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Author Archive for Paul Rees

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Premiership must shoulder some blame for England slump under Eddie Jones

Players are caught between the demands of the regular club season and the expectations of a nationWhen Sir Clive Woodward resigned as England’s head coach in September 2004, less than a year after leading the country to World Cup success, he said in an…

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Danny Cipriani picks fitting moment to announce return to England fold | Paul Rees

The fly-half took a leaf out of Barry John’s book to unleash a perfect kick to the corner for Jonny May to score and seal a third-Test victory over South Africa at NewlandsThe venue for Danny Cipriani’s first Test start for a decade was fitting. Newlan…

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Schmidt defends Ireland’s aerial tactics with Australia series still up in the air

• Head coach says approach to counter Israel Folau is legal• Australia’s Michael Cheika: ‘Everything on the line’ in final TestAustralia expect the series against Ireland, which is locked at 1-1 going into the final Test at a sell-out Allianz Stadium i…

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Gregor Townsend seeks Scotland atonement against Argentina

• Coach makes eight changes from loss to USA for final tour game• Test is Daniel Hourcade’s last in charge of struggling PumasScotland’s players received a rocket after failing to achieve lift-off in Houston last weekend and their head coach, Gregor To…

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Owen Farrell’s captaincy style leaves his England teammates rudderless | Paul Rees

England captain’s strident approach to referee Roman Poite contrasted sharply with cool demeanour of South Africa counterpart Siya KolisiLeadership is one of sport’s intangibles. Eddie Jones caused a stir when he made Dylan Hartley his first captain, g…

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Warren Gatland has World Cup in mind as Wales face struggling Argentina

• Coach happy to look at bigger picture• Argentina under pressure to win second TestWarren Gatland is approaching the final year of his contract with Wales but is not slipping gently into his goodbye. The longest-serving head coach of a tier-one nation…

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Johnny Sexton returns to Ireland’s starting side against Australia

• Joe Schmidt has made eight changes after last week’s loss• ‘Sexton is a maestro,’ says Wallabies coach, Michael CheikaThe selection of Johnny Sexton by the British & Irish Lions for the second Test against New Zealand last year marked a turn…

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Dan Carter: ‘Seeing a psychologist allowed me to confront my demons’

The World Cup winner discusses what makes a great player, rugby’s mental burdens and switching sports for Soccer AidDan Carter may be one of the leading rugby players of any era, a World Cup winner and the record points scorer in Test rugby, but he adm…

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Change of pace leaves England at a loss and clubs playing catch-up | Paul Rees

South Africa defeat exposes what Eddie Jones already knows: that rugby is faster and more fluid at international levelWhen the Premiership clubs raise the issue of Eddie Jones’s national squad training sessions this summer, bristling at a high attritio…

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Wales recall Rhys Patchell for first Test against Argentina

• Fly-half lost confidence after being targeted by Eddie Jones • ‘We told him to get back on horse quickly,’ Warren Gatland saidRhys Patchell makes his first start for Wales since his uncomfortable evening at Twickenham in February when the swagger he …

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Australia’s Michael Cheika wary of ‘best Ireland team in history’ before first Test

• ‘They believe they are coming here to win 3-0,’ says head coach• Cheika surprised Carbery picked over Sexton for Brisbane gameIreland caused shockwaves in 2011 by defeating Australia at the World Cup. Since triumphing in Sydney in 1979 they had won o…

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Mako Vunipola: ‘What has pleased me most is playing so many games‘

After a gruelling year the Saracens prop should be resting but instead is off to South Africa for England’s three-Test seriesA year ago this weekend Mako Vunipola was on the Lions’ bench for the opening match of their New Zealand tour and was pressed i…

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Mark McCafferty: ‘The overall environment is one of careful confidence’

Though Exeter were the only Premiership club to post a profit in the last financial year the competition’s chief executive says the club game’s long-term financial future is rosyLast weekend Saracens won the Premiership for the third time in four seaso…

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Summer tours offer chance to blow away mists over European rugby | Paul Rees

Southern hemisphere sides dominated the 2015 World Cup in England but since then three out of the four have struggledMaro Itoje was in reflective mood as he sprawled himself in a chair that struggled to contain his 6ft 6in frame at England’s Bagshot ba…

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Tom Prydie: ‘I have fought for a long time to get back into the Wales side’

Eight years after becoming the youngest player to have been capped by his country, the wing is ready to win his sixth cap against South AfricaEven at the start of the year, Tom Prydie’s international career look to have dissolved into a quiz question. …

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England’s Eddie Jones looks to get on front foot against Barbarians

After the disappointment of three successive defeats in the Six Nations this end-of-season fixture will not be taken lightlyThe end-of-season encounter with the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday will be no frolic for Eddie Jones. The England head coac…

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Leinster target Pro14 final win over Scarlets for Irish triple crown of titles

Leinster want victory on home territory to add to their European Champions Cup and Ireland’s Six Nations grand slamTwo weeks after winning the European Champions Cup, Leinster have the opportunity to complete a green sweep. Victory over the Scarlets in…

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Finals between leading four teams bring curtain down on bruising season | The Breakdown

The irresistible force meets the immovable object when Exeter play Saracens while Leinster are favourites against ScarletsThe season, domestically at least, ends this weekend. As it came in, so it goes out with players queuing for surgery. Artificial p…

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England’s Denny Solomona eager to move on from bans and booze

Sale wing who has made headlines for the wrong reasons during his time in union hopes to make the right impression in South AfricaDenny Solomona’s rugby union career is only 18 months old but it has, to put it mildly, been eventful. He has scored 21 tr…

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Danny Cipriani is unlikely to change, and why should he? | The Breakdown

England need the difference the soon-to-be Gloucester fly-half can provide, with the national side’s attack needing a rebootGloucester is less a king’s home for Danny Cipriani and more a pretender’s bolthole. The fly-half is being released by Wasps at …