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Author Archive for Michael Aylwin

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The sorry tale of Saracens still leaves questions hanging in the air

The Premiership report may have been leaked but we are in the dark about the men in blackThere is nothing like a salary-cap crisis for holding the mirror up to each and every one of us. In a not-dissimilar effect to that of Brexit, our opinions on the …

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Dyson report deal-by-deal: how Saracens breached the salary cap

We look at how the primary overspends were made following the publication of the keenly awaited reportThe longed-for report into Saracens’ salary-cap misdemeanours is out. Premier Rugby Limited’s release has redacted all mention of any individuals but …

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Defiant Eddie Jones still believes England can be world’s best team | Michael Aylwin

England head coach set to rebuild with new faces after painful World Cup final defeat and recent Saracens scandalHow else to reintroduce himself to his public? The last time we saw Eddie Jones he was ruing defeat in a World Cup final, denied, at the la…

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Matt Kvesic double helps Exeter qualify for quarter-finals with Glasgow draw

• Glasgow 31-31 Exeter• Stuart Hogg hits crossbar with last-minute penaltyA home quarter-final beckons for Exeter. A highly entertaining draw at Scotstoun ended in dramatic fashion, as Stuart Hogg took aim at the posts from 60 metres out. Had he been s…

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Munster pile more agony on Saracens thanks to Peter O’Mahony’s try

• Munster 10-3 Saracens• Saracens earn a vital bonus pointThe champions are not quite out, but that age-old chestnut about attentions turning to domestic matters might long ago have been applied to Saracens this season. They take a bonus point in defea…

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Simmonds brothers lead Exeter to rampant victory at La Rochelle

• La Rochelle 12-31 Exeter• Joe Simmonds kicks flawlessly, Sam gets bonus-point tryJust as they begin to falter on the domestic front, Exeter finally find some form in Europe. Typical. It looks as if Saracens are going to adopt a philosophical position…

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Saracens plead their innocence but rugby union’s whole structure is on trial | Michael Aylwin

The punishment for Nigel Wray’s team has caught many by surprise but it has exposed problems the game facesPioneering darlings of English rugby or hateful cheats? The verdict on Saracens continues to swing to impressively wild extremes, even by the sta…

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Saracens docked 35 points and handed £5m fine for salary cap breach

Premiership Rugby hands champions maximum punishmentInvestigation found Saracens had breached salary capThe Premiership champions, Saracens, have been handed a 35-point deduction and fined £5m after they were found to have breached salary cap regulatio…

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Rugby World Cup 2019: five things to look out for in the knockout stage

Tighter matches and record TV viewing figures will be evident as the World Cup jamboree approaches its crunch stageUnsightly thrashings by the vastly superior of the hopelessly under-resourced remain a thing at World Cups. The days of the three-digit h…

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Rugby World Cup 2019: five things to look out for in the knockout stage

Tighter matches and record TV viewing figures will be evident as the World Cup jamboree approaches its crunch stageUnsightly thrashings by the vastly superior of the hopelessly under-resourced remain a thing at World Cups. The days of the three-digit h…

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Rugby World Cup power rankings: breaking down all 20 teams in Japan

England, Ireland and Wales are among the throng pushing to challenge New Zealand as the World Cup enters crunch timeNormal service has been resumed. After the surreal scenes of the All Blacks not being No 1 (Wales were, then Ireland!) they enter the qu…

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Rugby World Cup: how the quarter-finalists shape up | Michael Aylwin

Ireland and Australia can upset the odds but Japan have probably gone as far as they canSaturday 8.15am, Oita, ITV1 Continue reading…

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Rugby World Cup pool permutations: who needs what in the last week?

Pool A has a winner-takes all finale, Pool B was finished before it started, Pool D can only have a late twist if Fiji surprise Wales and who actually wants to finish top of Pool C?Story so far Who would have thought it? The Pool of Death. Actually, th…

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Rugby World Cup pool permutations: who needs what in the last week?

Pool A has a winner-takes all finale, Pool B was finished before it started, Pool D can only have a late twist if Fiji surprise Wales and who actually wants to finish top of Pool C?Story so far Who would have thought it? The Pool of Death. Actually, th…

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Webb Ellis didn’t even invent rugby, so why is his name on the World Cup? | Michael Aylwin

Rugby’s myth-makers have overlooked one catch in the game’s history. It’s time for a more appropriate name on the trophyEvery four years, with more than 100 million people watching, a big bloke hoists a golden trophy called the Webb Ellis Cup. Casual v…

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Rugby World Cup 2019: Scotland team guide

Without a Plan B Scotland loiter on the fringes of being World Cup contenders but on their day can be world beaters Continue reading…

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Premiership rugby 2018-19: club-by-club season verdict | Michael Aylwin

Fall of Newcastle reflects brutality of top flight while excellence of Saracens and Exeter continues to set the gold standardThey made Europe with the last kick of what has been an otherwise curious season, but they are used to those at the Rec. Rumour…

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Owen Farrell thumb injury deals blow to England’s Six Nations preparations

• England co-captain requires surgery on tendon • ‘He should be back in seven to 10 days,’ says McCallEngland’s preparations for the Six Nations have been dealt a grievous blow by a thumb injury to Owen Farrell. The England captain was announced on Fri…

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Leinster strengthen Champions Cup credentials with 27-point win over Bath

• Leinster 42-15 Bath• Jack Conan the first of six different try scorers for LeinsterThe two greatest teams of European rugby, with four titles apiece, go head to head at the top of Pool 1. Leinster remain the favourites, despite trailing Toulouse by t…

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Eddie Jones: ‘In the second half we finally got stuck in – that’s pleasing’

• England recover from poor first half to defeat Japan• Jones says he will miss departing RFU chief executiveEddie Jones has come out strongly in support of the RFU’s departing chief executive, placing his weight squarely behind Steve Brown, whose depa…