World Rugby's dangling a $10 billion dollar carrot in front of national unions as they try to get the new Nations Championship plans across the line.
The games powerbrokers have met in Dublin with World Rugby tweaking their initial proposal, removing a semi-final meaning most teams would play just 11 matches.
The Nations Championship, which would start from 2022, would involve two conferences, based on the Six Nations and Rugby Championship, with the two top teams meeting in the final.
They still want promotion-relegation although the Six Nations remains a major stumbling block.
World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper said they have an almost 10 billion dollar offer to back the proposal.
Black Caps lose skipper for final test
Latest - The Black Caps captain Kane Williamson will miss tomorrow's third test against Bangladesh in Christchurch after failing to recover from a left pectoral muscle injury.
His withdrawal means Central Districts batsman Will Young will make his test debut while Tim Southee will leading the side become New Zealand's 30th Test captain.
Coach Gary Stead says while Williamson has improved since the second Test it wasn't worth the risk of playing him at Hagley Oval.
Wicket-keeper BJ Watling has overcome his hamstring injury and will play.
Casey Kopua confirms retirement from all netball
Silver Ferns and Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic defender Casey Kopua has announced she's retiring from all netball at the end of the 2019 domestic netball season.
Kopua, 33, has played for the Magic since 2003 and made her international debut for New Zealand in 2004.
The former Silver Ferns captain, and centurion, has played over 100 matches for New Zealand, winning two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and three silver medals at the world championships.
She initially retired from international play in March 2017 not having played for the Silver Ferns since the 2015 Constellation Cup.
She is aiming to be part of the New Zealand team competing in this year's Netball World Cup in Liverpool in July.
Another All Black off to France
All Black and Highlanders loose foward Luke Whitelock will join French club Pau after the World Cup.
The club has announced that the 28-year-old has signed a three year deal.
Whitelock has played sevens Tests for the All Blacks.
Pau are coached by Simon Mannix and the club has a number of New Zealanders playing including Jamie McIntosh, Peter Saili, Colin Slade and Tom Taylor.
They are currently 11th in the Top 14 championship.
Scholes debut in management lasts a month
Former Manchester United and England football star Paul Scholes has left his role as Oldham Athletic manager after just 31 days.
The 44-year-old took over last month and was in charge of the League Two (4th tier) team for just seven games, winning only one.
Scholes took over with the Latics 14th in the table, nine points off the play-offs, and leaves with them in the same position.
Scholes made 718 appearances for Manchester United, including 499 in the Premier League, and scored 155 goals in all competitions.
He also played 66 times for England.
Daylight between McLaughlin and the rest
New Zealand's Scott McLaughlin has put daylight between his Ford Mustang and the Supercars field at the Australian Grand Prix, grabbing two pole positions for the weekend's meet in Melbourne.
The reigning champion and early series leader charted a new qualifying lap record of 1:53.8280 at Albert Park in the first qualifying session on Thursday.
The 25-year-old was slower, but still first in a second rapid-fire session shortly after, giving him the best chance of extending his run of race wins beyond his pair at the season-opening Adelaide 500.
Mustangs dominated the day's racing, recording the first four positions for race one, and five of the top six positions in race two.
The dominance of the new Ford model is likely to lead to further blowups in pit lane about parity, given the almost complete absence of Commodores near the top of the timing chart.
McLaughlin will be joined by teammate and fellow New Zealander Fabian Coulthard on the front row of the grid for Friday's first race, with Tickford's Cam Waters and 23Red driver Will Davison on the second row.
Shane van Gisbergen was the only Holden in the top five for race one.
Equestrian riders honoured in Hall of Fame
Some of New Zealand's greatest ever riders have been honoured at the inaugural Equestrian Sports New Zealand Hall of Fame.
Sir Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, Blyth Tait and Vaughn Jefferis have been inducted into the Hall of Fame ahead of the Horse of the Year Show in Hastings.
Between the four of them they have won five gold medals World Championships in both team and individual, categories, along with individual and team bronze medals.
They can also lay claim to three individual gold medals at Olympic Games.
Melbourne storm to winning start
Melbourne's stunning round one record under coach Craig Bellamy remains intact after the Storm held off a resurgent Brisbane to open the NRL season with a 22-12 win in Melbourne.
Heading into the match the Storm hadn't lost in the opening round in the 16 years Bellamy had been at the helm, and in the first half that looked likely to stretch to another year with the Broncos disappointing.
But two tries to Brisbane winger Corey Oates within two minutes midway through the second stanza turned the game on its head and it appeared they could snatch a win in their first match under new coach Anthony Seibold.
However not long later Melbourne's Kiwi prop Jesse Bromwich scored his team's fourth try of the night and from there they weren't troubled.
Diamond League consider dumping 5000m and 10,000m
Kenyan athletics chiefs say they'll oppose the decision by world governing body to drop the 5,000m and 10,000m from the lucrative Diamond League circuit.
Athletics Kenya (AK) president Jackson Tuwei said it was "totally unfair" to drop the two events in which African athletes have been doing very well.
Ethiopia's long distance great Haile Gebrselassie said the decision to limit the longest event in the circuit to 3,000m will disproportionately affect Kenya and Ethiopia, two powerhouses of middle and long distance running.
The IAAF said on Monday the circuit will have a trimmer look and fewer meetings as the one-day competitions aim for a more consistent and fast moving format.
Meetings will be reduced from 14 to 12 competitions, while the number of disciplines will be cut from 32 to 24 with 12 each for men and women.