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Author Archive for Robert Kitson

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Latest twist in Saracens salary cap scandal threatens a descent into pure farce | Robert Kitson

The Saracens salary cap scandal has already deeply damaged the domestic league – but it now appears the worst is yet to come for the club, its players, and the game as a wholeWhat a mess. Not only for Saracens, currently neck-deep in a reputational slu…

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Siya Kolisi’s inspiring example wins deserved acclaim from rugby scribes | Robert Kitson

South Africa’s World Cup winning captain is one of six uplifting figures to receive awards from the Rugby Union Writers’ ClubIn central London on Monday night the assembled cast of almost 500 guests was a typically eclectic one. It always is at the ann…

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Exeter carry the English standard but French clubs look a real force | Robert Kitson

Racing 92 and Toulouse are a threat in the European Champions Cup while Leinster are a dominant force this seasonAt first glance this year’s European Champions Cup is not noticeably awash with suspense, with four of the five pool winners plus Clermont …

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Exeter carry the English standard but French clubs look a real force | Robert Kitson

Racing 92 and Toulouse are a threat in the European Champions Cup while Leinster are a dominant force this seasonAt first glance this year’s European Champions Cup is not noticeably awash with suspense, with four of the five pool winners plus Clermont …

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Sam Warburton: ‘I want to be king of the jungle. But I’ve got zero credibility as a coach’

Wales’ first-ever specialist breakdown coach wants the team to thrive on the pressure of their status as grand slam champions – and prioritise coolness and efficiency over sheer work-rateThe woodburner just over his right shoulder is warming the room n…

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Call Ricky Gervais – rugby needs a fresh injection of honesty and transparency | Robert Kitson

If the Golden Globes host ever does oval-shaped speeches he will have no shortage of similarly juicy targets at which to aimPerhaps the best way to embark on a shiny new rugby decade is to listen to Ricky Gervais’s coruscating speech at the annual Gold…

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Japan blossom and Baa-Baas take Brazil in decade of new horizons | Robert Kitson

The old order has shifted during the past 10 years with Exeter among those growing in stature while France fadedThe best way to measure the true impact of the past rugby decade is to count the number of significant moments few could have foreseen. By t…

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Dave Rogers: ‘My favourite photo? Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal in 2003’

There are few more trusted witnesses than the veteran photographer who has been capturing rugby’s big moments for nearly 40 yearsAnyone who has attended a rugby match will have seen him from a distance. The anorak, the slightly rounded shoulders from d…

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Simmonds brothers on song for rampaging Exeter in thrashing of Sale

• Exeter 35-10 Sale• Chiefs on verge of qualifying for last eight of Champions CupIt is not every day that hail stops play in European rugby but even the spectacular storm that briefly forced the players off in the second half could not halt Exeter’s i…

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Danny Cipriani: ‘From a kid to an adult, it’s been rejection for me’

The Gloucester fly-half on coming to terms with his England snub and only learning what Eddie Jones thinks of him through his bookFor a long time Danny Cipriani believed in destiny. He would be turning 32 on 2 November, the same day as the Rugby World …

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Six Nations coaches need to freshen up squads or face falling behind | Robert Kitson

In 2000 Warren Gatland used World Cup players and Ireland lost so he tore up the teamsheet and turned things aroundIt has been a curious European Champions Cup season so far, with very few sides performing above pre-tournament expectations. Gloucester …

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How Northampton were turned back into a force to be reckoned with | Robert Kitson

A pioneering coach and a blunt-talking chief executive have helped to transform Saints’ fortunesUp in his modest office overlooking the Weedon Road, Northampton’s chief executive, Mark Darbon, does not mince his words. “We were just insular,” he says, …

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Truncated tour of South Africa removes last vestige of romance from Lions | Robert Kitson

Eight-match schedule signals end of the midweek dirt-tracker and the Premiership’s refusal to help is hugely depressingEvery four years the British & Irish Lions unveil a tantalising tour schedule and invite thousands of supporters to sign up for t…

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Warren Gatland ‘thrilled’ with daunting Lions tour schedule in South Africa

• Lions will play two Tests at altitude in 2021 series• Series against Springboks could break attendance recordsWarren Gatland believes the British and Irish Lions will cope with the daunting challenge of playing two Tests at altitude when they tour So…

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Warren Gatland wants Premiership final moved to accommodate Lions in 2021

• Lions set to release schedule for 2021 South Africa tour• Barbarians game at Twickenham hinges on PRL playing ballThe British & Irish Lions are poised to announce the schedule for their eight?match tour to South Africa in 2021 but a proposed warm…

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Trouble for Premiership big beasts shows money no guarantee of success | Robert Kitson

Leicester, Wasps and Bath are traditionally accustomed to the high life but find themselves stuck in the bottom fourIf success in modern rugby union is entirely down to money it has an odd way of showing it. Look no further than the current Premiership…

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Ben Youngs: ‘I can’t quite put my finger on why it just didn’t happen’

The Leicester scrum-half is still searching for answers after England’s World Cup final defeat to South AfricaIn theory Ben Youngs should be sitting in Oadby on a grey midweek lunchtime thinking solely about Leicester’s next game. No one would ever des…

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Leicester feel no relief over Saracens’ point deduction, says Geordan Murphy

• Tigers concentrating on improving form after one win in four• Murphy pleased to have 10 World Cup players back trainingLeicester, the Premiership’s 11th-placed team, insist there is no feeling of relief in their dressing-room despite the 35-point ded…

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Rugby can secure a blockbuster future, so why is it digging into a hole? | Robert Kitson

There is no better time to convert casual rugby spectators into lifelong fans, but the game risks missing its cueIn weeks such as this promoting rugby union should be the easiest job in the world. An eventful World Cup is still fresh in the memory and …

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Stuart Hogg: ‘I was a bit scared but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made’

The high-profile Exeter signing will come up against his former club Glasgow this weekend in their Champions Cup matchNot long after Exeter Chiefs had completed the most satisfying away display in their European history in La Rochelle last weekend, the…