29 Mar 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

4:10 pm on 29 March 2021

Latest - Australia's professional sports leagues are scrambnling to put contingency plans in place after Queensland authorities announced a snap three-day lockdown from later tonight in Brisbane to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak.

Fans and supporters. Vodafone Warriors v Brisbane Broncos. NRL Rugby League, Central Coast Stadium, Central Coast, NSW, Australia. 4th July 2020. Copyright Photo: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport

National Rugby League side the Brisbane Broncos are expected to fly out on a charter flight earlier than intended for the their match against Melbourne Storm on Friday.

North Queensland and Cronulla are considering charter flights to the Sunshine Coast for their NRL clash on Saturday so they can avoid flying through Brisbane.

Gold Coast Titans host the Canberra Raiders at home on Saturday, with that match likely to go ahead because the city is not part of the Brisbane lockdown, although the Titans are waiting for guidance from the Queensland Government.

Super Rugby side the Queensland Reds who are currently in Sydney after play the Waratahs at the weekend are expected to head straight to Melbourne to play the Rebels this weekend while A-League football side the Brisbane Roar are consulting league officials about their home match against Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.


Engalnd post another WC qualifier win

Harry Kane scored his first England goal since 2019 to lead his side to a comfortable 2-0 win against Albania in a World Cup football qualifier.

England football captain Harry Kane.


England top their group standings with six points from two games ahead of their home clash with most-likely group rivals Poland at Wembley later this week.

Spain avoided their first defeat in a World Cup qualifier in 28 years as they narrowly beat Georgia 2-1 thanks to a 92nd minute goal from midfielder Dani Olmo.

Meanwhile, reigning world champions France beat Kazakhstan 2-0 to go top of their group.

Italy overcame Bulgaria 2-0 to take first-place in their qualifying group with two wins from two.

The biggest win of the day went to Denmark who thrashed 177th world ranked Moldova 8-0 in the Dane's biggest ever win in a qualfier for a major tournament.

The next round of World-Cup qualifiers kick-off on Wednesday.

- Reuters

Ashleigh Gardner helped world champions Australia overcome New Zealand by six wickets and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match Twenty20 series.

Ashleigh Gardner Australian cricketer.

Ashleigh Gardner Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Gardner's unbeaten 73 from 48 balls helped Australia recover from 14-3 as they chased 131 with 12 balls to spare.

She shared an unbroken 71-run stand with Ellyse Perry, who was playing in her first international match for a year after a lengthy injury break.

New Zealand earlier posted 130-6 after being asked to bat first in Hamilton.

Australia have won 32 of their 38 completed T20 matches in the past three years.

All-rounder Jess Jonassen took 3-26 as New Zealand struggled to accelerate, despite 40 from Amy Satterthwaite.

However, Australia slipped to 3-2 inside the first two overs, with Alyssa Healy caught at cover before Beth Mooney edged Jess Kerr to slip.

Once captain Meg Lanning fell, Australia were facing a difficult task, but Gardner went on the attack, hitting Amelia Kerr for back-to-back sixes to swing the match back in the tourists' favour.

Although all-rounder Perry did not bowl, she hit the winning runs for Australia, her unbeaten 23 coming from 16 balls.

The second match of the series takes place on Tuesday in Napier.

Phoenix beaten by Macarthur

The Wellington Phoenix have been beaten 1-0 by Macarthur FC in their A-League football game in Wollongong.

It took some time before the match revved into life with the first half full of a host of half chances as both sides slowly began to find their shooting boots.

The second half saw both teams carve out more chances with the Bulls first to test Ollie Sail only seconds after the restart before Adam Federici got down well to deny Alex Rufer who was later ruled to be in an offside position.

The breakthrough eventually arrived through Denis Genreau on 65 minutes with the midfielder tapping home from close range after Sail's impromptu save from Tim Payne fell into his path.

Going a goal behind saw Wellington step up a gear as they aimed to snatch a point from the affair with Ben Waine becoming a central figure for Ufuk Talay's side after entering the action.

However, Macarthur were able to keep the highly-prized clean sheet as they secured back-to-back A-League wins which saw them jump into third on the ladder.

The Phoenix, who are ninth on the table, started without attacking player Reno Piscopo because of injury and lost defender Steven Taylor in injury early in the match.

Great weekend for Liam Lawson

New Zealand driver Liam Lawson has made a stunning start to his Formula 2 career.

Lawson Liam wins the opening F2 sprint race in Bahrain 2021.


The 19 year old is second overall in the F2 standings after a succesful debut weekend in Bahrain.

Lawson won the opening sprint race, spun off in the second and then finished third in the feature race.

The Hitech GP driver is 11 points behind Guanyu Zhou of China.

19 year old Lawson was happy with his debut event.

"We were just saying last year when I was in Formula 3, one of the most exciting parts of the weekend was sitting down to watch the F2 race so it's crazy to now be a part of it and feel what it's like for all of these guys. I am enjoying it so far, learning a lot and there's still a lot more to be learnt as we go on."

Fellow New Zealander Marcus Armstrong is 10th in the standings after finishing fifth in the feature race.

The next round is in Monte Carlo next month.


India take ODI series

India have won the ODI series against England after winning the third match in Pune by seven runs.

Indian bowler Shardul Thakur.

Shardul Thakur Photo: PHOTOSPORT

England's chase of 330 appeared all but over when they were reduced to 257-8 in the 40th over but Sam Curran and Mark Wood, who made 14, kept their side in the hunt with a stubborn 60-run stand for the ninth wicket.

All-rounder Curran, who was dropped on 22 and then again on 87, remained unbeaten on a career-best 95 but could not hit the required 14 runs in the final over with England finishing on 322-9.

On a sweltering day in the western Indian city of Pune, the hosts were dismissed for 329 after being put in to bat with Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya scoring half-centuries.

The target did not appear too imposing for England, who chased down 337 with 39 deliveries remaining in the previous match, but Shardul Thakur and Bhuvneshwar Kumar snared seven wickets between them to put the pressure on the tourists.

India also won the test and T20 series.


History made by Dunedin para athlete

The Dunedin javelin thrower Holly Robinson made history at the National Track and Field Championships over the weekend by becoming the first Para athlete to win a medal at an open event.

Holly Robinson. New Zealand Para athlete.

Holly Robinson Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 26 year old Paralympic silver medalist finished second in the women's javelin in Hastings with a best of 44.26 metres - her longest throw since breaking the world F46 record of 45.73m at the 2019 Australian Championships.

"I'm pretty stoked, although I'm probably stoked by the fact that things are finally coming together for me," she says. "I haven't had too many great throws over the last year and a half, so to finally do that despite not having an amazing build-up because of being injured means I'm super stoked to be standing on that senior women's podium," Robinson said.

"It's been a long slog since, so it is a good feeling to know before the Paralympics I am back to good form."

Southland's Jessica Senior won the gold with a best distance of 45.40m.

Vinales wins in Qatar

Yamaha's Maverick Vinales overcame a slow start to win the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix in an exhilarating race where defending world champion Joan Mir lost out on a podium on the final lap to Johann Zarco and Francesco Bagnaia.

Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales.


Mir, who started 10th on the grid, steadily made his way through the field but went wide on the final corner, allowing Pramac Racing's Zarco and pole sitter Bagnaia of Ducati to beat him on the straight with their superior top speed.

While the Yamahas were not as fast as the Ducatis on the straights, Vinales was able to find more speed and grip on the corners and he first overtook Zarco before taking the race lead from Bagnaia with eight laps to go.

"The start didn't go well but after that I felt the potential. I was saving tyres to find the right moment," Vinales said.

"I tried to be very smart, very calm, and chose the right place to push."


Waratahs sack Rob Penney

NSW Waratahs have parted ways with head coach Rob Penney after five defeats in five games left the team bottom of the Super Rugby AU standings.

Waratahs Coach Rob Penney.


The Waratahs lost 46-14 to the Queensland Reds on Saturday, putting them 22 points adrift of the table-leading Reds.

Injuries and the departure of key players have hampered the Waratahs this year, leaving Penney and his coaching staff to rely on an inexperienced squad.

The Waratahs said assistant coaches Jason Gilmore and Chris Whitaker would take charge of the team for the remainder of the 2021 season.

Penney had said the youthful Waratahs needed to recruit experienced players after the loss to the Reds.

"There's no lack of effort and the boys are working really hard out on the field and no one's rolling over," the New Zealander had said.

"But it's a massive project. We need resources, we need to strategically recruit in a couple of areas so that the organisation can move forward more quickly than just relying on the youthful guys to come through."