14 Mar 2019

Today's sport news: What you need to know

5:59 pm on 14 March 2019

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Latest - The All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock will make his first appearance for the Crusaders this season having been named in the starting lineup for Saturday night's southern derby against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Whitelock has had an extended break and says the time off has done him the world of good helping him get over a troublesome groin injury and is itching to get back out on the field.

"I'm sure a couple of the boys will be happy I'm not being held back another week because I've been a little bit niggly at training and they'll be excited for me to just tone it down a little bit," Whitelock said.

The only All Blacks the Crusaders are now missing is captain Kieran Read, who's anticipated comeback is against the Hurriacnes in a couple of weeks.

Four English teams into Champions League quarter-finals.

Liverpool have become the fourth English football team to qualify for the quarter-finals of the European Champions League.

Sadio Mane of Liverpool.

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Liverpool have beaten Bayern Munich 3-1 in Germany after the first leg ended goalless.

They join Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham in the last 8.

Barcelona also qualified after beating Lyon 5-1.

The other teams in the quarter-finals are Ajax, Juventus and Porto.

Blundell gets a Black Caps callup

Wellington wicketkeeper Tom Blundell has been called into the Black Caps Test squad as cover for the injured BJ Watling, ahead of the third cricket test against Bangladesh starting in Christchurch on Saturday.

Nwe Zealand cricketer Tom Blundell

Nwe Zealand cricketer Tom Blundell Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

Blundell, who's played only two previous tests, scored a century on debut against the West Indies last year.

He'll join the squad in Christchurch tonight as back-up for Watling who strained his hamstring on the final day of the second test win in Wellington.

A decision on whether Watling and captain Kane Williamson, who suffered a pectoral muscle injury in that test, will play will be made on Friday.

Meanwhile Black Caps pace bowler Neil Wagner has attained a career-best fifth position among bowlers after grabbing nine wickets in the Wellington Test and contributing in his team's win over Bangladesh by an innings and 12 runs.

Wagner is now the top ranked bowler from his side but Boult too has gained one slot to reach seventh position after taking seven wickets in the victory in Wellington, which wrapped a winning 2-0 lead in the three-Test series and ensured they stay second in the Test Team Rankings after the series.

For more on this story click here.

Australian cricketers score rare series win

Australia have completed an unprecedented ODI series victory over India in Delhi, underlining why their World Cup defence is no longer the lost cause it seemed months ago.

Centurion Usman Khawaja and legspinner Adam Zampa enhanced their reputations as Australia defeated the hosts by 35 runs, marking the first time they have battled back from 0-2 down to win a five-match bilateral ODI series.

The three confidence-building victories came after Australia had won just four of their past 26 completed one-dayers.

Australia made 272-9 and India crashed to 132 for 6 in reply before being bowled out for 237.

It was Australia's first ODI series win in India since 2009, first overseas ODI series win since 2016 and first ODI series win since 2017.

-Reuters

Shot clock to be introduced in men's tennis

A Shot Clock will be used at every ATP Tour event in 2020.

Cameron Norrie playing for Great Britain during the ASB Classic Quarter Finals.

Cameron Norrie playing for Great Britain during the ASB Classic Quarter Finals. Photo: Photosport

The 25-second countdown, designed to speed up play, was first used at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan in 2017 and was adopted at the last two Grand Slams, last year's U.S. Open and this year's Australian Open.

The ATP announced the decision while rolling out its calendar for 2020 - a year that will start with the inaugural ATP Cup, a team event that will launch the season.

Three Australian cities - Sydney, Brisbane, and one additional city yet to be announced - will host the 10-day event held in conjunction with Tennis Australia and featuring ranking points and $15 million in prize money.

The men's ASB Classic in Auckland remains the week before the Australian Open starting on January 13th.

-Reuters

Neymar to be investigated by UEFA

Paris St Germain forward Neymar will be investigated by UEFA for lashing out at the video assistant referee system after their Champions League exit to Manchester United last week.

Neymar of PSG

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Brazilian, sidelined by injury, was infuriated by a late penalty awarded to United in PSG's last-16 second-leg defeat in Paris which saw them go out on away goals and Neymar later called the VAR system a "disgrace".

United, who had lost the first leg at Old Trafford 2-0, were awarded a stoppage-time penalty for handball against Presnel Kimpembe after the referee consulted VAR.

Marcus Rashford held his nerve to score and seal a 3-1 victory for United which was enough for the visitors to progress on away goals after the tie ended 3-3 on aggregate.

Neymar missed both legs of the tie after injuring his foot in January.

-Reuters

Proteas win again

South Africa took a 4-0 lead over Sri Lanka in their ODI cricket series as they coasted to a six-wicket win in Port Elizabeth.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 189 in only 39.2 overs, with a career-best 78 from Isuru Udana - batting at nine - rescuing the innings from complete embarrassment.

Paceman Anrich Nortje prospered from the extra bounce to take best-innings figures of 3-57, while Andile Phehlukwayo took 2-21.

Quinton De Kock's fifth successive ODI 50 got South Africa off to a strong start in response.

Sri Lanka spinner Dhananjaya De Silva took 3-41, but De Kock (51) and Faf Du Plessis (43) put the hosts in command.

JP Duminy (28no) and David Millar (20no) eased South Africa home as the Proteas reached their victory target with a massive 103 balls to spare.

Red Bull concedes defeat

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has poured cold water on the prospect of challenging Mercedes and Ferrari early in the Formula One season despite a "positive" start with new engine partner Honda.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Powered by Renault last year, Red Bull finished a distant third behind winners Mercedes and runner-up Ferrari in the constructors' championship.

But with the Honda-powered RB15 car having a positive winter testing, Red Bull are tipped to improve.

Just days before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Horner said his team still had plenty of ground to make up, however.

With Daniel Ricciardo having switched to Renault, Red Bull's 21-year-old driver Max Verstappen is now the effective team leader on track and is rated a title contender in his fifth season.

Pierre Gasly, who graduated from feeder team Toro Rosso, has replaced Australian Ricciardo.

-Reuters

Tuilaga stays in England

England's Samoa-born centre Manu Tuilagi has agreed a new contract with Leicester Tigers, ending speculation that he was set for a big-money move to French rugby club Racing 92.

The 27-year-old powerhouse has been in fine form during the Six Nations, scoring two tries in England's demolition of Italy last weekend.

Injuries restricted Tuilagi to just couple of England appearances in the five years before the start of this year's championship in which he has been ever-present.

A move to France, however, where he was reportedly set to earn close to two million dollars per year, would have ruled him out of international consideration just when he is back to his best.

-Reuters

Japan to consider North Korean entry

Japan will consider allowing North Korean athletes into the country to compete in the 2020 Olympics despite sanctions currently banning any from entering Japan.

North Korean athletes took part in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics held in neighbouring South Korea, with the two nations fielding a unified team in women's ice hockey and one pair of North Korean figure skaters qualifying. International Olympic Committee (IOC) head Thomas Bach has said the IOC is committed to promoting Korean peace efforts.

North and South Korea have told the IOC they would like to march together in Tokyo, and have also officially requested to enter joint teams in the qualifying process for four sports - women's basketball, women's hockey, the judo mixed team event and some men's and women's rowing teams.

Japanese Olympics minister Yoshitaka Sakurada told parliament on Wednesday that the government will review allowing athletes from the North to take part.

Japan instituted a number of sanctions against North Korea following a series of nuclear and missile tests that include not allowing its citizens to enter. Ties are also strained as the result of Pyongyang's abductions of Japanese citizens to train them as spies decades ago.

-Reuters

Cracknell to get a cambridge callup

Two-time Olympic champion James Cracknell is set to become the oldest person to compete in England's University Boat Race.

The crews are being announced tomorrow and 46 year old Cracknell is set to be named in the Cambridge boat for the iconic race on April 7th.

Cracknell retired from elite rowing in 2006 but qualifies because he is studying a Master of Philosophy degree in human evolution at the University.

He won gold in the coxless fours at both the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.