World Rugby criticized for ‘out of touch’ calendar shake-up

(CNN)There could be a major spanner in the works of World Rugby’s plans for a major shake-up to the game’s international setup — the players. Teams would play each other once a year with Japan and USA added alongside the southern hemisphere teams to the Rugby Championship. Semifinals and a final would be held in the northern hemisphere in November or December. READ: The rise of the Barrett brothers, the All Blacks’ prolific family affair Talks were initially held by World Rugby in September last year that sought to improve the “long-term quality and integrity of the international game.” While it is yet to comment specifically on the proposed league, the governing body issued a statement responding to criticism of …

Sumo wrestlers told beards have to go

(CNN)In a blow for fans of sporting stubble, Japanese sumo officials have shown their razor sharp intent by banning wrestlers from growing beards. But in a sweeping new move that has also outlawed tattoos and long nails, the sport’s authorities have declared that any failure to adhere to the new rules will leave wrestlers a whisker away from trouble.

Kenya’s sevens stars showing the way for rugby at home

(CNN)When the Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan in September there will be at least one viewer kicking his heels on the sidelines. Follow @cnnsport Kenya’s first deaf rugby team It was back in April 2016 that Kenya’s men’s sevens team burst into the limelight by winning its first ever title in Singapore. That success combined with the sport’s inclusion at the 2016 Olympic Games helped catapult it into the public consciousness. But while the 15-a-side game takes precedence in most countries, it’s the other way round in Kenya. Collins Injera, one of the world’s top sevens try scorers, believes the extra exposure has meant sevens has a far higher profile and far better resources behind it. READ: Why …

Wrestler Roman Reigns confirms his leukemia is in remission

(CNN)Professional wrestler Leati Joseph Anoai, better known by his stage name Roman Reigns, has confirmed his leukemia is in remission and that he will be returning to the WWE. He thanked fans for their support on Friday, and admitted he struggled with the decision to announce his cancer. “I’m not going to lie — before my announcement in October I was terrified. I was scared. I was insecure. And I didn’t really know if I wanted to share that secret with the world,” he told the cheering crowd. “That overwhelming support that you gave me, it gave me strength, it gave me new life. It gave me a new opportunity and it gave me a new purpose,” he added. “There …

Kristina Vogel: Paralyzed cycling star turns to politics

(CNN)One year ago Kristina Vogel graced the famous Berlin Six Day cycling event with the powerful dominance of a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Vogel sustained life threatening injuries in a horrific training accident in Cottbus last June, colliding with a stationary cyclist at over 60kph.

The rise of the Barrett brothers, the All Blacks’ prolific family affair

(CNN)When asked what he planned to do after retiring from rugby, Kevin Barrett — or “Smiley,” as he was nicknamed — announced he was “going to breed some All Blacks.” Beauden — a World Cup winner and two-time player of the year — Jordie, and Scott made history when they linked arms to sing the national anthem before taking on France in 2018. The story of the ‘greatest rugby player on earth’ READ: England rugby star on family fighting, injuries, and his World Cup ‘dream’ Engrained in the team’s identity is the haka. Performed before each game, it was originally a Maori ritual undertaken by the country’s indigenous people ahead of battle. Today, it unites the All Blacks — many …

Carolina Hurricanes: NHL side dividing opinion with outlandish celebrations

(CNN)To celebrate or not to celebrate. Or, more pertinently, how best to celebrate? To raise an arm and acknowledge victory or a goal with restraint or to go all-out, become a human skittle perhaps, and cause a commotion? After victory over Edmonton on February 15, one of the players pretended he had hit a game-winning home run with his hockey stick. But for respected commentator Cherry at least, that was the celebration which left him fuming. “That is absolutely ridiculous,” he said on “Hockey Night in Canada.” “I know all the broadcasters are afraid to say something … I know what I’m talking about. You never do anything like that. They’re still a bunch of jerks, as far as I’m …

Six Nations: Wales in pole position after comeback win over England

(CNN)Wales overcame a halftime deficit and scored two late tries to beat England 21-13 in rugby union’s Six Nations in what might turn out to be the competition’s title decider. England — now 2-1 — dropped to second on 10 points. READ: England target Wales READ: England upset Ireland England led 10-3 at the break, only to see Cory Hill score Wales’ first try in the 67th minute after 34 phases — the conversion made it 16-13 — and Josh Adams add a spectacular second in the 78th to put the visitors away. Biggar stars Replacement Dan Biggar was the provider both times, once through a pass and setting up Adams with a lofted kick. Adams then out-jumped Elliot Daly …

Global Champions League: Teams announced for 2019 season

(CNN)The line-ups for the 2019 Global Champions League (GCL) have been announced — with a number of high-profile stars making a switch to different teams. Each of the 16 squads will now field a roster of six riders — one more rider than last season — to allow for more flexibility. READ: Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League heads to New York Visit CNN.com/Sport for more news, features and video Other notable movements involve star striker Peder Fredricson signing for Shanghai Swans and Harrie Smolders joining Paris Panthers. Elsewhere, Cannes Stars has been busy in acquiring Eric Lamaze and Margie Goldstein-Engle, while Marco Kutscher will ride for Prague Lions and Cian O’Connor joins 2018 runner up Valkenswaard United. …

‘If he slips, he falls. If he falls, he dies’ — Climbing 3,000 feet without ropes

(CNN)Any doubts as to whether Alex Honnold was the greatest rock climber of all time were doused when the American did something that no one thought was humanly possible. “When I know what I’m doing and I’m climbing well, then it feels meditative, kind of relaxing and beautiful,” Honnold told CNN Sport. His achievement has since been immortalized in a breathtaking BAFTA-winning National Geographic documentary “Free Solo,” which has been nominated for Best Documentary at this year’s Oscars. READ: Ross Edgley — ‘It was goosebumps upon tears, upon smiles’ Death or perfection Free solo climbing is a high-stakes game. It’s either death or perfection. But in moments of such risk, adrenaline is often the enemy. “The important part of being …

The $300m mega deal: Second-most valuable contract in baseball history agreed, according to reports

(CNN)Manny Machado, who spent the 2018 Major League Baseball (MLB) season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has agreed a record-breaking $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres, according to reports. Machado, who played a key role in the Dodgers’ run to the 2018 World Series after joining the team in July, had previously represented the Baltimore Orioles for six years. As a four-time All-Star and twice winner of the league’s Golden Glove award, Machado has pedigree. He has hit 175 home runs during his MLB career to date, 37 of which came in 66 games during the half-season he spent with the Dodgers. The Padres’ financial commitment to Machado, however, is a major show of faith from a franchise …

Lindsey Vonn wins Spirit of Sport award at the ‘Oscars of Sport’

(CNN)US ski star Lindsey Vonn picked up the Spirit of Sport award at the “Oscars of Sport” Monday — on a night where Novak Djokovic and Simone Biles were also recognized for their achievements. Visit CNN.com/Sport for more news, features and video

From courtrooms to rugby fields, Wayne Barnes lays down the law

(CNN)Wayne Barnes is well versed in how the two lives of a rugby referee often collide. “He did an early kick-off in Newport,” says Barnes retelling the tale. “He then had to get on his paramedic kit after that and attended to a chap having a heart attack. The guy looked up struggling for breath and was a little shock to recognize ‘Spreaders’ from the game only to have to be resuscitated by him.” Rugby referee reveals personal journey As well as keeping in check 30 players, some of whom weigh in excess of 17 stone, Barnes’ dual life also sees him deal with cases of bribery and corruption, mostly these days outside of the courtroom and instead in the …

Caster Semenya needs to be treated fairly, says US Olympic great Ed Moses

(CNN)US athletics great Ed Moses says sport has had its “head in the ground” over the issue of hypoandrogenism and called for South African Caster Semenya to be treated fairly as her appeal against testosterone restrictions in female runners takes place in Switzerland. Follow @cnnsport “The most important thing is fairness to the athletes. “I’ve spoken to a few women who were distance runners and they gave me a point of view that I was surprised at and that was mainly fairness to Caster before everything else and that she not be castigated because of her situation, which she has nothing to do with. They were interested in her as an individual, so that was heartening to me.” The latest …

Marcel Hirscher claims third slalom World Championship title

(CNN)Marcel Hirscher claimed the third slalom World Championship gold of his career, drawling level with the men’s record set by legendary Swede Ingemar Stenmark. READ: Hirscher bags silver as rival Kristoffersen wins world title READ: Is Marcel Hirscher the greatest skier of all time? Alexis Pinturault was proving to be Hirscher’s closest competitor after the first run, but a slip halfway down the course proved costly for the Frenchman who had to settle for fourth. Despite dominating the slalom Sunday, Austrian skiing fans had to wait until the final day of the Are 2019 for Hirscher to secure the country’s first gold medal of these World Championships. Speaking after claiming gold, Hirscher admitted he may not return in two years’ …

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid settle grievances with NFL

(CNN)Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid — who drew controversy for kneeling during the National Anthem when the two were San Francisco 49ers teammates — have settled their collusion grievance cases against the NFL. Both alleged that teams were keeping them from playing. Kaepernick became a lightning rod in 2016 while with the 49ers when the quarterback refused to stand during the National Anthem, protesting what he believes are racial injustices and ongoing police brutality in the US. He drew fierce criticism from some by kneeling but also inspired other athletes — from elementary schools to professional leagues — to join his movement. Reid, a safety, began kneeling alongside his teammate that season. When he was still playing for San Francisco, …