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Author Archive for Robert Kitson

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Brad Shields on the bench for England Test match against South Africa

• Uncapped Kiwi fast-tracked after handful of training sessions• Mike Brown named on wing as Jones makes surprise callsEngland have fast-tracked the New Zealand-reared Brad Shields straight into their matchday squad for the first Test against South Afr…

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England head to South Africa hoping for no repeat of past nightmares | Robert Kitson

Eddie Jones is desperate for a good tour to boost the morale of a stuttering side and knows his team must improve on their Six Nations form to come away victoriousIt is exactly 20 years this week since England kicked off their most embarrassing tour of…

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Mark McCall hails England contingent after Saracens lift title | Robert Kitson

The director of rugby saw key players peak at the right time to overcome Exeter Chiefs and praised Mako Vunipola for a brilliant displaySaracens are accustomed to consistent success but, even by their high standards, their fourth Premiership title in s…

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Exeter should not be underestimated despite big names of Saracens

Chiefs are the reigning champions and finished top of this season’s table but their disparate squad remains relatively unheraldedScanning the Exeter team list on grand final day is to be reminded of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid being pursued on h…

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Rapid staff turnover suggests unrest around Eddie Jones’ England | Robert Kitson

Paul Gustard’s departure little more than a year before the World Cup illustrates that all is not well at TwickenhamAt first glance the story sounds entirely straightforward: England defence coach takes new job at Harlequins. Paul Gustard is perfectly …

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Exeter and Saracens show pedigree to promise spectacular grand finale

The Premiership’s two top clubs have hit peak form at the perfect time for their Twickenham showdown after overwhelming winsMajor finals featuring the competition’s two best teams peaking at precisely the right moment are surprisingly few in number. No…

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Exeter’s Ali Hepher: underestimate British coaches at your peril

• Coach prepares for Newcastle clash in Premiership semi-final• ‘I’m sure McCall, Young and Richards would be the same’Within English club rugby there is increasingly little patience for the theory that the world’s most successful coaches all hail from…

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Newcastle move restores reputations of Dean Richards and the Falcons | Robert Kitson

Coach takes his side to Exeter Chiefs on Saturday afternoon for one of their biggest games since they last won the Premiership title 20 years agoIt is 20 years almost to the day since Newcastle last won English rugby’s domestic league title. Coincident…

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Newcastle’s Vereniki Goneva wins Premiership player of season award

• Winger helped Newcastle reach title play-offs• Newcastle’s Dean Richards named best director of rugbyNewcastle Falcons’ achievement in reaching this season’s title play-offs has been rewarded with two major accolades at the Aviva Premiership Awards. …

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Club rugby’s inability to sell itself calls for planning and innovation | Robert Kitson

Staging the Champions Cup final in Bilbao showed the benefit of taking a risk or two instead of clinging to the tried and testedThe word final is a relative term in rugby. Leinster’s European Champions Cup victory in Bilbao should logically have repres…

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Danny Cipriani in talks for summer move from Wasps to Gloucester

• Cipriani leaving Wasps with Gloucester in pole position• Foreign move would rule him out of England contentionGloucester hope to win the race to sign Danny Cipriani when the fly?half leaves Wasps this summer. The 30-year-old playmaker, having been re…

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Stuart Lancaster: ‘I would never not want England to do well’

Former England coach will seek redemption for his international disappointments when Leinster take on Racing 92 in Saturday’s Champions Cup final in BilbaoFor more than 12 centuries pilgrims have travelled to northern Spain in search of spiritual fulfi…

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Brad Shields not alone for Eddie Jones as an England forward newcomer | Robert Kitson

It will be hard for Brad Shields to go straight from Super Rugby into the England side in South Africa but Ben Earl, Jack Willis and Jonny Hill lack experience in this company tooEngland’s tour squad for South Africa reads like one of those wedding day…

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Eddie Jones needs fresh minds as well as fresh legs for England’s tour

The head coach faces a dilemma over how many to rest and how many to blood with a revived South Africa lying in waitWhen Eddie Jones was asked the other day about England’s disappointing Six Nations campaign he admitted that, in retrospect, he might ha…

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Stuart Lancaster pledges future to Leinster amid Harlequins speculation

• Former England head coach ‘100% committed’ to Irish province• ‘I wouldn’t even contemplate doing it. For me it’s all about Leinster‘Stuart Lancaster is not interested in the vacant job at Harlequins and has ruled out a return to the Aviva Premiership…

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Saracens turn focus on recapturing Premiership title from Exeter | Robert Kitson

This year there will be no distractions as the European champions attempt to regain the domestic crown from last season’s surprise packageThis time last year Wasps and Munster had just finished ahead of the rest of the Premiership and Pro 12 respe…

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Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding remain in rugby wilderness after acquittals

Despite being cleared of rape the pair both lost Ulster contracts and clubs are wary of a backlash in hiring themOn Monday it will be 40 days and nights since Paddy Jackson’s solicitor was asked what the future held for his client and his fellow Ulster…

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Premiership team of the season: from Henry Trinder to Donncha O’Callaghan | Robert Kitson

As the Premiership regular season draws to a close, Wasps, Worcester and Exeter provide three players apieceTwenty-one try assists in 19 games, as well as four tries, reflect the South African’s influence on Wasps’ attacking game. The Springboks are re…

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Ben Foden will leave Northampton and look to start a ‘new chapter’ abroad

England international will make 250th appearance on SaturdayFoden understood to be in Major League Rugby talksThe former England full-back Ben Foden is to bring down the curtain on his decade-long association with Northampton to commence a “new chapter…

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Sale deny interest in signing trial pair Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

• ‘No substance to rumours in relation to signing’ the two• Irish internationals sacked by Ulster after acquittal for rapeSale’s owners have dismissed talk of the club signing Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, the two Irish international players sacked …