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Author Archive for Andy Bull

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Keeping the Six Nations on free-to-air TV should not be up for debate | Andy Bull

If the unions need an insight into how important mainstream accessibility is, they’d do well to arrange a visit to Lord’sLate last week, back when the Irish still thought it might be a bright idea to irritate the Welsh by insisting they keep the roof o…

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Warren Gatland ready to ride Wales’ emotional wave for grand slam finale | Andy Bull

Welsh prepare to give everything for everyone as they look to sign off the Six Nations against Ireland with another grand slamIn the end it was the money-men who made Richard Burton give up rugby. The film company put a clause in his contract banning h…

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Georgia’s Rugby World Cup dream partly sown by a Llanelli punch-up | Andy Bull

In Moscow in 1957 Llanelli players were in a match marred by ‘hideous violence’. They could not have known their more silky skills would leave a lasting legacyOf course rugby has an old law about what goes on tour. Which is why, 62 years later, we can’…

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Ireland ring changes in bid to recapture their champion formula

• Joe Schmidt replaces six forwards in team to face France• 2018 champions have lost to England and toiled in RomeFive weeks into the Six Nations it seems Ireland are still looking for whatever it was they lost in that opening round defeat to England. …

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England kick Saracens questions into touch in bid to avoid distractions

Scrutiny of Saracens’ finances avoided in favour of Jamie George’s views on how England can put pressure on WalesWith two games of the Six Nations left and Wales two points ahead, England’s players and coaches were happy enough to talk about the off-fi…

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Not out yet: Chris Gayle and MS Dhoni rage against the dying of the light | Andy Bull

They may have differing styles but the veteran West Indies opener and the India wicketkeeper are proving their class and their longevity in recent inningsEven after four hundred-and-some years, cricket still has its mysteries, such as whether the weath…

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George Ford: ‘You do things in a game that you’ve never thought about’

Despite being left on the bench for England’s recent defeat by Wales, the fly-half wants to focus on what makes him uniqueThe day we meet, George Ford is in the papers. It’s not what he did, but what he didn’t do. The previous weekend England lost agai…

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Eddie Jones must do his doomsday prep if England are to win World Cup | Andy Bull

England missed some big guns in Cardiff but in modern rugby a fully fit squad is a dream scenario – Eddie Jones must copy Graham Henry’s 2011 All Blacks ‘What if?’ preparationIn the run-up to the 2011 World Cup, the All Blacks held a series of “What if…

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Eddie Jones finds a back-row trio who are singing from same song sheet | Andy Bull

The breakdown will be as vital as ever in Cardiff and England have uncovered two flankers who are prospering thereIn the beginning, Eddie Jones made it look easy. He had an idea what was wrong with England’s back row, had even explained the problem in …

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Welsh connection will not distract Billy Vunipola from England’s cause | Andy Bull

The No 8 lived in Wales as a child but says he is committed to helping England win their crucial Six Nations encounterPeople say love comes in different shapes and sizes, and in Wales on Saturday it will be 6ft 3in and 20st 7lb. Billy Vunipola says he …

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In an age of endless cricket Sri Lanka just gave us a special moment | Andy Bull

Kusal Perera’s and Oshada Fernando’s last-wicket stand of 78 to beat South Africa last weekend was one of the finest spectacles the game has produced in recent yearsLast Saturday in Christchurch, Martin Guptill thrashed a century for New Zealand in a o…

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England’s Kyle Sinckler promises to keep his cool in white-hot Cardiff

The prop insists he is not the only player who should take the blame for the French furoreKyle Sinckler is adamant he does not have an anger problem. So adamant that he seems a bit angry about it. Take England’s last match against France. In the second…

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Matti Nykänen, the Flying Finn who fell so far, so fast | Andy Bull

The ski-jumper, who won five Olympic medals, had an otherworldly talent but not the sense, or support, he needed to cope with the fame it won himMatti Nykänen used to fly so far, so fast that it felt as if he would never come down. When the Finn broke …

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A decade of decline: the sad malaise in modern French rugby | Andy Bull

Empty seats, low rankings and an ever-present ‘fear of winning’. What has gone wrong across the Channel?On Thursday, the French rugby club Carcassonne announced that they were entering into a commercial partnership with the pornographic website Jacquie…

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West Indies roll back years to make England look like Calypso Cricketers | Andy Bull

The hosts have schooled England in the disciplines of Test cricket and made the tourists look like the slapdash outfit West Indies were once so wrongly caricatured asLong before he won the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, John Agard used to dream he woul…

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Eddie Jones gets a glimpse of England’s nasty side in Dublin victory | Andy Bull

A visiting side full of burly, bruising bullies showed they have the game to beat the best with their win in IrelandSo this is England. Three years in, this felt like the first good look at the side Eddie Jones has been dreaming about, the one he had a…

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England master art of falling apart but batting collapses are a global trend | Andy Bull

England’s capitulation in Barbados echoed other recent calamities from Trent Bridge to Mirpur but, in an age of multi-format careers, they are not the only fallible onesMirpur, 2016, England need 273 to beat Bangladesh. Alastair Cook and his new young …

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Sergio Parisse has lost 100 times but says Italy are not making up numbers

Italy’s captain is adamant that his side deserves to be in the Six Nations despite their long losing runIf it is true you learn more about yourself when you lose, there cannot be much left for Sergio Parisse to discover. Parisse has played in 134 Tests…

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Shadow of the World Cup will give this Six Nations an extra-special edge

With three of the four top-ranked teams in action and Japan 2019 looming, focus and intrigue will be at fever pitchIn January spring still feels far away, never mind the summer beyond it. But the start of the Six Nations, like the first green shoots, i…

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Fearless esports racers blur lines between games and the real thing | Andy Bull

McLaren are investing in sim racing which, they think, could lead to an F1 champion in the next decadeLast Saturday afternoon a 23-year-old Italian called Enzo Bonito won a car race at the Foro Sol in Mexico City, and when he did it, motorsport shifted…