Today’s sports news: What you need to know – RNZ

Latest – Shane van Gisbergen has come through from last to win the New Zealand Grand Prix at Hampton Downs.

Shane van Gisbergen. NZ Grand Prix 2021.

Shane van Gisbergen

The 2016 Australian Supercars champion was forced to start the race from pit lane after he was late getting to the grid.

However thanks to some superb driving and a safety car he soon closed in on the field and took the lead with 10 of the 28 laps remaining.

Andre Heimgartner finished second with Matthew Payne third.

It was a successful weekend for van Gisbergen who also won the first two races of the Castrol Toyota Series.

Veteran kenny Smith, who was competing in his 50th Grands Prix, finished at the tail of the field.

Hooker well beaten

Auckland mixed martial arts fighter Dan Hooker has been beaten in the first round of his bout at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi.

American newcomer Michael Chandler dominated from the opening bell, stalking Hooker around the octagon before dropping him with a vicious left hooker.

Once they were on the canvas Chandler pounded the New Zealander until the referee stopped the contest… officially 2’30” in the first round.

Hooker went into the bout ranked sixth in the world and hoped a win might get him a shot at Irish legend Conor McGregor.

In the main event American Dustin Poirier knocked out McGregor in the second round.

Wellington do the double

The Wellington Blaze have opened up a gap at the top of the Super Smash T20 table after beating Otago by 122 runs at the Basin Reserve.

Wellington cricketer Xara Jetly.

Xara Jetly

Batting first the homeside made 196 for five with opener Spohie Devine top scoring with 80 off 44 balls, while Amelia Kerr scored 66 off 43 balls.

In reply Otago were dismissed for 74 in the 16th over with leg spinner Xara Jetly taking four wickets for nine runs from her three overs.

The Blaze have 24 points from seven games, six ahead of Canterbury, while Otago are at the bottom of the table.

It was a lot closer in the men’s game with Wellington winning by four wickets.

After being asked to bat first the Otago could only manage 137 for nine with Anaru Kitchen top scoring with 28.

Pace bowler Ben Sears took four wickets for 21 runs from his four overs for Wellington.

Wellington lost the inform openers Finn Allen and Devon Conway early in their run chase which caused them a few problems and they reached their target with two overs to spare.

Captain Michael Bracewell top scored with an unbeaten 47, while Mitchell McClenaghan took three wickets for Otago.

Wellington top the table with 24 points, while are fifth.

City sneak home

Late goals by Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres spared Manchester City a shock FA Cup defeat away to fourth-tier Cheltenham as the Premier League giants scraped into round five.

Phil Foden of Manchester City.


Alfie May’s 59th-minute goal put Cheltenham agonisingly close to the biggest win in their history on a night of drama at a sadly empty Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

With less than 10 minutes left on the clock Foden volleyed in an equaliser and Jesus struck three minutes later to end the hopes of a side 72 places lower than City in the standings.

Torres gave the scoreline a comfortable look with the final kick of the game but it was anything but.

City’s reward is an away tie against Swansea City.

– Reuters

McCartney comeback a false start

Another delay to New Zealand pole-vaulter Eliza McCartney’s comeback.

The Olympic bronze medallist was set to make her long-awaited return from injury at the Potts Classic in Hastings on Saturday.

However, having completed her warm-up, McCartney didn’t quite feel comfortable enough to officially compete.

Pole vaulter Eliza McCartney.


The 24-year-old wasn’t short of opportunties in the coming weeks to finally return, with the Capital Classic in Wellington looming as a potential option on February 20.

Elsewhere at the meet, there was an upset in the men’s 100 metres as national champion Eddie Osei-Nketia was beaten by Canterbury youngster Tiaan Whelpton.

The 20-year-old ran a personal best of 10.37 seconds before running 10.47 in the final for a start-to-finish victory over Osei Nketia, with Commonwealth Games semifinalist Joseph Millar third.

Shot put stars Dame Valerie Adams and Tom Walsh both came out on top.

Adams was pushed by 2018 world under-20 champion Maddison-Lee Wesche before eventually prevailing with a throw of 18.34m, while Walsh’s best of 20.78m well clear of nearest rival Ryan Ballantyne with 18.66m.

Arsenal out of FA Cup

Holders Arsenal bowed out of the FA Cup in the fourth round in disappointing fashion as Gabriel’s first-half own goal condemned them to a 1-0 defeat at Southampton.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal.


The Gunners’ defence of the trophy they won by beating Chelsea last August ended with something of a whimper as Mikel Arteta’s side struggled with repeatedly sloppy defending.

Southampton deservedly took the lead in the 24th minute when Kyle Walker-Peters drilled a low cross into the area and Gabriel inadvertently touched it past keeper Bernd Leno.

Arsenal could have fallen further behind with home striker Danny Ings going close for the hosts on several occasions.

The visitors did apply some second-half pressure but Southampton were comfortable as they held on to set up a fifth-round clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

– Reuters

Second test evenly poised

James Anderson took six wickets to help bowl Sri Lanka out for 381, but England’s openers failed again as the tourists closed the second day of the second and final test on 98 for two in reply at Galle International Stadium.

James Anderson.

Photo: Photosport

Joe Root scored a breezy, unbeaten 67 and will resume on the third morning with Jonny Bairstow, who has 24.

Sri Lanka left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya (2-33) quickly bagged the wickets of England openers Dom Sibley (0) and Zak Crawley (5), maintaining his dominance over the pair having also dismissed them in both innings in the first test.

It took England 139.3 overs to finally dismiss the home side after they elected to bat, with Anderson the chief wicket-taker with 6-40 in 29 overs.

Sri Lanka had frustrated the tourists with their tail, the final four wickets adding 138.

– Reuters

Tennis Australia gets apology

Spain’s tennis federation has apologised to Tennis Australia (TA) after complaining about the treatment of two Spanish players in quarantine before next month’s Australian Open.

Rod Laver Arena, Australian Open Tennis, Melbourne.


More than 70 players have been confined to their rooms after some passengers on three charter flights that brought them to Australia tested positive for the new coronavirus. Other players are able to train for up to five hours a day.

“We apologise to TA if our statement has at any time been interpreted as a criticism of their working methods, nothing is further from our intention,” the Spanish federation said in a statement.

The federation had said on Thursday it was clear two players – Mario Vilella and Carlos Alcaraz – would not be able to compete on “equal terms” at the major and the confinement could result in physical and psychological harm.

But the federation moved to clarify it’s position, saying its intention had been “to request the Australian Open, with utmost respect for their skills, the possibility of exploring safe training options for Spanish players affected by isolation for 14 days.”

– Reuters

Ogier on top at Monte Carlo

Seven-time world champion Sebastien Ogier was poised for a record eighth Monte Carlo rally success after taking the lead from Toyota team mate Elfyn Evans in the season opener.

Sebastien Ogier.

Sebastien Ogier.
Photo: Photosport

The Frenchman, who was born and grew up in Gap where the rally is based to the north of the Mediterranean principality, stretched out a 13-second lead over Welshman Evans with the final days’ four stages remaining.

Finnish driver Kalle Rovanpera completed a Toyota sweep in third place, 56.8 seconds off the lead after the day’s three stages on snow and ice-covered asphalt in the foothills of the French Alps.

Evans pulled back some time at the end of the leg, winning the final stage.

Hyundai’s Ott Tanak, the 2019 world champion who won the opening two stages, retired from the event for the second year in succession after starting the day third.

– Reuters


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