30 Jun 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

2:33 pm on 30 June 2021

Latest - Basketball New Zealand chief executive, Iain Potter, will be stepping down from the role at the end of October after nine years in the job.

Basketball New Zealand chief executive officer Iain Potter

Iain Potter. Photo: Supplied

Potter joined Basketball New Zealand when it was in "serious trouble" financially and has helped to turn the organisation around, get more home games for the Tall Blacks and Tall Ferns and boost the New Zealand National Basketball League.

"It's a good time for a new person to take the helm as we are soon to begin the next FIBA cycle of international events, we have an exciting opportunity with the recently approved Strengthen and Adapt funding from Sport New Zealand, the Sal's NBL's are at a high point, and basketball in general is on the upswing," Potter said.

Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) board chair, Brian Yee, said the sport of basketball is thankful for Potter's contribution.

"The Board wishes to express our gratitude and admiration for the way Iain has managed himself and his staff through some quite incredible years in our sport. As a result of his outstanding leadership, he has given meaning and life to our vision 'A hoop in the heart of every neighbourhood'. Every facet of the game is now thriving and the popularity of basketball has skyrocketed through the roof."

FIBA executive director David Crocker said he was grateful to have worked with Potter.

"It's the job of every CEO to leave the organisation in better health when you leave than what it was when you started, Iain has fulfilled and exceeded that expectation of him as ceo. Under his leadership, BBNZ has been a solid and respected partner of FIBA and received global recognition in 2019 of this with a FIBA Presidential Award.

"As a former CEO of BBNZ I understand the challenges as well as anybody and I greatly respect Iain's approach to the role. The resources available to BBNZ have been significantly less than what other Federations competing at the global level have access to and he has found a way to deliver to all parts of the game. At times you need to make tough choices and prioritise with a broad perspective and he has shown courage to take these big decisions.

"Personally I will miss his regular calls that both challenge and support FIBA to keep growing our sport globally so we can have more people bouncing the ball than kicking it."

The BBNZ Board will begin the appointment process for a new chief executive officer immediately.

Kiwi golfer qualifies for British Open

New Zealand golfer Daniel Hillier has grabbed one of the last dozen qualifying berths for next month's British Open at Royal St George's in Kent.

Daniel Hillier

Daniel Hillier Photo: Photosport

Hillier, the world no. 668, has finished atop the leaderboard at one of the four final qualifying tournaments at Hollinwell in Nottinghamshire.

The 22-year-old shot a course record-equalling eight-under 64 in the morning and then birdied his final hole to card a three-under 69 in the second round to finish a shot clear of Hollinwell club member Jonathan Thomson.

"I've got goosebumps hearing that [I've qualified], which pretty much sums it up," Hillier said.

"It's been a pretty crazy day. I got pretty hot on the back nine in the morning and held on through the front nine in the afternoon, then picked up a few birdies coming home which was really nice.

"It's a dream come true. I've always wanted to play in Major Championships and this will be my second one, so I'm really excited to get into it."

Daniel Hillier played the US Open in 2019 as an amateur.

He will be one of three New Zealanders in the field at Royal St George's with Ryan Fox and Danny Lee having also qualified.

Ko and Fox make Olympic fields

New Zealand golfers Lydia Ko and Ryan Fox have been confirmed in their respective fields for next month's Olympics.

Lydia Ko


New women's world number one Nelly Korda leads a four strong US team that also includes Danielle Kang, Lexi Thompson and sister Jessica Korda.

The Korda's mother Regina represented Czechoslovakia in tennis at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Ko, who won silver in Rio, is currently ranked tenth in the world.

The qualifying period for Tokyo has just ended.

Rio gold and bronze medalists Inbee Park and Shanshen Feng are also in the field.

Meanwhile Fox ranked 45th in the 60 strong men's field.

The New Zealand Olympic selectors are expected to officially name them in the New Zealand team in the coming days.

All three Rio Olympic men's medalists, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar, failed to qualify for Tokyo.

Nuggets centre joins Breakers

The Breakers have rewarded Otago Nuggets centre Sam Timmins for his standout performances in the National Basketball League.

Sam Timmins of the Nuggets shoots during the NBL basketball match, Rams V Nuggets at Cowles Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand, 10th June 2021.

Otago Nuggets centre Sam Timmins. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021

The Australian basketball league club have signed Timmins on a one-year development contract, with an option for a second year.

The 24-year-old is averaging 20.6 points and 14.2 rebounds a game for the Nuggets, who are fourth on the NBL ladder with three rounds remaining.

"The Breakers are a New Zealand team playing against Australians, and I've always wanted to be part of the organisation," Timmins said.

"I was inspired growing up watching them win the three-peat, and I just want to be part of that team and bring it success."

No crowds for Lions games

South African Rugby President Mark Alexander has accepted there will be no fans at stadiums for the British and Irish Lions series but is confident the COVID-19 protocols in place will allow all the scheduled games to go ahead.

Springboks sing the South African national anthem during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.


The Lions, who will face the Springboks in three tests from July 24, have arrived in South Africa with the country gripped by a third wave of COVID-19 infections, prompting tightened restrictions including a 9 p.m. curfew.

The country, the worst-hit on the African continent in terms of recorded cases and deaths, reported almost 18,000 new cases on Saturday, approaching the peak of daily infections seen in a second wave in January.

The Springboks have not played a test since winning the Rugby World Cup in November 2019 and the resulting loss of revenue forced SA Rugby to shave $US 84.12 million off their budget for 2020.

Alexander said that had the Lions series been cancelled and the Springboks went through another year without playing a test, it could have spelled the end of professional rugby in South Africa.

The Springboks to take on Georgia this weekend.

- Reuters

Young defender recommits to the Phoenix

The Wellington Phoenix have re-signed young defender James McGarry for the next A-League season.

James Mcgarry of the Wellington Phoenix.


McGarry, 23, joined the Phoenix in October last year and featured in 22 matches for the club last season.

"Jimmy was good for us as an attacking left back this past season, he's got some solid attributes at that position which helps the squad," Wellington coach Ufuk Talay said.

The Phoenix now have 14 players on their books.

Israeli striker Tomer Hemed is the only player from last season's squad who's future has yet to be resolved.

Australian netball teams relocate

Australia's Super Netball League has relocated four of its clubs to Melbourne to ensure this weekend's round of games can go ahead.

Rob Wright coach of the NSW Swifts with the team during the former trans-Tasman ANZ Netball competition.

Rob Wright coach of the NSW Swifts with the team during the former trans-Tasman ANZ Netball competition. Photo: Photosport

The decision was made for the NSW Swifts, GIANTS Netball, the Queensland Firebirds and the Sunshine Coast Lightning to travel to Victoria for at least two weeks to safeguard the season.

The league is working closely with government authorities and the West Coast Fever to determine their best next steps.

At this stage, the Round 9 clash between the Adelaide Thunderbirds and the Collingwood Magpies will go ahead as planned at Netball SA Stadium.

New South Wales is currently going through a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Cavendish wins stage four in France

Britain's Mark Cavendish won his first stage at the Tour de France for five years in a thrilling sprint finish on stage four in Fougeres.

KONYA, TURKEY - APRIL 12: British cyclist Mark Cavendish of Belgium's Deceuninck-Quick-Step team finishes first in the second stage of 56th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (TUR 2021) in Konya, Turkey on April 12, 2021.

Photo: AFP

Cavendish, 36, rolled back the years as he finished ahead of Nacer Bouhanni and Jasper Philipsen.

Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel kept the overall leader's yellow jersey.

Cavendish's victory came at the end of a race which featured a riders' protest after yesterday's crash-affected stage three.

Geraint Thomas and 2020 runner-up Primoz Roglic were among those involved in crashes, and today the peloton came to a halt for a minute shortly after the rollout from Redon, before beginning a go-slow ride for the first 10km.


Folau free to play again in Australia

Former Wallabies fullback Israel Folau is set to resume his career in Australia after the Queensland Rugby League said the dual code international has been registered to play for amatuer club Southport Tigers.

Israel Folau returned to Australia from the Catalan Super League side.

Israel Folau returned to Australia from the Catalan Super League side. Photo: Photosport

French rugby league side Catalans Dragons said yesterday they had agreed to release Folau from the rest of his contract after he began negotiations with them last week.

Folau, who was sacked by Rugby Australia in 2019 for a social media post deemed discriminatory by the rugby union federation, had lodged a Supreme Court injunction against the QRL after the governing body refused his registration.

Folau will join up with his two brothers at the Tigers in the Gold Coast amateur competition.

- Reuters