpool and Manchester United to restructure the English Premier League was a power grab that could prompt a deeper look at the governance of the sport.

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (C) lifts the Premier League trophy during the presentation following the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on July 22, 2020.

Photo: AFP

The two clubs are backing a plan to radically change the Premier League's structure, giving more power to the big clubs, reducing it to 18 teams from 20 for the 2022-23 season, and scrapping the League Cup and Community Shield.

The plan would see the Premier League commit to providing 25% of the league's revenue to English Football League (EFL) clubs and a 250 million pounds rescue fund to help with the immediate impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Asked on Sky News if the proposal was a good plan or a power grab, Oliver Dowden, the minister for culture, media and sport, said: "I fear it's the latter and I'm quite sceptical about this."

He added: "If we keep having these back room deals going on, we'll have to look at the underlying governance of football. We promised in the manifesto a fan led review, and I must say the events that I've seen in the last few weeks have made this seem more urgent again."

- Reuters

Murray joins Nadal and Federer on player council

Former world number one Andy Murray is one of four players that have been elected to ATP's Player Council to replace the Novak Djokovic-led group who resigned from the body to form a breakaway union.

British Andy Murray pictured in action during a tennis match between British Andy Murray and Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas, in the second round of the men's singles tournament at the European Open ATP Antwerp, Thursday 17 October 2019 in Antwerp.

Andy Murray Photo: AFP

Briton Murray, Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime, Australian John Millman and Frenchman Jeremy Chardy will replace Djokovic, John Isner, Vasek Pospisil and Sam Querrey -- who stepped down to form the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA).

Murray joins 20-time Grand Slam champions Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal on the council.

The ATP was set up by players in 1972 to represent the men's athletes but its board now includes representatives of tournament owners as well.

Besides the ATP and the women's WTA, the sport is also controlled by the International Tennis Federation and the boards of the four Grand Slams.

- Reuters

Baseball Hall of Famer dies

Hall of Famer and twice World Series champion Joe Morgan, considered one of baseball's greatest second basemen, has died at the age of 77 after battling a nerve condition.

COOPERSTOWN, NEW YORK - JULY 21: Hall of Famer Joe Morgan looks on during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Clark Sports Center on July 21, 2019 in Cooperstown, New York.

Joe Morgan looks on during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Cooperstown, New York in 2019. Photo: AFP

Morgan played for five different Major League teams and won the World Series with the Reds in 1975 and 1976. He also won the National League Most Valuable Player award with the team known as the "Big Red Machine" in both those seasons.

After a 22-year career, in which he hit 268 home runs, recorded 1,133 runs batted in and stole 689 bases, Morgan embarked on a career in broadcasting.

Morgan's MVP awards came after he led the Reds to World Series victories over the Boston Red Sox in 1975 and when they swept the New York Yankees in 1976.

A 10-time All-Star, Morgan also collected five consecutive Gold Glove awards for his outstanding defensive play at second base with the Reds between 1973 and 1977.

- Reuters