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Author Archive for Robert Kitson

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John Mitchell gets to work for England by setting sights on World Cup

• New defence coach says he has no interest in Eddie Jones’s job• ‘The All Blacks are outstanding but a World Cup closes the gap’England’s new defence coach, John Mitchell, thinks Eddie Jones’s squad can still win the 2019 Rugby World Cup despite their…

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Manu Tulagi: ‘I’m feeling better and better … I know I’ll get there’

The Leicester player’s self-belief is returning after a litany of injuries and Eddie Jones is taking an intense interestEven on the worst of days Manu Tuilagi never completely gave up hope. “Mentally I always think I will get back to where I was, no ma…

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England’s baffling decision to omit Danny Cipriani risks alienating fans | Robert Kitson

He delivered that lovely grubber kick against South Africa and has been key to Gloucester’s unbeaten start but somehow the fly-half still does not float Eddie Jones’ boatIncreasingly Danny Cipriani looks fated to be a quiz answer for years to come. Nam…

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A year before Japan 2019, rugby is braced for threat of natural disasters | Robert Kitson

World Cup organisers are busy making preparations for potential disruption from earthquakes and the volatile weatherWith exactly a year to go to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan the organisers are unusually bullish. For the first time rugby’s premier …

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Black is the colour to end red-card muddle over misjudged tackles | Robert Kitson

The dismissal of Will Spencer against Wasps for a challenge without malice exposed the need for a lighter sanctionWe will come to the rights and wrongs shortly but imagine for a moment you are a rugby player in a packed defensive line. The opposition a…

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Ronan O’Gara: ‘There’s no secret to the All Blacks but no one believes that’

Former Ireland fly-half has cut his coaching teeth with Crusaders in New Zealand and says the world champions are undeniably brilliant but still beatableThose who attended this week’s World Rugby Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Rugby, across the roa…

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World Rugby’s Agustín Pichot warns international game is facing ‘ruin’

• Unions and clubs need new blueprint says vice-chairman• Players ‘caught in crossfire’ of competing demandsOne of rugby’s most senior officials has warned that the entire future of the international game is under threat unless the sport takes urgent a…

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Rugby union’s English club owners consider future direction of the sport | Robert Kitson

A meeting on Tuesday will consider a £275m offer for a major stake and discuss a few more ideas for progressRarely has professional rugby union scanned the horizon with such mixed emotions. In several parts of the world there is a sense of a sport whic…

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Rugby World Cup could expand to 24 teams in 2023, say organisers

• Rugby World Cup has had 20 teams for two decades• ‘We’re always looking to expand,’ says chief executiveExpanding the Rugby World Cup from 20 to 24 teams is being given serious consideration by the game’s governing body. World Rugby says four more te…

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Premiership rugby clubs set to reject CVC offer in quest for better deal

• CVC offered £275m for 50% share in Premiership• Premiership to look at other investment sourcesA £275m offer tabled by the private equity firm CVC Capital Partners to buy 50% of Premiership Rugby is set to be rejected at Tuesday’s scheduled meeting o…

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Premiership clubs hope for billion pound league if takeover goes ahead

• Premiership Rugby chief executive adamant game will not sell soul• Other options include selling shares or borrowing from banksPremiership rugby executives believe their league could be a billion pound business by 2025 if agreement can be reached thi…

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Eddie Jones tells Danny Cipriani ‘your World Cup dream is on the line’

• England coach tells fly-half ‘everything impacts on selection’ • Jones lays down the law at face-to-face meetingEddie Jones has warned Danny Cipriani that any further off-field transgressions will end his chances of playing in next year’s World Cup. …

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Eddie Jones has a year to get England firing again – he might need some help | Robert Kitson

2018 has been forgettable so far for England’s Australian coach but he knows a strong autumn with key players back available could paint a much brighter picture for next year’s World CupThere have been better times to be an Australian rugby coach worki…

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Leicester sack head coach Matt O’Connor after first match of the season

• Australian shows the door after 40-6 thrashing at Exeter• Geordan Murphy to help fill coaching gapThe season is barely one game old but Leicester have already seen enough to persuade them to part company with their head coach, Matt O’Connor. The Aust…

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Alapati Leiua try gives Bristol last laugh against Bath in Premiership opener

• Bristol 17 Bath 10• Four Ian Madigan penalties ensure Bristol get the pointsThe Gallagher Premiership season still has nine months to run but the newly styled Bristol Bears are already up and roaring. If proof were needed that Pat Lam’s promoted side…

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Sale’s Tom Curry: ‘You can’t train like Tarzan and play like Jane’

The young England flanker has a straight-shooting attitude and a clear vision of what need to be done on the fieldFor years it has been the missing link in English rugby union. National coaches have been searching for a reliably fit, energetic, top-cla…

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Premiership looks like 10 in a scrum plus Saracens and Exeter on top | Robert Kitson

There are sure to be some seriously displeased club owners in the table’s bottom half, given how even the 2018-19 Premiership looks aside from Saracens and ExeterThe Strictly Come Dancing sequins and heels may be absent but in every other respect club …

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Whistleblower Wayne Barnes prepares to call time on refereeing career

The English referee begins his last full Premiership season at Exeter this weekend, wishing there was more TMO assistanceThe start of a new rugby union season is not just about players and coaches. Rarely have top-level referees been under more scrutin…

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Chris Ashton’s chance of England recall hit by ban-related lack of matches

• Sale wing loses chance to play before England squad is named• Wasps’ Jimmy Gopperth may miss season with ligament injuryChris Ashton’s chances of a swift England recall have suffered another blow after Sale Sharks confirmed their winger will be ineli…

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Chris Ashton’s chance of England recall hit by ban-related lack of matches

• Sale wing loses chance to play before England squad is named• Wasps’ Jimmy Gopperth may miss season with ligament injuryChris Ashton’s chances of a swift England recall have suffered another blow after Sale Sharks confirmed their winger will be ineli…