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Author Archive for Robert Kitson

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Chris Boyd eyes chance to break the Saracens-Exeter stranglehold

Premiership’s heavyweight pair seem destined for a Twickenham showdown unless Gloucester or Northampton can spring an upsetThe list of familiar club names absent from the 2018-19 Premiership semi-finals is a clear sign of the times in English rugby. Wa…

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Premiership team of the season: Danny Cipriani shows his class | Robert Kitson

South African and Australian talent is to the fore alongside the best of British in Tom Curry, Joe Marler and Henry SladeThe fast-footed Argentinian will be missed when he swaps Devon for Bordeaux this summer: no other player in the league has beaten m…

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England would like Mark McCall but would the coach leave Saracens? | Robert Kitson

A potential successor to Eddie Jones is the Ulsterman who has masterminded his club’s rise to the European summitIt has been a long time since the Rugby Football Union trusted anyone from a high-profile English club side to coach its national team. In …

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Mark McCall ensures Saracens’ dominance is set to run and run | Robert Kitson

With three European crowns in four seasons there are no signs Saracens’ reign is coming to an end anytime soonThis time next year European rugby’s finals will be held in the south of France rather than the north-east of England, with Marseille’s Vieux …

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Alex Goode and Jackson Wray offer insight into Saracens’ alchemy

The unheralded Saracens pair started out as budding footballers and have developed into integral players in the club’s collective successThere is always more to the best rugby teams than a list of big names. Saracens are a good example, particularly on…

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Leinster out to make Champions Cup history against Saracens

• Irish province chasing a record fifth European title• Will Skelton starts in a strong Saracens packThis has been a special week for English teams in Europe but Leinster are the only side chasing a five-star outcome this weekend. No club have won rugb…

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Leinster v Saracens will be a brutal final battle for European greatness | Robert Kitson

An irresistible force faces an immovable object and the winner will be Europe’s most remarkable champions, bar noneWidespread agreement is rare in rugby but this week is an exception. The two best, most consistent teams in Europe are contesting this ye…

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Exeter’s Luke Cowan-Dickie: ‘We play our best in the biggest games’ | Robert Kitson

The Chiefs forward knows Saturday’s meeting with Saracens is something of a phoney war but says the Premiership leaders will not be found wanting when the real thing occurs later this monthA healthy league position is not the only indicator of a happy …

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Saracens and Exeter expected to field weakened teams for top-two fixture

• Exeter’s Rob Baxter unwilling to take unnecessary risks• Jack Nowell and Sam Simmonds not fit for artificial pitchFans hoping to see a potential dress rehearsal of this season’s Premiership final are set to be disappointed with Saracens and Exeter op…

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Premiership’s late-season emotion vacuum calls for short, sharp solution | Robert Kitson

Exeter and Saracens are dominant while Europe also occupies minds, leaving drama scarce at rugby’s business endThe final month of the season should be the most gripping of all. For players and coaches it is the moment when 10 months of hard work are ei…

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Maunder and Bess offer cautionary tale but could yet triumph in sequel | Robert Kitson

The Devon school friends played rugby union and cricket respectively for England before turning 21 but they are now not even regular starters for their clubs Exeter and SomersetOccasionally professional sport throws up a story that is heartwarming and …

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Empty seats leave Champions Cup licking its wounds and looking at rejig

European club rugby faces crunch time with CVC sniffing around Pro14 and the only certainty being that change is afootNext month in Newcastle they are promising to host the best weekend that club rugby union has ever known. A convivial city, an iconic …

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Warren Gatland set to return as Lions coach for 2021 South Africa series

• New Zealander took charge of 2013 and 2017 Lions tours• Lions duty would not rule Gatland out of England jobWarren Gatland is set to be reappointed as head coach of the British and Irish Lions for their 2021 tour to South Africa. The Wales coach is u…

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Brad Barritt: ‘I had to be selfish and tell my three-year-old son to fill the ice machine’

The Saracens captain has relied on the goodwill of his family to recover from an ankle injury in time to tackle Munster in Saturday’s Champions Cup semi-finalLittle escapes the TV cameras now poking into every pre-match huddle but, in Brad Barritt’s ca…

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It is time we found out what rugby union ultimately wants to be | Robert Kitson

Clearly the game has not given up controversy for Lent but key decisions about its future need to be madeEaster week used to rank among the most convivial of the rugby union year. In more innocent times there would be end-of-season tours, not least by …

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Israel Folau says he will give up rugby if that is what God wants

• ‘I believe in a God that’s in control of all things’• Australia full-back has been stood down after social media postsThe Australia full-back Israel Folau says he stands by the social media messages relating to homosexuality that threaten his future …

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George Ford and Dan Cole battle to lift burden of tradition off Leicester

Former champions need to move with the times or the nightmare of Premiership relegation could become a realityEvery great sporting dynasty hits the buffers at some stage. Brazil football, Wigan rugby league, Australia cricket: a glorious past does not …

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Bristol chasing Europe not just safety in Twickenham ‘Clash’ with Bath

Pat Lam is adamant his players’ positive intent will not waver even if they are dragged back down into a relegation dogfight but he is looking upWhen Bath opted to shift their home fixture against Bristol to Twickenham and market it as “the Clash” they…

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Geordan Murphy confident Mike Ford can give limping Leicester ‘a bit of a kick’

• Former England coach can help ease relegation fears • Leicester five points off bottom with five games leftGeordan Murphy believes his coaching recruit Mike Ford will give Leicester “a bit of a kick” and help the struggling former champions avoid the…

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Tamara Taylor: ‘I don’t see myself going near too many crevasses on Everest’

England Women’s Rugby World Cup-winner is determined not to be found wanting in a charity game of sevens 21,000ft up as she battles her fear of heightsAt first glance it reads like a classic Boys’ Own adventure yarn. This month a group of 27 people rep…