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Author Archive for Robert Kitson

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Typhoon Hagibis leaves World Cup organisers facing a storm of their own making | Robert Kitson

With so many what-ifs, this tournament looks destined to have a permanent asterisk by its namePeople sometimes talk about being blown away by a sporting spectacle. The 2019 Rugby World Cup is in danger of being remembered for the opposite. If the weath…

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‘It’s my duty to him’: father of French rugby player who died demands action

Philippe Chauvin believes the death of his son Nicolas in France can be a catalyst for change in the game’s attitudeAt first glance they could be any French family: a father and his 17-year-old son sitting together in their living room watching the Rug…

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Referees’ job is getting harder as rugby becomes more fast and furious | Robert Kitson

World Rugby has warned officials after oversights in opening World Cup matches and can only hope for a swift improvementFrom the moment players first lace up their boots everyone in rugby learns the same mantra. It goes like this: the referee is always…

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Dizzying Rugby World Cup opening leaves referees and players in a spin

The opening weekend of the tournament put officials in the spotlight and showed the value of tactical versatilityThe opening week of a Rugby World Cup is always a blur of first impressions and fast-changing perceptions but, by anyone’s standards, Japan…

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South Africa stick to winning formula for World Cup opener against All Blacks

Springboks unchanged from last outing against JapanRassie Erasmus expects tight encounter in YokohamaSouth Africa’s head coach Rassie Erasmus has picked his strongest, most settled team to tackle New Zealand in the highest-profile fixture of the World …

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Rugby World Cup 2019: England team guide

The semi-finals are the minimum for Eddie Jones’s side … and they will have their eyes on much more Continue reading…

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Brave new world: Japan braces for ‘anything-can-happen’ World Cup | Robert Kitson

The defending champions New Zealand look mortal and the chasing pack sense the opportunity to lift the Webb Ellis CupThe sumo wrestlers of Japan will have competition for the next seven weeks. Suddenly there will be big men everywhere, blocking out the…

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‘I would have had to turn water into wine’ to sway Jones, says Cipriani

• Fly-half had ‘no expectation’ of going to World Cup with England• ‘Eddie is a very strong character and is not going to be swayed’England’s ousted fly-half Danny Cipriani says it would have taken a miracle for Eddie Jones to pick him in his 31-man sq…

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From flat whites to All Blacks: how Piers Francis forged World Cup dream

An unusual gap year set the Gravesend-born fly-half on a path through the New Zealand rugby system and eventually a place in England’s squad in JapanA number of England’s squad have taken a long and winding road to the looming Rugby World Cup. Manu Tui…

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From flat whites to All Blacks: how Piers Francis forged World Cup dream

An unusual gap year set the Gravesend-born fly-half on a path through the New Zealand rugby system and eventually a place in England’s squad in JapanA number of England’s squad have taken a long and winding road to the looming Rugby World Cup. Manu Tui…

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Eddie Jones leaves no stone unturned in preparation for the unexpected | Robert Kitson

England’s management has instilled a calm in the World Cup squad that captain Owen Farrell believes will ensure they can deal with any unforeseen problems in JapanThe 2019 Rugby World Cup does not kick off until Friday week but the chances of a mellow,…

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Short commute suits Mark Wilson’s England hopes of being big in Japan

Visit to Newcastle for last World Cup warm-up against Italy is just fine for the former Falcon flanker and northern fansThose who dismiss England’s final World Cup warm-up game against Italy as irrelevant clearly do not hail from a northern postcode. F…

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England to let Ruaridh McConnochie loose on Italy in World Cup warm-up

• Third time lucky at Newcastle for uncapped Bath back• ‘He’s going to do well … he’s got good energy about him’England will finally unleash Bath’s uncapped Ruaridh McConnochie on Friday as they seek to conclude their World Cup preparations with a flou…

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Japan’s famous Rugby World Cup win is coming to a screen near you | Robert Kitson

Films about Brave Blossoms and the story of Dan Carter plus a play about Bill McLaren make perfect curtain-raisersFor years it was widely assumed rugby would not translate easily to stage and screen. With the odd exception – Up ’n’ Under, Stand Up and …

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Stop the suffering and ditch the lip service to mental health in sport | Robert Kitson

A toxic culture of denial pervades rugby, but the sport must be more honest with itself about players’ mental wellbeingThe interview with Kearnan Myall last week prompted an extraordinary reaction. The former Wasps forward’s searing account of being dr…

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Dave Alred: ‘We’re breeding a lot of physical robots who want to smash the wall down’ | Robert Kitson

England’s former kicking guru is now helping out Johnny Sexton instead and believes a lack of attention to detail to the kicking game will cost teams dear in the World Cup in JapanSitting in the corner of a pub on the outskirts of Taunton is the man wh…

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Lean Mako Vunipola hungry to return for England against Ireland

• Prop has been out since May with hamstring injury• Vunipola at lowest weight since 2016 Australia tourNo England player is keener to run around a rugby field this bank holiday weekend than Mako Vunipola, who is set to make his long-awaited comeback f…

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Players’ union urges action on mental health after Kearnan Myall speaks out

• RPA says 10% of Premiership players phone helpline every year• Majority have mental health problems after retiring – surveyRugby’s players’ union has called for urgent action to be taken to protect players’ mental wellbeing following stark warnings f…

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Kearnan Myall: ‘Several England players I know dread training camp’

The former Wasps lock sounds the alarm over the mental wellbeing of top players after intolerable pressure and scrutiny took him to the brink of suicideNo one is paying much attention to the tall man sitting quietly on a sunny hotel terrace in Richmond…

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Kearnan Myall: ‘Several England players I know dread training camp’

The former Wasps lock sounds the alarm over the mental wellbeing of top players after intolerable pressure and scrutiny took him to the brink of suicideNo one is paying much attention to the tall man sitting quietly on a sunny hotel terrace in Richmond…