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Author Archive for Robert Kitson

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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…

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Have rugby’s super-coaches stunted the growth of those following them?

The giant coaching box redwoods of yore are thinning out and an injection of fresh thinking is required at the top nationsIt is hard to believe but somewhere out there is a well-known rugby coach without a new book out. It is tempting to imagine Eddie …

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Robert Armstrong, former Guardian rugby correspondent, dies aged 76

• Armstrong joined paper in 1970 as a sub-editor• Covered the 1991 World Cup and two Lions toursRobert Armstrong, the Guardian’s former rugby union correspondent, has died at the age of 76.Armstrong, who also covered football and tennis for many years,…

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Saracens salary-cap breach stamps an asterisk on a great club and the game | Robert Kitson

English rugby’s dominant club have blazed a trail across Europe and nurtured England internationals but was it all above board?How absolutely typical of rugby union. One minute the country is cheering on England in a World Cup final, the next they are …

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England’s boulder boys can stop South Africa’s giants in their tracks

England’s defence coach believes back-rowers can win World Cups ? and in Underhill and Curry he has two of the best aroundAmong the defining characteristics of a champion team is supposed to be a pair of hard-bitten, seen-it-all flankers. New Zealand’s…

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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…