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Author Archive for Robert Kitson

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England’s Six Nations squad has tools to be hard, direct and ruthless

Eddie Jones’s 35-man squad looks potentially better equipped to break the gainline than at any previous stage of his tenureGiven the option of beating Ireland in a fortnight’s time or winning the Rugby World Cup there is absolutely no doubt which Eddie…

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England’s Six Nations squad has tools to be hard, direct and ruthless

Eddie Jones’s 35-man squad looks potentially better equipped to break the gainline than at any previous stage of his tenureGiven the option of beating Ireland in a fortnight’s time or winning the Rugby World Cup there is absolutely no doubt which Eddie…

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Manu Tuilagi ready to make ‘explosive’ England comeback, says George Ford

• Injury-plagued Tuilagi last started a Six Nations match in 2013• ‘I have never seen anyone as explosive as Manu’England’s Six Nations rivals have been warned to brace themselves for a resurgent Manu Tuilagi when the tournament kicks off in just over …

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Can Scotland translate Champions Cup progress into a Six Nations surge? | Robert Kitson

Glasgow and Edinburgh can both reach the European quarter-finals, which should give the national side grounds for optimismThere can be no question about the best rugby story of 2019 so far. For Scotland to have the chance of both its professional teams…

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Johan Ackermann: player fatigue could harm England’s Six Nations prospects

• ‘Jones must flinch every time the English teams play in Europe’• Johnny Sexton wins annual Rugby Union Writers’ Club awardEddie Jones has been warned he faces a struggle to keep his England squad fresh given the demands placed on some players by the …

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Resurgent Toulouse leading the French rugby renaissance | Robert Kitson

A group of young talents offer the potential for France to re-establish their elite status in time for this year’s World CupTo say French rugby is overdue a renaissance is easier than predicting precisely when it will occur. Last time out in November t…

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Rugby has to decide now what is an acceptable tackle if it is to thrive | Robert Kitson

For all the philosophical rights and wrongs, those in charge must reach a definitive, far-sighted consensus – just tinkering with tackles will not do if rugby is to be made saferSay what you like about the Rugby Football Union but it leads the world wh…

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England rugby union officials call for stricter sanctions for high tackles

• World Rugby urged to introduce stricter high tackles sanctions • Statistics reveal small drop in the number of concussionsEnglish rugby’s leading players and administrators are urging World Rugby to introduce stricter sanctions for high tackles follo…

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Taking rugby into Star Trek territory needs core base to back the mission | Robert Kitson

Tarting up the game with a rubbish makeover would be a disaster – only an NFL-style system that works for the many not the few would be acceptableIt did not take long. Barely has the lucrative deal with CVC Capital Partners to inject new capital into E…

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Champions Cup could be downsized to protect player welfare

• Organisers seeking commitment to tournament beyond 2022• Television and sponsorship deals expire in three years’ timeCrucial talks on the future of European club rugby are about to commence with Heineken Champions Cup organisers seeking assurances th…

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Paul Gustard: ‘All I wish for England is for them to win the World Cup’

England’s former defence coach refuses to look back as he prepares to take his Harlequins team to Newcastle on SaturdayPaul Gustard does not look like a man laden with regrets. If anything, on a chilly lunchtime in the first week of 2019, he appears ha…

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This must not be the year when rugby union trashes its finest qualities | Robert Kitson

With a first Rugby World Cup in Asia and Six Nations offering huge excitement, the sport is in danger of throwing it all awayIf ever there was a year for rugby union to show the best side of itself it is 2019. A first Rugby World Cup to be staged in As…

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Exeter confident they can outmuscle Saracens when Premiership’s top two collide

• Scrummaging power key in last week’s win over Gloucester• Hepher: ‘This is a big game but it’s important not to over-worry’Exeter believe they possess both the muscle and the mental strength to stop Saracens’ front-row tanks in their tracks when the …

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Worcester’s Alan Solomons: ‘It is a different-level Premiership this year’

Experienced director of rugby is ready for a relentless few months with more than half the clubs battling the dropIt is not yet Christmas and already this is a Premiership season like no other. Even Alan Solomons, Worcester’s much-travelled and vastly …

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‘He doesn’t play in a dinner suit’: the 25 best rugby union quotes of 2018 | Robert Kitson

From Eddie Jones’s praise for ‘tough rooster’ Owen Farrell to Ellis Genge questioning rugby’s inclusivity and Ben Moon’s bouncy castle call-up“Is the international game under threat? I think it is. Look at the balance sheets of some nations and you can…

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Gareth Anscombe: ‘Wales are now genuine heavyweights. Warren’s one of the best’

Cardiff Blues fly-half, who faces Saracens in the Champions Cup on Saturday, on Wales’ potentially defining 2019 and the social media abuse that rocked him after his move from New ZealandBeneath the seasonal mistletoe in Wales this Christmas there will…

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Premiership clubs in danger of building mental block about Europe | Robert Kitson

Saracens apart, English sides are finding success in the Champions and Challenge Cups harder and harder to come by and the reason may lie in the mindWalking through the riot-scarred streets of Paris on Sunday evening was to be reminded Europe has more …

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Lima Sopoaga: ‘Losing can affect players. I take it all quite personally’

The former All Black candidly admits that filling Danny Cipriani’s boots at Wasps has not always been easyLima Sopoaga is not the first All Black – and will not be the last – to take time to adjust to his new surroundings. Gazing out of the window at t…

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Saracens confident Maro Itoje will not be tempted away next summer

• England lock is out of contract at Allianz Park in June• Exeter’s Rob Baxter in no hurry to apply for England jobSaracens are confident Maro Itoje will sign a new deal and disappoint other clubs keen to make him one of the best-paid players in the co…

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Saracens confident Maro Itoje will not be tempted away next summer

• England lock is out of contract at Allianz Park in June• Exeter’s Rob Baxter in no hurry to apply for England jobSaracens are confident Maro Itoje will sign a new deal and disappoint other clubs keen to make him one of the best-paid players in the co…