3 Feb 2022

Today's sports news: What you need to know

1:03 pm on 3 February 2022

Latest - The New Zealand Breakers delivered the bounce back performance they were after to dominate the Illawarra Hawks early and then hold them out late for a 90-67 NBL victory.

Yanni Wetzell of the Breakers.

Yanni Wetzell Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The two teams were locking horns at Hobart's MyState Bank Arena without a crowd in attendance.

The Breakers lead by 24 midway through the third quarter before Tyler Harvey drained consecutive threes to start the fourth term and the Hawks were within eight with all the momentum.

Breakers head coach Dan Shamir pulled the coaching move of the night, though. He brought on Rasmus Bach who had only played a total of 71 minutes all season so far. He had missed his seven three-point attempts, but that soon changed.

He hit two threes in quick succession to put New Zealand up 16 to stave off Illawarra's fightback while he also locked in on Harvey to ensure he didn't turn those two threes into a match-winning patch of play.

From there, the Breakers closed out strongly to win by 23 with Yanni Wetzell finishing with 22 points and nine rebounds, Peyton Siva 14 points, Jeremiah Martin 12 points, Will McDowell-White 12 points and three assists, and Finn Delany seven points and 13 rebounds.

The Breakers will now take the Adelaide 36ers spot against the Sydney Kings on Sunday.


Black Caps allrounder picks up Spirit of Cricket award

Black Cap Daryl Mitchell has been named as the winner of the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award for 2021.

Daryl Mitchell of the New Zealand BlackCaps reacts after hitting the winning runs

Daryl Mitchell Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Mitchell won the award for his gesture of refusing to take a single in the high-pressure ICC Men's T20 World Cup semi-final against England in Abu Dhabi in November.

Earning the respect of the international cricket fraternity instantly, Mitchell becomes the fourth New Zealand cricketer to win the award, following the footsteps of Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson.

The incident took place in the first delivery of the 18th over bowled by England spinner Adil Rashid with Jimmy Neesham on strike. New Zealand at that moment required 34 off the final three overs and despite the match situation, Mitchell refused to take the single as he felt he was in the bowler's way, who tried to stop the ball on his follow-through.

"We want to win every game, but we don't want to do it in a way that goes against the values of cricket. The spirit of cricket is very important. It is a platform for young cricketers to watch and learn and to get inspired to play the game and go about winning it in the right way. At the end of the day, it is just a game, and it is a game that we all love, and we are very lucky to be able to do that in the right way," Mitchell said.

"Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its laws but also within the spirit of the game. Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself."

Rule change for 2022 NRL season

The Australian Rugby League Commission has approved one rule change for the 2022 NRL season and made three game day policy amendments.

Reece Walsh

New Zealand Warriors player Reece Walsh Photo: Photosport

Penalties will be awarded instead of set restarts (six again) for ruck or 10m infringements inside the 40m zone of the team in possession.

This will provide an additional deterrence to defending teams who are willing to concede set restarts to gain a tactical advantage. It will also provide more opportunities for teams receiving the penalty to attack from a better field position.

Amendments to Game Day Policy are:

Team List Announcements - To complement the addition of the 18th player rule introduced last season, team announcements on Tuesday will proportionately increase from 21 to 22 players.

Free Interchange - A free interchange will only be granted in instances of foul play where the offending player is sin binned or sent-off. A free interchange will no longer apply when players are placed on report.

Injury Stoppages - With the exception of head injuries, only a referee, touch judge or The Bunker will be permitted to stop play for an injury.


Southland Sharks lure Jaylen Gerrand south

The Southland Sharks have added a new name ahead of this year's New Zealand National Basketball League with confirmation of Jaylen Gerrand's signing for the 2022 competition.

Jaylen Gerrand

Jaylen Gerrand Photo: Supplied

Gerrand is no stranger to the NBL, entering his seventh season in the league having debuted for the Supercity Rangers in 2014, where he played for three seasons, along with stops with the Taranaki Mountainairs, Auckland Huskies and last season with the Franklin Bulls.

He was a consistent performer for the Bulls last season, playing in all 18 regular season games and averaging career-best marks in both points (8.1 per game) and rebounds (1.7).

The opportunity to develop his game further under the tutelage of Sharks' Head Coach Rob Beveridge was particularly attractive.

"It's a crazy experience to be able to play for him. He so deserves the opportunity to coach the Boomers and it's just incredible that I will get to learn from someone like that. I've heard nothing but good things about Bevo and we've had a good chat so I can't wait to play for him," Gerrand said.

The 2022 Sal's NBL is scheduled to tip off in early April with the Southland Sharks opening their campaign at ILt Stadium Southland against Taranaki on 9 April.

South Africa cricketer to miss NZ tests

South Africa batsman Keegan Petersen will miss the two-match test series in New Zealand after testing positive for Covid-19, South Africa's cricket board (CSA) said on Wednesday.

Keegan Petersen of South Africa celebrates

Keegan Petersen Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 28-year-old, who was named player of the series in the 2-1 series win against India at home, will be replaced by Zubayr Hamza, who played his last test over two years ago.

"The number three batsman is well and asymptomatic. Cricket South Africa's (CSA) medical team will keep in close contact with him to ensure his physical and mental well-being," CSA said in a statement.

In a move to minimise Covid-19 risk, both matches will take place at Christchurch's Hagley Oval, starting Feb. 17.

- Reuters

More surgery for Egan Bernal

Ineos Grenadiers rider Egan Bernal will undergo a second round of neurosurgery following a serious crash during training in Colombia last week, the Bogota clinic where he was being treated said.

Colombian cyclist Egan Bernal leads the 2021 Giro d'Italia.

Egan Bernal Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The former Tour de France winner slammed into a stationary bus on the outskirts of Bogota, sustaining injuries to his spine, legs and chest. He was rushed to hospital where doctors performed successful neurosurgery.

New tests then confirmed the need for a second spinal operation.

"After advancing in recovery ... new diagnostic imaging was carried out and it was determined, on an interdisciplinary basis, that he will be submitted to an operation at the level of the cervical spine," the hospital said in a statement.

"This intervention will favour his process of rehabilitation. We advance with the patient in all his processes of recovery, confident of a swift improvement.

"We will be reporting the postoperative evolution of the athlete at the time the procedure is completed."

In a statement on social media on 29 January, Bernal said there was a 95 percent chance of him becoming a paraplegic due to the crash.

Bernal's team mate Brandon Rivera is receiving treatment at the same hospital after injuring his elbow and shoulder in a separate incident while training in the same area.

- Reuters

Washington NFL team gets name change

The National Football League's Washington Football Team said they will now be called the Commanders following a lengthy review on how best to replace an original name that was widely seen as a racial slur against Native Americans.

Washington Redskins Helmet.


The team, amid calls for racial justice and a threatened loss of sponsors, dropped their longstanding previous name Redskins in mid-2020 following a years-long campaign from critics.

The Commanders name was the end result of an 18-month rebrand process that the team said included more than 40,000 fan submissions, countless surveys, focus groups and meetings.

"As an organization, we are excited to rally and rise together as one under our new identity while paying homage to our local roots and what it means to represent the nation's capital," Team co-owner Dan Snyder said.

Snyder, who bought the franchise in 1999, had long fought off public pressure in the past to rebrand and went as far to say the club would never change their name.

Critics ramped up pressure on the team to change the name amid a nationwide reckoning on racism and police brutality triggered by the 2020 death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck.

The team that became the Redskins was founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves. Their name was changed to Redskins the following year and they moved to Washington in 1937.

- Reuters

Host of inaugural Cycling World Championships announced

Scotland will next year host the biggest ever cycling event when all the sport's disciplines will feature at a single world championships for the first time.

A New Zealand track cycling team of 4 riders cycle in the velodrome.

Photo: AFP or licensors

At the inaugural Cycling World Championships the world titles will be contested in 13 disciplines over 11 days in August 2023, including road, track, mountain bikes and BMX.

Separate world championships have previously been staged at different times throughout the year but UCI president David Lappartient has delivered on his target of showcasing all the sport's disciplines in a festival of cycling.

"Today's announcement of the dates is an important milestone in the organisation of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships," Lappartient said.

"Bringing our existing UCI World Championships together at the same time and in one venue every four years was one of my visions before my election as UCI President in 2017. We've been working towards this ever since."

Six venues were announced, including the Chris Hoy velodrome and the Glasgow BMX Centre, with additional locations to be confirmed. The road races will take place in Scotland's scenic Southern Uplands with the finish line in Glasgow's George Square.

- Reuters

Former Fiji rugby captain dies

Former Fiji rugby 15 captain Mosese Taga has died after a short illness. He was 57.

Taga, who played as a hooker and a prop, made his Flying Fijians debut at the 1987 Rugby World Cup against New Zealand in Christchurch.

He was also a member of the 1991 Rugby World Cup squad, when he served as captain.

The last of his 48 international appearances was against Australia in 1998.

Manchester United forward released on bail

Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood has been released on bail pending further investigations, police said after the 20-year-old player was arrested on suspicion of rape and assault of a woman.

Mason Greenwood of Manchester United.

Mason Greenwood Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Greenwood was on Tuesday further arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and making threats to kill.

The allegations against Greenwood were posted on Instagram on Sunday and later deleted.

"A 20-year-old man arrested (on Sunday 30 January 2022) on suspicion of the rape and assault of a woman has been released on bail pending further investigation," Greater Manchester Police said in a statement on Wednesday.

United have suspended Greenwood, saying he would not return to training or play for the Premier League club until further notice. The club reiterated its "strong condemnation of violence of any kind" on Tuesday.

Sportswear giant Nike said on Monday it had suspended its relationship with Greenwood as it was concerned by the allegations.

- Reuters