20 Oct 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

12:01 pm on 20 October 2021

Latest - Riyad Mahrez scored twice as Manchester City produced a dominant away performance to put their Champions League campaign back on track with a 5-1 thrashing of hosts Club Brugge.

Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City.


City's comfortable victory came after they lost at Paris St Germain in their last Group A game and sees them advance to six points, two more than their Belgian hosts.

City are a point behind Paris St Germain who beat RB Leipzig 3-2 with two goals from Lionel Messi and one from Kylian Mbappe.

Antoine Griezmann scored twice but was sent off for Atletico Madrid as they fell to a 3-2 Group B defeat to Liverpool whose in-form attacker Mohamed Salah netted a double, including the winner from the penalty spot.

Liverpool have nine points, Madrid and Porto four and AC Milan.... today Porto beat Milan 1-0.

Ajax Amsterdam beat Borussia Dortmund 4-0 to keep their perfect record in group C and Inter Milan scored their first win in Group D beating Sheriff Tiraspol 3-1.


Women's NBL competition called off

The women's national basketball league season has been cancelled due to the ongoing Covid restrictions in Auckland.

The women's national basketball league season has been cancelled due to the ongoing Covid restrictions in Auckland.

The opening week of games was completed just just days before the beginning of Auckland's restrictions in mid-August, however no further games have been played since.

Waikato Wizards Krystal Leger-Walker during the NBL Basketball match against Auckland Dream 2021


New Zealand Basketball had hoped the six team competition could resume before the end of the year but with the on going uncertainty with Auckland remaining in level 3 the decision has been made to call it off.

"It's unfortunate to be in this position, and further highlights why we need adhere to the rules and get vaccination rates up in the hope of no interruptions in 2022," said NBL general manager Justin Nelson.

"Unfortunately, the wave of emotions and anticipation hasn't ended as we would have liked. We'll now look to next year with renewed positivity."


Big ton for former White Fern

Former White Fern Rachel Priest hit a century to help the Hobart Hurricanes to their first win of the Women's Big Bash League.

Rachel Priest batting during the 2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup.


Priest struck an unbeaten 107 from just 68 balls, scoring 70 percent of her side's total of 152 for 4.

Priest's score was the Hurricanes' highest WBBL score of all time, and the fourth highest score in the competition's seven-year history

The Hurricanes then bowled the Melbourne Stars out for 89.

Hobart are fourth on the table with the Sydney Sixers unbeaten on top.

Priest played 87 ODI's and 75 T20 internationals for New Zealand before retiring last year.

The majority of the games are being played in Tasmania.

Scotland head towards Super 12

Scotland moved to the brink of reaching the Super 12 stage of the Twenty20 World Cup with a victory over Papua New Guinea, while Bangladesh kept their hopes alive with a convincing win over hosts Oman.

Richie Berrington smashed 70 off 49 balls while Josh Davey took four wickets for 18 to help Scotland, who beat Bangladesh in their opening match, to a 17-run win against Papua New Guinea at the Al Amerat ground in Oman.

Bangladesh's 26-run victory in the day's second match meant they were tied on two points with Oman, behind leaders Scotland on six, with all of the Group B teams having one match left.

It was the second straight loss for Papua New Guinea, who have no chance of progressing.

Two teams from each group will advance to the Super 12 stage, which will start from Saturday.

On Friday morning Scotland play Oman and Bangladesh play PNG.


NYCC dumps Stars and Stripes

The New York Yacht Club is unlikely to be involved in the next America's Cup.

Dennis Conner and Stars and Stripes in 1998.

Dennis Conner Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The original holder of the America's Cup backed American Magic in the last regatta in Auckland earlier this year.

In July the club said they wouldn't be working with American Magic anymore and would instead back Stars and Stripes for the 37th America's Cup.

Sail World is reporting that Stars and Stripes has also now been given the push.

The New York Yacht Club, which held the trophy for 132 years, may yet announce another option for the next challenge.

Holders Team New Zealand are yet to finalise the date and venue for the 37th America's Cup.

Best to help coach Fiji

Former Ireland and Ulster captain Rory Best will take up an assistant coaching role with Fiji for their November tour.

Ireland rugby captain Rory Best


Due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, no Southern Hemisphere-based managers, coaches or players will be part of the panel for the away matches against Spain, Wales and Georgia.

Best will coach the forwards, with outgoing Fijian Sevens coach Gareth Baber the head coach for the tour.

Ex-Scotland players Duncan Hodge and Richie Gray are also named as coaches.

Former hooker Best won 124 Ireland caps before retiring from playing in 2019.

In April, he was appointed to the coaching staff of Major League Rugby side Seattle Seawolves, while in January it was reported that he had taken up an occasional mentoring role with Ulster.

Fiji head coach Vern Cotter and his New Zealand-based assistants will not take part in the tour due to the travel restrictions.


Nets favourites for NBA title

Opening-night squad lists for the National Basketball Association's 2021-22 season, which begins today, will feature 109 international players from 39 countries.

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket against Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half in Game Six of the NBA Finals on July 20, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Photo: AFP

Canada remains the most represented country outside of the United States for an eighth consecutive year with 18 players, followed by Australia, France and Germany who each have seven players each on opening-night rosters.

Nigeria, Serbia, Spain and Turkey each have five players featured across the NBA's 30 teams.

New Zealander Steven Adams plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Toronto Raptors lead the NBA with 10 international players, followed by the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder with seven international players each.

There are two games on the opening-night schedule, starting with the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks versus the visiting Brooklyn Nets followed by the Golden State Warriors at the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bookies have the Brooklyn Nets as favourites just ahead of the Lakers, while Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic is favourite to claim the MVP award.


Steyn retires from rugby

The Springboks have named two uncapped players in their 32-man squad for tests against Wales, Scotland and England next month but will be without veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn, who has retired from international rugby.

Morne Steyn, 2014.

Morne Steyn, 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Steyn kicked the penalty that won the Springboks the series against the British & Irish Lions in August, but the 37-year-old has called time on his career in the green and gold after 68 tests to focus on club rugby and spending more time with his family.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is a first call-up for lock Salmaan Moerat, who has impressed with the Stormers this year, and joins Durban-based Sharks scrumhalf Grant Williams as the uncapped players in the squad.

Williams has made the cut with experienced number nine Faf de Klerk out with a hip injury that is likely to see him side-lined into 2022.

The Boks start their tour against Wales on Nov. 6, before matches in Edinburgh and London on consecutive weekends.


Cooper unsure of future

Quade Cooper is unsure whether he will move on to Europe with the Wallabies after this weekend's test against Japan in Oita as negotiations continue between Rugby Australia and his club, Hanazono Kintetsu Liners.

Wallabies player Quade Cooper looks on after kicking a penalty on full time to give the Wallabies victory during the Rugby Championship Round 3 match between Australia Wallabies and South Africa Springboks at CBus Stadium on the Gold Coast, Sunday, September 12, 2021.

Photo: AAP Imaga/Dave Hunt/Photosport Ltd 2021

The experienced first-five was brought out of the international wilderness to play in the last four matches of the Rugby Championship, helping the Wallabies to two victories over world champions South Africa and two over Argentina.

Under World Rugby regulations, Cooper is eligible for release by his club for the November tests against Scotland, England and Wales, but Australia could not demand his services for Saturday's test against Japan.

New Zealand-born Cooper said that while he "assumed" he would be available to play Japan on Saturday having been involved in training this week, he was uncertain of his status after that.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said on Sunday he would not be sticking rigidly to the World Rugby release rules in the spirit of building good relationships with the Japanese clubs, where an increasing number of Australians play.

Rennie also said last weekend that one of Cooper and James O'Connor was likely to start at flyhalf on Saturday, with the other backing up from the bench.


Chinese receive Olympic flame

Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics organisers have received the Olympic flame at a heavily-guarded Panathenaic stadium in central Athens as human rights activists called on a boycott of the Games over China's human rights record.

In a brief ceremony inside the empty stadium that hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896, Beijing Games vice president Yu Zaiqing fired up a small red lantern from the flame lit on Sunday in ancient Olympia, site of the ancient Games.

The lantern will arrive in the Chinese capital later today, kicking off a domestic torch relay that ends with the Games opening ceremony on Feb. 4 as Beijing becomes the first city to host both Summer and Winter Olympics.

Greek police had cut off access to the stadium hours before and surrounded it with a large number of security personnel for fear of more protests, after Tibetan activists broke through a police cordon in ancient Olympia to demonstrate just as the flame was lit.

Rights groups and U.S. lawmakers have repeatedly called on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Games and relocate the event unless China ends what the United States deems ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups.