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Author Archive for Paul Rees

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Rhys Priestland pulls out of Wales’ Six Nations squad

• Fly-half ruled out for bulk of Six Nations with hamstring injury• Wales to face Scotland in autumn internationals for first timeRhys Priestland is expected to miss the majority of Wales’s Six Nations campaign owing to a hamstring injury. The fly-half…

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Scarlets turn back clock 13 years to Stephen Jones’ thrilling Paris dash | Paul Rees

Champions Cup victory over Bath brings back memories of Wales’ 2005 Grand Slam, plus Toulon president in hot waterWatching the velvet Scarlets reducing Bath to despair was to be transported back 13 years when Wales won the Grand Slam after ripping up t…

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Ospreys flying in Europe but wary of Saracens’ revitalised big guns

• Ospreys hope Dan Biggar will be inspired by locking horns with Owen Farrell • ‘It’s a bit David against Goliath,’ says Ospreys coach, Steve TandyFew gave Ospreys a chance of finishing above the bottom of their group, never mind making it through to t…

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Scarlets’ plan to hit Bath with power dented by Leigh Halfpenny injury

• Full-back fails late fitness test before key European Champions Cup tie• Sam Underhill returns for Bath in sole change to impress Eddie JonesThe Scarlets are aiming to invoke the spirit of 2002 at Bath on Friday night in their quest to reach the knoc…

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Eddie Jones, Dylan Hartley and the imperceptible art of captaincy | The Breakdown

The England coach’s choice of captain remains controversial but, as Sam Warburton and Gareth Edwards have proved, great leadership is about much more than what happens on the pitchA captain leads but is not always a leading player. Eddie Jones attracte…

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Eddie Jones shows faith in old guard as England regulars toil for their clubs | Paul Rees

The England coach will have the World Cup in mind as he chases a third straight Six Nations title and his selections of Dylan Hartley and James Haskell reflect his belief in leadership and experienceBefore Eddie Jones’s England players returned to thei…

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Guy Novès sacking symptomatic of French conflict going back 23 years | Paul Rees

France coach tried to restore Les Blues to the way they were before flamboyance was squashed under dumbbells, medicine balls and outside influencesOne of rugby union’s more unusual books goes some way to explaining recent events in France. Guy Novès la…

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Ben Morgan: ‘I have not thought about England, I’m focusing on Gloucester’

Kingsholm No8 is concentrating on his improving club side rather than any England prospects after his return from another bout of injuryBen Morgan has not played for England since the defeat by Australia knocked the hosts out of the 2015 World Cup and,…

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Wales suffer Six Nations blow with George North set to miss opener

• Northampton wing out for a month with knee injury• North looks likely to miss Scotland game on 3 FebruaryWales’ plans for the Six Nations have suffered a setback with George North doubtful to be fit for the start of the tournament.North has not playe…

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Eddie Jones turns to 6ft 3in, 18st Cokanasiga to bolster injury-hit England

• London Irish’s Joe Cokanasiga drafted in after injury to Jack Nowell• Five England players withdraw from two-day Six Nations training campThe London Irish wing Joe Cokanasiga joined England’s training squad in Brighton on Monday with Exeter’s Jack No…

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The alternative rugby rule book: welcome to the Breakdown laws

New Year’s Day will see the introduction of a slimline version of the laws – here is a preview of what rugby can expect after a two-year process in which no effort has been spared to make the game simpler for fansWorld Rugby is bringing out a simplifie…

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Saracens’ Mark McCall hungry to escape slump at expense of Leicester

Director of rugby wants seven-match losing streak ended in Premiership fixture against another top club suffering a slump in formSaracens were awarded the freedom of the borough of Barnet last week but there will be no civic reception for them in Leice…

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Wales to name Warren Gatland’s successor as coach a year in advance

• WRU to make final decision in the summer of 2018• Rennie, Pivac and Boyd on a three-man shortlistWales will announce Warren Gatland’s successor in the summer – more than a year before the new head coach takes up the position.The Welsh Rugby Union has…

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Elliot Daly and Nathan Hughes injury blows for Six Nations campaign

• Injured Wasps pair both ruled out for at least half of the tournament• Daly and Hughes limped off with injuries against La Rochelle on SundayThe England and Lions three-quarter Elliot Daly will miss the Six Nations Championship after sustaining an an…

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Injury crises every weekend suggest rugby has reached breaking point | Paul Rees

Turning union into a 13-a-side game or reducing the number of substitutes among proposals to counteract the brutal intensity and cluttered modern gameProfessional rugby is reaching breaking point. And break is the word with each weekend bringing more i…

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No return date for Bath’s Sam Underhill after concussion in England game

• Bath’s Todd Blackadder says flanker is still showing symptoms• Anthony Watson impresses at full-back with Eddie Jones watchingBath are not setting a return date for their England flanker Sam Underhill, who has not played since sustaining a second con…

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Mark McCall calls on Saracens band of brothers to stand firm in tough times

Director of rugby says Saracens ‘want a group that has balls and I think we have it’ before character-testing Champions Cup rematch with Clermont AuvergneMark McCall said after the humbling at home by Clermont Auvergne on Monday that Saracens are a clu…

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George Ford warns rugby union against football-style sacking culture

The Leicester fly-half says clubs must not panic during rough patches as Leicester prepare for Sunday’s crucial Champions Cup rematch with MunsterThe east Midlands has again felt an icy December blast from Europe. A year after the end of Richard Cocker…

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European Champions Cup: pool-by-pool guide to the weekend games

• Nathan Hughes back for Wasps, Northampton make five changes • Jack Nowell returns at Exeter, Manu Tuilagi fit for Leicester v MunsterThe England No8 Nathan Hughes returns from injury on Sunday to make his first start for Wasps since October in a matc…

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Could Stuart Lancaster be the man to get Northampton on the up again? | The Breakdown

Saints must avoid appointing a coach on the rebound – as happens on football’s managerial carousel – and focus on someone who can stimulate a club in declineFlying high in September, Jim Mallinder was shot down in December. Northampton led the Premiers…