Weekend Sport: Five other things to watch, January 25-28

Judging by their feeble display in Napier the other night, the Blackcaps could be in for a tough time against India over the next couple of weeks.

If you're a purist, the prospect of watching the world's best player - Virat Kohli - in action may be enough to satisfy your sporty fix.

Hopefully, our boys will recapture the form they showed against Sri Lanka to make this five-match one-day series competitive, but if things get out of hand, there's plenty else to distract us from the cricketing onslaught.

Three words - Tiger is back.

Nico Porteous.
Nico Porteous. Photo credit: Getty

X Games Aspen
Starts 7am, Friday, January 25 (NZ time)

The 2019 X Games Aspen (in Colorado) return for a weekend of exciting snow sports and plenty of insane tricks.

Kiwi Olympic bronze medallist Nico Porteous will contest the free-ski superpipe against some of the sport's biggest names, including American Olympic champion David Wise and compatriot Alex Ferreira.

Porteous' older brother, Miguel, won silver at Aspen in 2017.

The superpipe is scheduled for Friday (prelims 8am/final 3:45pm), but the X Games run through till Monday.

Imagine Nico winning a medal and then returning home to collect a Halberg Award. 

Fellow Olympic medallist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott is also in action, competing in the snowboard big air.

Carlos Garcia Knight is also in action for the Kiwis on Saturday and Sadowski-Synnott in the snowboard superpipe on Sunday. 

Ben Francis

Tiger Woods.
Tiger Woods. Photo credit: Getty

PGA Farmers Insurance Open
Starts 6am Friday, January 25 (NZ time)

Year Two of the Tiger Woods comeback starts this weekend.

He's fresh off a captivating win last year at the Tour Championship and everyone is waiting to see what comes next from Woods.

Twelve months ago, Woods ranked 668th in the world - now he sits 13th, seven spots above Jordan Spieth.

Is it fair to say he's back? Woods enters this week's Farmers Insurance Open as the fifth favourite.

He will be going up against the likes of Jason Day, Justin Rose, John Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler.

Luke Robinson

Joe Ravouvoa.
Joe Ravouvoa. Photo credit: Photosport

IRB NZ Sevens
Starts 10am Saturday, January 26
Live updates on newsbub.co.nz

The City of the Future hosts the local leg of the international circuit for the second time and while our women finally make an appearance at this event, albeit in an exhibition format, most attention will be on the All Blacks Sevens and their quest for series points.

New Zealand began the 2018/19 campaign with victory at Dubai, but struggled with injuries a week later in Cape Town.

While they have lived in the shadow of their Black Ferns colleagues over recent years, the NZ men showed last year that they are on the right track under new coach Clark Laidlaw, winning at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the IRB World Cup.

Their weekend begins at 12:36pm Saturday against Japan, followed by Canada (4:26pm) and Spain (8:36pm).

Grant Chapman

Eliza McCartney
Eliza McCartney Photo credit: Getty

Eliza McCartney at the Athletics' Potts Classic
5pm Saturday, January 26

Returning from a five-month hiatus, after a long-standing heel injury, this event is crucial for Eliza McCartney’s build-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.

It's the start of qualifying season and our first look at her fitness, with just two months to go until the New Zealand nationals in Christchurch, but McCartney will have her eye on the world championships in September.

While the 22-year-old has dealt with the pressure of an Olympic Games qualifying year before, it's safe to say her bronze medal performance at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 has heightened expectations this time round.

With a few other international vaulters in town for the Hastings event, McCartney’s main competition lies in 20-year-old Fin Wilma Murto, who set a world indoor junior record three years ago.

Kristina Eddy

Jay-Jay Wilson.
Jay-Jay Wilson. Photo credit: Supplied

Bellator 214
1pm, Sunday, January 27 (NZ time)

I'd encourage all of you to switch on Bellator 214 this weekend, with the rising American MMA promotion hosting the final of its Heavyweight World Grand Prix.

Ryan 'Darth' Bader (how about that Star Wars reference?) and none other than Russian great Fedor 'The Last Emperor' Emelianenko will contest the main event.

But NZ fight fans will be more interested in the sophomore professional appearance of Kiwi featherweight prospect Jay-Jay Wilson, who'll square off against Tyler Beneke in the preliminaries.

The 21-year-old is just months removed from his gold medal-winning effort at the Brazilian jiu-jitsu world championships and if you need any further encouragement, his inspirational back story should put you firmly in his corner.

Superstar-in-waiting Aaron Pico will also be in action. The 22-year-old is a sight to behold when he's in full flight, so get yourself on that train early.

Stephen Foote