Former Kiwis forward Frank Pritchard is in hospital in Sydney in a critical condition.
Canterbury forward Frank Pritchard. Photo: Photosport
Australian media reports said Pritchard was on life support as a result of complications from Covid-19.
The 38-year-old was believed to have a collapsed lung and other major health issues as a result of the virus.
Along with playing 27 tests for New Zealand, Pritchard had a long NRL career with Penrith, Parramatta and the Bulldogs.
He also played in the UK Super League for Hull and made eight appearances for Samoa before retiring at the end of 2017.
Canterbury men chase big T20 target
Canterbury have made short work of a big chase in the men’s domestic T20 competition.
Set 218 to win against Central Districts in New Plymouth on Friday, the Kings powered their way to a five-wicket win with almost three overs to spare.
Several Canterbury batters took full advantage of the short Pukekura Park boundaries in the successful chase, with Leo Carter (56 off 35), Cam Fletcher (48 not out off 21) and Henry Shipley (39 not out off 11) the key contributors.
Fletcher and Shipley shared in an unbeaten sixth wicket partnership of 87 from just 27 balls.
Earlier, a spectacular 93 not out off just 36 balls from Central skipper Tom Bruce was the highlight of the Stags total of 217-4, while Dane Cleaver belted 61 off 32.
Meanwhile, a batting cameo from White Ferns fast bowler Lea Tahuhu led Canterbury to a five-wicket victory in a low-scoring women’s match against the Central Hinds.
The match was evenly poised when Tahuhu came to the crease with the visitors at 65-4 in pursuit of 113 to win.
Tahuhu smacked 29 from just 10 balls as the Magicians eventually got home with nine balls to spare.
Auckland City out of Club World Cup
Auckland City have been forced to withdraw football’s Club World Cup again due to New Zealand’s Covid-19 quarantine measures.
FIFA have confirmed Tahiti’s AS Pirae will replace Auckland City at the tournament in the UAE.
Auckland City last featured at the FIFA Club World Cup in 2017. Photo: PHOTOSPORT
The Auckland team also had to pull out of last year’s edition in Qatar because of border restrictions.
AS Pirae would play UAE Pro League side Al Jazira in the first round for the right to meet AFC Champions League winners Al Hilal in the second round, with the winners of that match facing Chelsea in the semi-finals.
In the other semi, Palmeiras would play the winners of the game between Al Ahly and Monterrey.
The Club World Cup was set to take place from February 3rd to the 12th in the United Arab Emirates.
– Reuters, RNZ
Nadal in for Australian Open
Rafael Nadal confirmed his bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title by posting a picture of himself at Melbourne Park on social media and allaying fears that he could miss the Australian Open.
Nadal caught Covid-19 while playing in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi last month and said he would make a decision on his future tournaments depending on his “evolution” over the weeks ahead.
“Don’t tell anyone … here I am,” Nadal, who is tied on a men’s record 20 major titles with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, said in a Twitter post showing him standing on the Rod Laver Arena court.
Nadal, 35, played in Abu Dhabi after spending four months on the sidelines with a long-term foot problem. He was knocked out at Roland Garros in the French Open semi-finals and was forced to pull out of Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open.
Nadal was expected to kick off his preparations for the Australian Open by returning to the tour for the first time since August at the ATP 250 event in Melbourne from Tuesday.
There was still uncertainty if world number one Novak Djokovic at year’s first Grand Slam
Speculation over the 34-year-old’s participation was heightened after he pulled out of the Serbia team for the ATP Cup in Sydney, which started on Saturday.
Another EPL match postponed
Newcastle United’s Premier League match at Southampton has been postponed due to Covid-19 cases and injuries in their squad.
It was the 18th Premier League match to be postponed due to Covid-19 cases and injuries this month.
“The Board accepted the postponement application as the club (Newcastle) does not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper),” the league said in a statement.
The league only grants a postponement if a club has fewer than 14 players available, with the board examining requests on a case-by-case basis.
Meanwhile, three Liverpool players and more staff members have tested positive ahead of the trip to Chelsea but it is too soon to ask the Premier League to postpone the game, manager Juergen Klopp said.
When asked if Liverpool would have to ask for the game to be postponed, Klopp said: “Not yet, but we don’t know. We never had an outbreak where 10-15 players had it.”