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Author Archive for Paul Rees

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Like a push-start taxi, my career covering rugby has gone from one breakdown to another | Paul Rees

For his final Observer report, our stalwart writer offers his reflections on decades covering a sport rich in drama and spectacle but that now stands at a crossroadsThe car was a cross between a Lada and a Trabant, a cut-and-shut probably. It was parke…

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The Breakdown | England struggled but Eddie Jones’s fire still burns and he should stay on

Head coach’s future is under discussion after a poor Six Nations but the desire clearly remains in the combative AustralianAmbrose Bierce in The Devil’s Dictionary defined opportunity as a favourable time for grasping disappointment. When the panel con…

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RFU vows nothing will be ‘swept under carpet’ for Eddie Jones’ England review

Panel will look at all aspects of ‘miserable’ Six Nations campaignTalk of replacing head coach is ‘premature’ but plans are in placeBill Sweeney has assured England supporters that next month’s review into their underwhelming Six Nations campaign and t…

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Wales erupted to seize the moment in a Six Nations unlike any other | Paul Rees

This manic and beguiling tournament gave little clue about what will happen next, least of all about Eddie Jones’ futureAutumn austerity turned into a spring splurge. It was as if players felt liberated outside their Covid bubble, prisoners of the pand…

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Six Nations tournament of the unexpected ends in joy for Scotland | Paul Rees

France could have snatched the Six Nations title in the final match but only once – and then briefly – did they look likely toParis in the springtime became like a rainy March day in Cardiff. They were perfect conditions for Wales and as Scotland playe…

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The Breakdown | CVC’s Six Nations deal presents risk but raises hope of global calendar

CVC have the power, if they choose to wield it, to lift rugby union’s value and help it overcome its financial strugglesIf something looks too good to be true, it probably is, so the saying goes. As CVC extends its rugby union portfolio to the Six Nati…

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Six Nations: talking points from the weekend’s action | Paul Rees

France denied Wales a grand slam but Pivac has plenty to cheer, while England, Ireland and Scotland have much to ponderThe grand slam was snatched from them at the last after they had forced France to dig to the bottom. The disappointment will linger b…

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Wales will need stability to build on this year’s Six Nations successes | Paul Rees

Boom has turned to bust for Wales in the past, so Wayne Pivac will need time, and his veterans to stagger their retirementsA feature of Wales in the 20 years before the arrival of Warren Gatland as head coach at the end of 2007 was that when they manag…

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Eddie Jones: ‘We need to reset the team. It’s a transition period’

England coach threatens shake-up following defeat to IrelandTactics and personnel will change in buildup to World CupEddie Jones will not be considering his position as head coach after England suffered their third defeat of the Six Nations to finish o…

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Unheralded Wayne Pivac leads Wales to threshold of unlikely grand slam | Paul Rees

Coach blooded a number of players in the autumn series and has mentally refreshed those who delivered for Warren GatlandWhen the Welsh Rugby Union drew up a list of criteria as it started the search for Warren Gatland’s successor as the national side’s…

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Wayne Pivac: Wales are ‘focused and motivated’ to complete grand slam

Wales starting lineup for Paris match will share 987 caps‘We need to bounce back,’ says France coach Fabian GalthiéIn less than four months Wayne Pivac has gone from being slammed to the cusp of securing the grand slam. Victory against France in Paris …

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The Breakdown | Going, going, gone: why rugby union’s memorabilia market is buoyant

A 150-year-old chronicle from rugby union’s foundation season is yet another exciting discovery for auctioneersThe last Saturday this month will mark the 150th anniversary of the first international match played in rugby union. It was between Scotland …

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Six Nations: talking points from the weekend’s action | Paul Rees

Owens and Navidi are key to Wales’ cause, England are missing Underhill, while Gatland has No 9 problemsAll coaches talk about how fine the margins are at the top and as Wales aim at a second grand slam in three years and a fifth in the Six Nations era…

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Wales seizing the moment with Italy unlikely to derail grand slam hopes

Wayne Pivac’s ageing side are throwing their energies at this Six Nations rather than peering into the distance – to great effectWales have reached the stage of the Six Nations where for most of the years since 2007 they have been at their most effecti…

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The Breakdown | France’s return to scene of 2019 rout finds England in need of change

Les Bleus underwent a revolution after their 44-8 Twickenham defeat while Eddie Jones’s side have drifted into complacencyFrance reached their nadir at Twickenham two years ago. A record defeat by England prompted their experienced half-backs Camille L…

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England enlist referee Wayne Barnes to address Six Nations disciplinary woes

Experienced official invited to training after penalty glut‘We have to be cleverer and smarter,’ says coach MitchellWayne Barnes has been laying down the law with the England squad this week after a high penalty count in the opening three rounds contri…

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Free-flowing Wales shaping up to be unlikely Six Nations champions

Three wins from three have Pivac’s unfancied side cruising serenely on while the champions England keep breaking downAt a time unlike any other in living memory, Wales sit at the top of the Six Nations having been written off a month ago. Three wins fr…

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Free-flowing Wales shaping up to be unlikely Six Nations champions

Three wins from three have Pivac’s unfancied side cruising serenely on while the champions England keep breaking downAt a time unlike any other in living memory, Wales sit at the top of the Six Nations having been written off a month ago. Three wins fr…

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Free-flowing Wales shaping up to be unlikely Six Nations champions

Three wins from three have Pivac’s unfancied side cruising serenely on while the champions England keep breaking downAt a time unlike any other in living memory, Wales sit at the top of the Six Nations having been written off a month ago. Three wins fr…

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Jamie George adamant England will not repeat Six Nations slide of 2018

Two defeats stir memories of collapse three years ago but with France next ‘feeling in the camp is we are getting somewhere’Jamie George has no fears England are on a similar slide to 2018, when two defeats in their opening three Six Nations matches sh…