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Author Archive for Paul Rees

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The Breakdown | Summer squeeze asks questions of rugby’s affair with private equity

The sport is stretching out for money but the product might suffer and Warren Gatland’s Lions are among those at riskSummer’s lease has an even shorter date for rugby union followers. The English season creeps into June this weekend and will stay there…

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Northampton have ‘puncher’s chance’ of upset against Exeter, says Tom Wood

• Northampton recovered from relegation battle to finish fourth• Play-off semi-final rivals Exeter finished top of the PremiershipWhen Northampton lost at home to Newcastle at the beginning of December, they slumped to ninth in the Premiership, three p…

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The Breakdown | Rejuvenated Northampton face mission improbable in Premiership play-offs

The Premiership’s top two sides are the clubs with the lowest player turnover and show how continuity breeds consistencyDavid Young was reflecting on Wasps’ fitful season after their victory against Harlequins last Saturday. It was his side’s fifth vic…

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Saracens set the template for what a top-notch rugby club should be | Paul Rees

With community a core value, it is about more than rugby for the kings of Europe and now Premiership play-off contendersWhen Saracens played their first European Cup final, against Toulon in 2014, it was a meeting of two clubs who had approached the ve…

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The Breakdown | Pat Lam: ‘Being a Bristol Bear is about more than rugby – it’s a vision’

The former Samoa, Newcastle and Northampton No 8 has worked wonders with the Premiership newcomers who have aimed far higher than mere survival this seasonPat Lam is on the shortlist for the Premiership season’s director of rugby award after steering B…

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The Breakdown | Pat Lam: ‘Being a Bristol Bear is about more than rugby – it’s a vision’

The former Samoa, Newcastle and Northampton No 8 has worked wonders with the Premiership newcomers who have aimed far higher than mere survival this seasonPat Lam is on the shortlist for the Premiership season’s director of rugby award after steering B…

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Dean Ryan returns to coaching role after agreeing long-term deal with Dragons

• Ryan to take position as director of rugby with seat on the board• New coach hoping to revive fortunes of the WRU-owned clubDean Ryan will be back in a tracksuit in July when he takes charge of the Dragons in Gwent having spent the past three years w…

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Tadhg Furlong: ‘Mako’s a good craic but he’s an horrendous snorer’

Leinster’s Furlong and Saracens’ Mako Vunipola were roommates on the 2017 Lions tour and the props are full of praise for each other before what they expect will be a breathless Champions Cup finalThey were teammates and roommates on the Lions tour to …

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The Breakdown | Danny Cipriani can show the England cap would fit in Saracens play-off

After being recognised by his fellow pros, the fly-half has a last chance to convince Eddie Jones he should go to World CupDanny Cipriani may not have been recognised by England this season but he has by his peers. The Gloucester fly-half was one of th…

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Wigglesworth and Saracens plot to arm-wrestle Leinster off their perch

Veteran scrum-half believes little details and some Alex Goode magic can be decisive against Leinster in Champions Cup finalCup competitions rarely deliver a final that involves the two strongest teams. Luck of the draw is a factor along with knockout …

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Newcastle Falcons relegated as Gloucester book a play-off place

• Gloucester 28-19 Newcastle• Danny Cipriani scores to help condemn Newcastle to dropFrom the top four to the trap door. One year after making the play-offs for the first time, Newcastle were relegated to the Championship. They overcame their customary…

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The Breakdown | Leicester need an overhaul – is Michael Cheika the man for the job?

Whatever the outcome of the Folau hearing, Michael Cheika is leaving Australia in six months, and the Tigers are in need of revitalisationIsrael Folau’s future in rugby union will be determined by a tribunal sitting in Sydney this weekend. The three-st…

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Warren Gatland tells Shaun Edwards to decide Wales future soon

• Gatland: ‘I’m sick of reading about it every day’• Uncapped Rhys Carre in Wales pre-World Cup squadWarren Gatland has told his long-time lieutenant Shaun Edwards to make up his mind about whom he will be working for after the World Cup before the iss…

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Only Worcester survival can complete ‘dream of a season’ for Ted Hill

The 20-year-old flanker has gone from unknown to England player this season but stays focused on the fight against relegationTed Hill will be living the dream if Worcester exorcise the spectre of relegation on Sunday in the M5 derby against Gloucester….

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Welsh rugby travelling on parallel roads as Judgment Day approaches | Paul Rees

A third grand slam in 11 years for the national team highlights the contrasting fortunes of the four regions in the Pro14Wales are enjoying their most successful period in the professional era, last month winning a third grand slam in 11 years to lift …

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The Breakdown | London Irish’s top-flight return highlights gulf between rugby’s rich and poor

As the Exiles sealed their Premiership return, Richmond offer a reminder that there must be more to the sport than money“Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelin…

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Alun Wyn Jones close to Ospreys new deal and ‘50-50’ for Cardiff Blues clash

• Wyn Jones has been injured since Wales won Grand Slam• George North could also return against CardiffThe Ospreys hope Alun Wyn Jones will return for Saturday’s derby against Cardiff Blues at the Principality Stadium and that the lock, who has not pla…

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Alun Wyn Jones close to Ospreys new deal and ‘50-50’ for Cardiff Blues clash

• Wyn Jones has been injured since Wales won Grand Slam• George North could also return against CardiffThe Ospreys hope Alun Wyn Jones will return for Saturday’s derby against Cardiff Blues at the Principality Stadium and that the lock, who has not pla…

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Saracens united after ‘motivated’ Billy Vunipola powers way into final | Paul Rees

The No 8’s outstanding display in the 32-16 win against Munster helped Saracens stride into the European Champions Cup finalThe closest Munster got to Saracens was when one of their supporters clad in the province’s red jersey came within a few metres …

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Gray urges Toulouse to usurp Leinster in battle of Champions Cup royalty

Scottish lock is ready for the Champions Cup semi-final between the competition’s only four-times winnersIn a battle between the two most successful sides in Champions Cup history Toulouse must not be too loose. French rugby’s aristocrats have relocate…