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Author Archive for Paul Rees

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Manu Tuilagi: ‘I always expect to be good and that is the pressure’

The Leicester centre is feeling the benefit of sessions with a sports psychologist and expects his team’s fortunes to improve quickly despite a torrid start to the Premiership seasonManu Tuilagi is reflecting on a run of injuries that have plagued his …

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Leicester hope Manu Tuilagi will put passion for club before cash

• Leicester fear centre could be lured away next summer • ‘I think his heart is in a Tigers’ shirt,’ says Geordan MurphyGeordan Murphy is hoping Manu Tuilagi’s passion for Leicester will keep the England centre at Welford Road next season.The 27-year …

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Premiership Rugby aiming to finalise £230m CVC deal by Christmas

• Agreement reached in principle with private equity firm• Each club will receive £18m windfall if deal goes throughPremiership Rugby hopes to conclude a £230m agreement with a private equity firm before Christmas after a board meeting on Tuesday faile…

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Cardiff’s Nick Williams: ‘Going on this long must be to do with my genes’

In an age of early retirements the 35-year-old Blues No 8 has already outlasted most modern players, and he isn’t finished yetNick Williams turned 35 last Sunday. As he drew breath to extinguish the candles on his cake, the Cardiff Blues No 8 marvelled…

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Neath survive winding-up petition but doubts persist over club’s future

• Judge says Wales’ oldest rugby club not liable for £31,000 sum• Supporters’ club frustrated, with investors waiting in wingsNeath survived a winding-up petition at a court hearing in Cardiff on Thursday but the future of Wales’ oldest club remains un…

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The Breakdown | Neath’s sad decline laid bare as they face judgment day in court | Paul Rees

In dire financial trouble off the pitch, short of players and bottom of the Welsh Premiership, the famous club faces a winding-up order in court on ThursdayBack in the day spectators used to clamber up the floodlight pylons at the Gnoll to get a better…

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Pools of intrigue: how the Rugby World Cup groups stack up | Paul Rees

Now that the autumn internationals have been completed we take a look at the prospects for the opening stage in JapanIreland, Scotland, Japan, Russia, Samoa Continue reading…

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Wales need strong attack to win World Cup, says defence coach Shaun Edwards

• Edwards believes formidable defence alone will not be enough• ‘Last World Cup was attacking, the next will be even more so’Shaun Edwards believes Wales’s formidable defence alone will not be enough to win next year’s World Cup but that the squad are …

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Even Leicester are not free from the threat of relegation this winter | Paul Rees

Saracens and Exeter are on their own at the top of the Premiership but at the bottom things are hotting upPremiership clubs are swelled this weekend by the return of their international players, most of whom are thrust straight back into action in a se…

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The Breakdown | Eddie Jones’ tactical rethink plants Owen Farrell at heart of power game

Co-captain is blossoming at fly-half and embodies an England side that will go into Six Nations with a taste for winning uglyGraham Henry used to complain when he was in charge of Wales that rugby there was like a shower without a temperature control: …

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CVC cash may put Premiership clubs on trail of Racing 92 target Kieran Read

• Reports in France say English clubs want New Zealand captain• Paris club were confident of securing Read after World CupRacing 92’s bid to sign the New Zealand captain Kieran Read after next year’s World Cup on a £1m-a-year contract could be gazumped…

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Premiership clubs likely to agree £200m deal to sell stake to former F1 owners CVC

• CVC would run commercial activities but not league itself• Takeover bid was turned down by clubs in SeptemberPremiership club owners are likely to vote for a proposal to give a minority stake to private equity firm CVC in return for more than £200m, …

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Wales feeling the pressure of closing gap on born-again Springboks | Paul Rees

Gatland’s side are keen to continue their fine run against reborn South Africa, who they have already beaten three times in a rowA week after Rassie Erasmus’s final match in charge of Munster last year, South Africa played Ireland in Dublin and suffere…

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Liam Williams in at full-back for Wales against South Africa

• Leigh Halfpenny still recovering from concussion• Williams moves from wing while George North returnsIt is a measure of the faith Warren Gatland has in his revitalised Wales that they will go into an autumn international against a tier-one nation wit…

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The Breakdown | Steve Hansen was right, Ireland really are the world’s best rugby union team

Some thought Hansen was playing pre-World Cup mind games but take a step back and there is no other reasonable conclusionSteve Hansen at his most animated is deadpan, so when he called Ireland the best team in the world after they had beaten New Zealan…

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South Africa stick with their back-up scrum-halves as De Klerk stays at Sale

• Siya Kolisi escapes with warning after Murrayfield incident• ‘Wales are almost the silent assassin at this stage,’ says ErasmusFaf de Klerk has played a significant role in South Africa’s revival this year, but the scrum-half will again be playing fo…

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Rankings, redemption and running: how England are shaping up for World Cup

Eddie Jones still has plenty of jobs to do if his side are to be competitive at the tournament in Japan next yearEddie Jones’s aim when he took over was to get England to the top of the world rankings before the start of the World Cup. Reaching the top…

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England must turn on style against Japan to slip into World Cup fast lane | Paul Rees

Spirit and solidity have driven England’s upturn in results but Eddie Jones will expect ruthlessness against his former sideEngland’s head coach called on his players this month to make their own movie rather than sit and watch one. If they take him up…

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Wales v Tonga: Undercooked tourists wary despite Gatland’s changes

• Wales set to go four matches unbeaten in autumn campaign• ‘We are not getting ahead of ourselves,’ Warren Gatland saysFor all World Rugby’s efforts to give emerging nations greater exposure to the leading teams in between World Cups, Tonga’s match wi…

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The Breakdown | It was tough on Sam Underhill, but England try was rightly disallowed

Courtney Lawes took a gamble and lost when he charged down TJ Perenara’s kick against the All Blacks. The referee was correctSam Underhill may be one of England’s youngest, least experienced players but he reacted to one of the biggest disappointments …