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Author Archive for Robert Kitson

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‘I’ve been playing rubbish’: Billy Vunipola admits to poor England form

No 8 hopes to rekindle his form against Wales on SaturdayVunipola: ‘Eddie probably thinks someone has cloned me’Honesty is always refreshing but rarely, if ever, has a senior England player publicly described his own form as “rubbish” before a pivotal …

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British & Irish Lions ‘home tour’ could be expanded to four Tests

London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin could be venuesDecision to be taken by end of MarchA final decision on this summer’s British & Irish Lions tour will be taken by the end of March with officials increasingly keen to host it on home soil in fron…

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Crocodile rolls and ‘jacklers’: why rugby union’s law book needs a refresh | Robert Kitson

Players are partly to blame for a recent rash of red cards but laws need updating to minimise confusion and help refereesIt has been obvious for a while that rugby union has a problem with its law book. Which is to say people cherrypick the bits they l…

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Elliot Daly aims to mark 50th cap by sparking England’s attack against Wales

Full-back has found his best form elusive in Six NationsDaly enjoys linking up with his clubmate Owen FarrellAnyone about to win a 50th cap for their country is by definition a quality player. Elliot Daly has also been a Lions Test starter in New Zeala…

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Elliot Daly aims to mark 50th cap by sparking England’s attack against Wales

Full-back has found his best form elusive in Six NationsDaly enjoys linking up with his clubmate Owen FarrellAnyone about to win a 50th cap for their country is by definition a quality player. Elliot Daly has also been a Lions Test starter in New Zeala…

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Elliot Daly aims to mark 50th cap by sparking England’s attack against Wales

Full-back has found his best form elusive in Six NationsDaly enjoys linking up with his clubmate Owen FarrellAnyone about to win a 50th cap for their country is by definition a quality player. Elliot Daly has also been a Lions Test starter in New Zeala…

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Ashton Hewitt: ‘People think rugby doesn’t have society’s problems’

Dragons winger’s efforts to combat racism have led to awful abuse but he remains determined to see change in the gameEven if England are beaten in Cardiff next week by 30 points there can be no eclipsing Welsh rugby’s undisputed player of the season. N…

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Conor O’Shea: ‘Our job is to identify great players. Not stocking fillers’

The RFU’s director of performance rugby is hunting for gems among England’s lost generation and has found some ‘completely different animals’It sounds counterintuitive but England’s finishing position in this year’s Six Nations is almost the least of t…

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Louis Rees-Zammit’s star quality in Six Nations needs to be seen by wide audience

The tournament has delivered for the casual armchair fan and the new television contract risks eroding the shared magicIt is hard to overstate the importance of the Six Nations when it comes to selling rugby to the floating voter. This year’s tournamen…

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Louis Rees-Zammit’s star quality in Six Nations needs to be seen by wide audience

The tournament has delivered for the casual armchair fan and the new television contract risks eroding the shared magicIt is hard to overstate the importance of the Six Nations when it comes to selling rugby to the floating voter. This year’s tournamen…

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RFU votes in favour of no relegation from Premiership this summer

Relegation could be mothballed for ‘three or four seasons’Newcastle game at Northampton off due to positive Covid testsRelegation from the Premiership could be mothballed for “three or four seasons” according to the Rugby Football Union following belat…

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England defence coach John Mitchell: ‘Adversity can make you stronger’

England’s defence coach on World Cup hopes, bouncing back from the low points and his colourful rugby journeyEvery now and again John Mitchell bumps into players with whom he worked in his first stint with England between 1997 and 2000. And every time …

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Eddie Jones plays it safe for Italy game and Ollie Lawrence pays the price

The conservative selection is a missed opportunity with a glaring lack of faith shown in England’s young squad membersThere are two ways of looking at England’s starting selection against Italy on Saturday. The first is to note the renewed physical int…

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Eddie Jones hands Owen Farrell a Six Nations vote of confidence

‘Is that a reason to drop the player? I wouldn’t think so’Kyle Sinckler and Mako Vunipola return to England squadEddie Jones has given a qualified vote of confidence to his captain, Owen Farrell, following last weekend’s Calcutta Cup defeat but says th…

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Billy Burns’ mistake in Ireland’s Six Nations defeat to Wales should not define him | Robert Kitson

The replacement fly-half made an unfortunate mistake in Cardiff but his response to it is much more significant Every golfer in the world will have empathised with Ireland’s replacement fly-half Billy Burns in those closing seconds at the Principality …

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What now for Eddie Jones’s England after being so outplayed at home?

Coach has steered his team down a tactical cul de sac leaving them ineffective against opponents unwilling to be bulliedLate on Saturday night, after the lights had gone out on England’s Calcutta Cup nightmare, a rich golden glow bathed the wintry Twic…

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Eddie Jones’s England need to venture out of tactical comfort zone | Robert Kitson

Will the coach loosen the pragmatic shackles enough for the team to express itself more freely, especially in attack? Continue reading…

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Owen Farrell could tip the balance in a Six Nations defined by rival No 10s | Robert Kitson

Picking Farrell to play at fly-half against Scotland rather than George Ford shows Eddie Jones’s faith in the England captainAlready it seems like the 2021 Six Nations will be defined by the men wearing No 10. If Scotland, France or Ireland mount a tit…

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Premiership relegation set to be axed this season amid Covid-19 cash squeeze

RFU Council expected to vote in favour of 13-team leagueProfessional Game Board and Premiership Rugby are in favourRelegation from the Premiership is set to be officially scrapped in mid-season following a Rugby Football Union Council vote on Friday to…

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Six Nations ball in England’s court but France carry huge potential threat | Robert Kitson

England do not always add up to the sum of their parts but recent form suggests they and the French have most to offerGone are the days when the Six Nations was purely an annual treat. It is eight weeks since the leading European sides were last at eac…