1 Dec 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

4:49 pm on 1 December 2020

Latest - The Black Caps wicketkeeper BJ Watling is in doubt for the side's first test of the summer against the West Indies, starting in Hamilton on Thursday.

Quintin de Kock sweeps as BJ Watling and Colin de Grandhomme look on.

Black Caps wicketkeeper BJ Watling. Photo: Photosport

Watling suffered a hamstring strain while playing for Northern Districts recently and Wellington batsman Devon Conway has been called into the squad as over.

Conway played made his international debut in the T20 series against the Windies.

If Watling is ruled out of the match Tom Blundell would take the gloves and move down from the opening batting spot to the middle order.

Conway however would be unlikely to play as Will Young, who was already in the squad, would then likely open the batting for his test debut.

Leicester City miss out

Leicester City has squandered a chance to go joint-top of the English Premier League as Fulham grabbed a surprise 2-1 victory to move out of the bottom three.

Harvey Barnes of Leicester City.


Leicester, who could have joined Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool on 21 points, enjoyed lots of second-half possession but Fulham defended diligently and were a threat on the break.

Leicester stay fourth, while Fulham's second win of the season takes them one point above the bottom three.

West Ham United climbed to fifth with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.

Meanwhile eighth-tier Marine, the joint lowest-ranked team in the competition, landed a lucrative encounter with Premier League leaders Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup - in the biggest mismatch in the history of the world's oldest football competition.

It is already being labelled "Marine vs. Mourinho," with Spurs manager Jose Mourinho set to take his team to Merseyside for a match against an opponent whose league is on hold because of the national lockdown.

Marine play in the Northern Premier League North West and are in the FA Cup third round for just the second time.

Women's Rugby World Cup to expand

The number of teams participating in the women's Rugby World Cup will be increased from 12 to 16 from the 2025 edition.

New Zealand Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Faamausili celebrates winning the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup.

New Zealand Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Faamausili celebrates winning the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup. Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2017 © INPHO 2017

The decision was taken by the Rugby World Cup Board earlier this year and World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said it was a "milestone moment" for the women's game.

"Expansion of the Rugby World Cup opens additional... playing pathway opportunities for unions at the highest level of the game and creates added incentive for unions worldwide to continue to invest and grow in their women's programmes."

The news follows increasing calls for the event to be expanded, with women and girls now accounting for 28% of the global playing population.

Since 2006 there have been 12 teams split into three pools, including the upcoming 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand..... from 2025 there will now be quarter-finals.

The 2021 World Cup, the ninth edition since the inaugural tournament in 1991, will be held in New Zealand from Sept. 18-Oct. 16. New Zealand are the defending champions after winning their fifth title.

The host selection process for the 2025 edition begins in February 2021 and is set to conclude in May 2022 with a council vote.


Cavani being investigated

The English FA is looking into a deleted social media post by Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani which contained a Spanish phrase that is offensive in some contexts.

The 33-year-old Uruguay international inspired United to a 3-2 comeback win at Southampton in the Premier League yesterday, with two goals and an assist after coming off the bench at halftime.

Replying to a message of congratulations on Instagram, Cavani wrote in Spanish: "Gracias negrito". The post appeared shortly after the match and has now been deleted.

"The message I posted after the match on Sunday was intended as an affectionate greeting to a friend, thanking him for his congratulations after the game," Cavani said in a statement on the club's website.

"The last thing I wanted to do was cause offence to anyone. I am completely opposed to racism and deleted the message as soon as it was explained that it can be interpreted differently. I would like to sincerely apologise for this."

Cavani could face a minimum three-game ban if the FA deems he used discriminatory or racist language under its Rule E3.

Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, Cavani's Uruguay team mate, received an eight-match ban for using the same word in his on-field clash with United's French defender Patrice Evra in 2011.


Harbour remain unbeaten

North Harbour have secured top spot in the women's National Basketball League following a 72-57 win over Waikato.

North Harbour are unbeaten after four rounds, while Waikato join three other teams, Otago, Auckland and Capital with a 2-2 record with a game to play.

Waikato led by as many as 16 points in the first quarter and by 5 points at halftime only to be outscored 39-20 in the second half.

North Harbour captain Ash Kelman-Poto led from the front making 18 points, Brooke Blair 16 points with Jazz Kailahi-Fulu claiming a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.

North Harbour are back in action on Tuesday facing cross-city rivals Auckland in the Battle of the Bridge, while Waikato get an extra day off before taking on Capital in a must-win game for both teams.

Fittipaldi replaces Grosjean at Haas.

Brazilian reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will make his Formula One race debut with Haas at next weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain as a stand-in for the injured Romain Grosjean.

Pietro Fittipaldi testing with Haas in 2019.


Frenchman Grosjean suffered burns to the back of his hands in a fiery crash that split his car in two during yesterday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old is expected to remain in hospital until tomorrow.

The Miami-born Brazilian, 24, is a grandson of twice Formula One world champion and double Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi.

The Sakhir Grand Prix is the penultimate race of the season, which ends in Abu Dhabi a weekend later. Haas are ninth out of 10 teams in the standings and have not scored a point since the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring on Oct. 11.

Grosjean is due to leave Ferrari-powered Haas at the end of the season along with Danish team mate Kevin Magnussen.

Mick Schumacher, son of seven times world champion Michael and the current Formula Two leader, is expected to join for next season along with Russian Nikita Mazepin.


Roar have to compensate Robbie Fowler

Australian A-League football club Brisbane Roar have been ordered by FIFA to pay Robbie Fowler compensation for terminating his contract as head coach without just cause.

Brisbane Roar's coach Robbie Fowler.


Fowler and his assistant Tony Grant went home to England in March when the A-League season was suspended because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, and his exit "by mutual consent" was announced by the club in late June.

The Liverpool great, unhappy that he had been depicted as walking away from the club, launched the wrongful termination action with FIFA's Players' Status Committee in August.

Fowler has since taken charge of SC East Bengal and the compensation will be the equivalent of his salary from the date of his termination by Brisbane up to when he signed a two-year deal with the Indian Super League club.

The 45-year-old only had the experience of the 2011-12 season as player-coach at Thai club Muangthong United on his CV when he took over at the Roar at the start of last season.

He led the club, who had finished second bottom the previous season, to fourth place in the A-League when matches were suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.


Isle of Mann TT off again

The Isle of Man has cancelled next year's TT motorcycle races because of the uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the second straight year the races won't be run.

The annual races around the island off the north-west coast of England rank among the most dangerous in motorsport and attract tens of thousands of visitors from all over Europe.

This year's event, which was scheduled to be held from May 30 to June 13, was cancelled in March.

The next TT races are scheduled for May 28 to June 11, 2022.


Jimenez has operation after head clash

Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez had an operation on his fractured skull following a clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz during yesterday's Premier League game.

The Mexican forward needed oxygen on the pitch before being taken off on a stretcher and rushed to hospital.

Arsenal were, however, questioned for allowing Luiz to play on with his head bandaged before he was taken off at halftime because he was uncomfortable heading the ball.

Manager Mikel Arteta said they had followed concussion protocols to make sure the Brazilian could continue and that he had "responded really well" to all the on-field tests.


Melbourne United have announced the signing of import forward Scotty Hopson on a one-year deal for the Australian NBL.

Hopson starred for the New Zealand Breakers last season, finishing in the All-NBL Second Team as well as being nominated for MVP.

He averaged 19.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game, shooting 47% from the field.

The 201cm Kentucky native has most recently been playing in the NBA G-League for Oklahoma City Blue, with the hopes of breaking into the NBA, but will return to the NBL with Melbourne United.