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Author Archive for Robert Kitson

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England desperate for victory to sweeten sour mood of Eddie Jones

England must rediscover mojo while coach acknowledges tension before visit of unbeaten Ireland in Six NationsThe Guinness Six Nations championship, to use its full title, badly needs an uplifting, glass-full type of weekend. To date the weather has bee…

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Eddie Jones seeks a quick start as England prepare to face Ireland

England coach has Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade back among his options after a less-than-glorious start to the Six NationsIn contrast to Ireland, with their unchanged team and more relaxed managerial regime, things are less serene in the England camp. S…

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Former England rugby captain: ‘I feel we are in the shadows of the men’

Catherine Spencer says the women’s game still operates ‘in shadows of the men’ and a radical makeover is neededEven now there are days when Catherine Spencer looks back with a mixture of incredulity and anger. “I felt like a second-class citizen for mo…

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RFU’s crass move a kick in the teeth for those outside rugby’s elite | Robert Kitson

The decision to slash the funding to Championship clubs has been poorly thought out, poorly delivered and poorly received in a week rugby may always rememberWas this the week English rugby changed for ever? It felt like it, and not in the positive way …

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Saracens’ crisis the worst week of people’s lives, says George | Robert Kitson

England duty offers relief from club’s troubles for hooker and Maro Itoje amid uncertainty over their Championship futureFor the first time a fuller picture is emerging of the anguish, the collective uncertainty and the other tangled emotions felt by t…

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Murrayfield atmosphere reflected rising noise, bile and spite in rugby union | Robert Kitson

Six Nations sees respect jettisoned for ill-feeling, as evidenced by Eddie Jones’s name-calling and fans jeering goalkickersFew sports tread the fine line between love and hate as precariously as rugby union. It is part of its attraction: beauty and th…

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Eddie Jones hails ‘most satisfying win’ after England weather the storm

Head coach was pleased with the way his players adapted to treacherous conditions to beat Scotland at MurrayfieldSometimes the most forgettable of games leave the most indelible of impressions. Not for 20 years has a Calcutta Cup fixture been played in…

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Chill blast of reality awaits if England are caught cold again by Scots | Robert Kitson

Defeat at Murrayfield by Gregor Townsend’s side would all but end World Cup finalists’ hopes of winning Six Nations titleIt is the stark contrast in backdrops that makes the Six Nations so compelling. One minute England are surrounded by French accents…

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England hope added forward bias can help recharge their efforts in Scotland | Robert Kitson

Eddie Jones’s men need to pull together quickly at Murrayfield or they may find the weather is the least of their worriesIt could well be that the chief influence on Saturday’s Calcutta Cup encounter will not feature on the team sheet. Storm Ciara is g…

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England’s Eddie Jones takes aim at ‘niggly, goading’ Scotland

• Jones can’t resist jibes at rivals before Six Nations match• ‘They’re a niggly side – they’ve done that through the ages’One day England will arrive in Scotland for a Calcutta Cup match having talked up the host nation’s beautiful scenery, wondrously…

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England pay heavy price for Eddie Jones’ disrespect and lack of humility | Robert Kitson

Coach heads to Murrayfield on Saturday having lost five of his past seven Six Nations games away from TwickenhamFirst, the good news. The Six Nations has already been jolted spectacularly into life and the reawakening of France rates among the more pos…

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England’s opener in France starts definitive phase for Eddie Jones

Their World Cup final disappointment still hangs over the team and England’s reaction in the Six Nations will be tellingAnd so we enter the third act of Eddie Jones’s stint as English rugby’s impresario. For the first couple of years it was all about r…

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Six Nations is a time to enjoy all Europe’s little differences

England have to recover from the World Cup but new coaches at Ireland, France and Wales will hope for an instant impactThese are changing times – politically, environmentally, societally – but some things remain resolutely the same. Come rain or shine,…

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Lewis Ludlam packed and ready for an England chance against France

The Northampton flanker did not unpack his kit bag after the World Cup to remind him of his England goals, and his enthusiasm could be rewarded with a starting role in ParisThe Six Nations is fast approaching and, for someone, so is a massive opportuni…

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Premiership Rugby is from Mars and Saracens are from Venus | Robert Kitson

Lord Dyson’s report lays bare the antipathy between Saracens and the Premiership in a blame game that invites more questions and is set to run and runWe are often told that rugby union, at its heart, is a simple game. Run straight, tackle hard, score m…

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England dogged by domestic woes as Six Nations rivals talk up new eras | Robert Kitson

Four of the six sides under new management struck an upbeat note at launch while England grapple with Saracens falloutFive of the teams at the Six Nations launch at a chilly Tobacco Dock in London’s Wapping could be heard talking an upbeat game. Irelan…

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Premiership Rugby urges Saracens to come clean over salary-cap report

• ‘Why wouldn’t they want it published? It’s a question for them’ • CEO Darren Childs insists no other clubs are breaking salary capPremiership Rugby has rejected any suggestion that other leading clubs may be breaching the salary cap following Saracen…

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‘They have to repent’: Bristol owner calls for Saracens to face disrepute charge

Steve Lansdown: Saracens ‘committed a sin’RFU CEO Sweeney insists there will be no independent inquiryThe decision to allow Saracens to complete the current Premiership season having accepted relegation to the Championship has been strongly criticised …

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Eddie Jones to gather England squad for peace talks over Saracens furore

• Coach wants club rivalries quashed ahead of Six Nations• ‘We need everything on the table. If players are angry, say’Eddie Jones will hold clear-the-air talks with his England squad to try and reduce the impact of the Saracens salary cap furore on th…

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Billy Vunipola’s forearm injury is headache Eddie Jones could do without

• Saracens scandal sure to leave mark on Six Nations• Jones can pick England players from Championship ClubsEngland are poised to kick off the Six Nations without Billy Vunipola after the No 8 sustained a suspected broken forearm in the opening minute…