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Author Archive for Robert Kitson

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Brad Shields needs to wear a Wasps shirt in anger before England call | Robert Kitson

To parachute the New Zealand-born forward into the England squad sight unseen recalls the unsatisfactory precedents of Ireland’s Michael Bent and Scotland’s Brendan LaneyThe story of Brad Shields is a tale of everyday modern professional sport. Born in…

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Scarlets’ James Davies: ‘I’d rather have fun than be boring and have more Welsh caps’

The Welsh club hope their openside flanker’s rugby skills will be as sharp as his comic timing when they meet Leinster in Saturday’s European Champions Cup semi-finalNot since Llanelli’s fabled win over the All Blacks in 1972 has west Wales felt so muc…

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Wayne Pivac says Scarlets have no worries about facing Leinster in Dublin

• Coach relaxed Aviva Stadium is venue for Champions Cup semi• ‘One of our supporters makes up for 10 of the opposition’Scarlets’ head coach, Wayne Pivac, says the prospect of facing Leinster in Dublin holds no fears for his players and has questioned …

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Cornwall braced for defining moment in its sporting history | Robert Kitson

Council funding of £3m needs to be approved on Tuesday so the wheels can turn on a multi-purpose Stadium for CornwallAmid the onrushing tide of worrying world news stories, the outcome of a 123-person vote in Truro’s county hall might seem relatively t…

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Sale’s Jono Ross seeks rare away win in pivotal Premiership game at Newcastle

• All-northern clash crucial in terms of semi-final qualification• ‘We need to replicate [our home] performances,’ says captainNot since Sale won their only Premiership title a dozen years ago have English rugby’s northern lights shone so brightly. Wit…

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Sale’s Jono Ross seeks rare away win in pivotal Premiership game at Newcastle

• All-northern clash crucial in terms of semi-final qualification• ‘We need to replicate [our home] performances,’ says captainNot since Sale won their only Premiership title a dozen years ago have English rugby’s northern lights shone so brightly. Wit…

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No surprise as fallen giants Harlequins call time on John Kingston | Robert Kitson

It is three years since Quins, Northampton or Bath made the Premiership play-offs and anxiety is growing at these traditionally big clubsAt this stage of the domestic rugby season the table seldom lies. It is not enough simply to blame under-achievemen…

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Bath’s Tom Dunn: ‘I don’t look forward to passing or running. I look forward to hitting someone’

The man everyone at Bath names as the club’s toughest player hopes his uncomplicated, warrior-like approach can take him to the topAsk anyone at Bath to nominate the toughest member of their squad and they all say the same name. “I wouldn’t want to be …

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The solution to rugby union’s warring factions? A British-Irish Big League | Robert Kitson

Now is the time for rugby union to open its eyes rather than be blinded by parochial thinkingMemories are short at moments like this. It is only a year since English rugby was omnipotent, in possession of almost as many title belts as Anthony Joshua. I…

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Injured Jack Nowell and Billy Vunipola to spend longer on the sidelines

• Exeter’s Nowell and Williams set to miss several more games• Saracens No 8 in ‘race against time’ for Champions Cup tieThe physical strain on England’s leading players shows little sign of easing with the Premiership champions Exeter resigned to…

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Joy of Six Nations overshadows Spain’s pain and fears for the game | Robert Kitson

While Ireland were completing the grand slam, events at a World Cup qualifier show that not all is well within the gameOn an RER train in Paris the other day an England supporter was discussing the impromptu competition he and his friends had been havi…

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England staring down the barrel unless lessons are learned – and fast | Robert Kitson

The summer series against South Africa looks ominous unless Eddie Jones’s men can address the reasons for their Six Nations implosionAn unexpectedly one?sided Six Nations Championship has made two things crystal clear. There can be no disputing that th…

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Ireland head for Twickenham with winning chance of only a third grand slam | Robert Kitson

Joe Schmidt’s polished squad have extra motivation as they take on the returning Dylan Hartley’s reshaped England, who face the embarrassing prospect of finishing fifthThere are cold-fingered days when rugby is slightly less about running or tackling a…

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Embarrassing Eddie Jones comments could have long-term consequences | Robert Kitson

England head coach may have compromised his Lions future with his ill-judged, unfunny remarks about Ireland and WalesIt is just under two months since Eddie Jones signed a two-year contract extension as England head coach until 2021. His team had …

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Ireland reach new heights and make New Zealand game an enticing prospect

New Six Nations champions go to Twickenham for a possible grand slam but Ireland’s autumn game with All Blacks now catches the eyeThe most satisfying week in Irish sporting history? If their horses can cope with the soft ground at Cheltenham and their …

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Ireland reach new heights and make New Zealand game an enticing prospect

New Six Nations champions go to Twickenham for a possible grand slam but Ireland’s autumn game with All Blacks now catches the eyeThe most satisfying week in Irish sporting history? If their horses can cope with the soft ground at Cheltenham and their …

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England’s Eddie Jones looks to the future with France on the horizon

Head coach reacts to the calamitous defeat at Murrayfield with a much-changed team and new captain for the Stade de FranceTalk of revolutions and guillotines is always tempting when a teamsheet is significantly rejigged on the eve of a big game in Pari…

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Eddie Jones expects Maro Itoje to overcome ‘second season’ syndrome

• England forward hindered by after-effects of Lions tour and injury• ‘First season, no one knows your best shot. Second, everyone does’England’s head coach, Eddie Jones, believes Maro Itoje is experiencing “second season” syndrome and is still fe…

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England experience Six Nations dip as ‘leggy Lions’ feel the strain | Robert Kitson

Maro Itoje is not looking his freshest in the Six Nations and his normally dynamic team-mate Mako Vunipola has also gone quiet following an exacting summer tour to New ZealandOne of the most interesting sequences in sport is threatening to repeat itsel…

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Eddie Jones threatens England changes for likely Paris ‘slogathon’

• ‘No one’s indispensable,’ says head coach after Scotland defeat• Underhill, Wigglesworth and Te’o could start against FranceEddie Jones has warned that “no one is indispensable” as he mulls over his best options for the key Six Nations away game…