16 Apr 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

12:16 pm on 16 April 2021

Latest - The Hurricanes have re-signed former All Blacks winger Julian Savea for a further two Super Rugby seasons.

Hurricanes Julian Savea scores a try. Super Rugby Aotearoa. Hurricanes v Crusaders, Sky Stadium, Wellington. Sunday 11th April 2021.

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021

Savea rejoined the franchise this year after two seasons in France and is now the equal second most capped Hurricanes player.

The 31-year-old has crossed for 53 tries in his 126 Super Rugby matches.

The Hurricanes have also re-signed loose forward Reed Prinsep through until the end of the 2023 season and have contracted lock Scrafton for another year.

"All three players have shown just what it means to them to play for the Hurricanes and they continue to make a significant impact on our club," Hurricanes coach Jason Holland said.

"Our coaching group knows the importance of having good leaders in the mix to help bring the next crop of quality Hurricanes players through, so we're delighted these players have shown their desire to continue with us."

Panel announced for Sport NZ and HPSNZ review

The review of the organisations was announced in February.

The panel will be headed by lawyer and former Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency David Howman.

Raelene Castle Sport NZ Chief Executive.

Raelene Castle Sport NZ Chief Executive. Photo: Photosport

The purpose of the Review is to recommend a fit-for-purpose governance, structural and operating model.

An independent agency, appointed by Sport NZ, will provide options for consideration by the advisory group, leading to recommendations around preferred approaches for the future.

The Sport NZ and HPSNZ boards will decide on any final recommendation.

"We operate inside a sector that is changing, partly due to COVID-19, but also because of the inevitable shift that occurs as we chart a pathway to the future," said Sport NZ Chief Executive Raelene Castle.

Castle will soon take over as acting CEO of High Performance Sport NZ following the upcoming departure of Michael Scott.

She acknowledges the review begins at the height of an Olympic and Paralympic cycle but says those preparations remain a top priority.

The review is expected to take six months.


English clubs cruised into Europa League final four

Manchester United and Arsenal have strolled through to the semi-finals of the second tier Europa League.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba. Photo: Photosport

United have beaten Granada 2-0 in the second leg of their quarter-final tie at Old Trafford to progress 4-0 on aggregate.

Arsenal have beaten Slavia Prague 5-1 on aggregate after racing to a 4-0 win in the Czech Republic.

The two English clubs are on opposite sides of the draw and could meet in next month's Europa League final.

Manchester United will face Roma for a place in the final after the Italians overcame Ajax in the quarters, while Villareal have beaten Dinamo Zagreb to book a meeting with Arsenal.

Djokovic upset in Monte Carlo

World number one Novak Djokovic crashed out in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters following a 6-4 7-5 defeat by Britain's Dan Evans on.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic leaves the court after his defeat in his third round singles match against Britain's Daniel Evans on day six of the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament in Monaco on April 15, 2021.

Photo: AFP

The 30-year-old Evans emerged triumphant in the pair's first meeting to end the Serb's perfect 10-0 start in 2021.

Djokovic struggled to find any kind of rhythm on a windy day at the ATP Masters 1000 event and committed 45 unforced errors during the two sets, more than double of Evans.

"It hasn't sunk in yet," Evans said in his courtside interview. "I couldn't quite believe the last ball went over the net. It nearly didn't.

"I was pleased, regardless, with how I was playing coming into the match. I felt good. You can never be confident coming into such a big match like that against Novak. It is clearly a big win and I am delighted that I got through."

- Reuters

Cleary guides Panthers to gritty win

The Penrith Panthers have had to dig deep to maintain their perfect start to the NRL season.

Nathan Cleary of Penrith.


The Panthers have come back from 12-10 down at halftime to beat the Broncos 20-12 in Brisbane.

Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary landed a 43-metre two-point field goal in the 74th minute to give the Panthers the lead before sealing the win with a converted try.

"He is getting better, he is seeing the game slowing down for him a bit," coach Ivan Cleary said.

"In those big moments and he has had a fair share of them now, he can see what to do and he got the execution part right."

The Panthers now sit four points clear at the top of the NRL ladder.

Dual international poised to rejoin the Broncos

Karmichael Hunt's storied football career could be set for another chapter with the Australian dual code international expected to return to the Brisbane Broncos 12 years after leaving the National Rugby League side.

Karmichael Hunt

Karmichael Hunt Photo: Photosport

Hunt, 34, will join the struggling Broncos on a train-and- trial contract next week, having impressed for feeder club Souths Logan in the Queensland state league, the Nine Network reported on Thursday.

Hunt started his professional sporting career with the Broncos in 2004, winning the NRL championship in 2006 before departing the club after the 2009 season.

The Kevin Walters-coached Broncos have lost four of their five games this season, and Hunt could offer another halves option with big-money playmaker Anthony Milford struggling for form.

Hunt was capped 11 times for Australia's national 'Kangaroos' rugby league side from 2006-08 but has not played the game at an elite level since leaving the Broncos.

He left the New South Wales Waratahs at the end of the 2020 season after the Super Rugby side declined to extend his contract.

- Reuters

Trial for red card replacements

Red card replacements are among three innovative laws set to be trialled in this year's Rainbow Cup after being approved by World Rugby.

Jérôme Garcès dismisses Sonny Bill Williams with a red card following a shoulder charge.

Jérôme Garcès dismisses Sonny Bill Williams with a red card following a shoulder charge. Photo: Photosport NZ

Players who receive a red card can be replaced 20 minutes after they are sent off by one of the team's nominated replacements.

Captains will be allowed one challenge per match to review try-scoring and foul play, or to challenge any decision in the last five minutes.

The defending team will also be allowed to drop out from their goal-line when the attacking side are held up over the line.

Variations of the laws are already in use in Super Rugby Aotearoa and Australia's Super Rugby competition.

The cross-hemisphere Rainbow Cup involving teams from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy and South Africa starts on April 24.

- Reuters

Footballers call for concussion substitute trial

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and FIFPRO, the global players' union, have called on football's lawmakers to consider launching trials into temporary concussion substitutes to better protect players who suffer head injuries.

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Photo: 123

The game's rule-making body IFAB in December gave the go-ahead for trials of permanent concussion substitutes following which the Premier League and Women's Super League introduced the system in February.

According to the league's protocol, team doctors make an assessment of the player who suffers a head injury and if the player shows clear symptoms, they will be substituted and prevented from returning to the field.

But concerns have been raised after West Ham United defender Issa Diop and Sheffield United defender George Baldock were allowed to continue playing after sustaining head injuries.

PFA and FIFPRO, in a letter to IFAB on Thursday, said temporary substitutes, which would allow a player to be replaced while the doctor examines them but return if deemed fit to continue, better protects player health and reduces pressure on medical staff to make snap decisions.

"Since the beginning of IFAB's permanent concussion substitute trial, we have seen several incidents where the new laws of the game have fallen short of their objective and jeopardised player safety," the letter stated.

"We ask for the existing trial to be extended in order to test in parallel temporary concussion substitutions."

- Reuters