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Author Archive for Robert Kitson

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Eddie Jones puts pressure on ‘tired’ Wales in push for Six Nations title

• England coach: ‘I see a Wales team that looks tired’• Jones says dropped Cokanasiga can play 100 TestsWarren Gatland has told Eddie Jones to mind his own business after the England coach said Wales looked “tired” before their Six Nations decider with…

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Rugby union at a junction: wealth for a few or salvation for global game? | Robert Kitson

The choice facing Europe’s unions at Dublin summit this week could not be starker but the options are not straightforwardIt is a cliche nowadays to say professional rugby union is at a crossroads. That implies there is still the option of chugging on s…

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Eddie Jones enlists Einstein and Newton to give England power boost

• England aim to hit Scotland hard in Six Nations• George Ford aims to disrupt Scotland’s Finn RussellEngland have turned to Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton for inspiration as the Six Nations title race enters its final days. Rugby dressing rooms are …

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After four England games it is clear Cokanasiga is no ordinary Joe | Robert Kitson

The giant winger has provoked plenty of hype but it is impossible to ignore the blindingly obvious – he is a rare talentPlenty of talented players have played for England but some are more gifted than others. Those of us lucky enough to have been aroun…

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Battle lines drawn as English and French clubs hint at action over World Rugby plans

• Premiership Rugby and Ligue Nationale de Rugby hint at action• World Rugby wants to change international calendarThe leading French and English professional clubs have hinted at possible legal action if World Rugby proceeds with its proposed plans to…

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Recent history is on Wales’s side but England can have final word

Eddie Jones’s side have been strong but Warren Gatland’s gritty Wales team are on the verge of northern supremacyPredicting the winner of this year’s Six Nations entering the final week is almost as tough as it was six weeks ago. Wales may be the only …

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Joe Cokanasiga and England’s heavy artillery primed to flatten Italy | Robert Kitson

The selection of Te’o, Tuilagi and Cokanasiga alongside each other has been made with one eye on the World Cup and should give the home side formidable firepower at TwickenhamAs sure things go, sticking a few quid on England to beat Italy at Twickenham…

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‘Women’s rugby is taking off’: England excited by their Exeter bow | Robert Kitson

England’s women are gunning for a grand slam and are expecting a big crowd when they entertain Italy at Exeter’s Sandy Park on SaturdayHere is an ideal quiz question for International Women’s Day: name the latest team sport in which women are starting …

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‘Women’s rugby is taking off’: England excited by their Exeter bow | Robert Kitson

England’s women are gunning for a grand slam and are expecting a big crowd when they entertain Italy at Exeter’s Sandy Park on SaturdayHere is an ideal quiz question for International Women’s Day: name the latest team sport in which women are starting …

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Divided we stand: English rugby union faces uncertain future

The RFU’s Nigel Melville has plenty on his plate with a newly-flush top flight making noises over ring-fencing and the international scene in danger of implodingRugby union is not the only sport struggling to navigate a fast-changing world but this has…

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Rugby union’s World League plans risk forfeiting the game’s soul

Flawed blueprint for international game is a selfish proposal likely to increase the gap between the haves and have-notsImagine a tent on an exposed clifftop being buffeted by gale force winds. Those inside are already grimly clinging on, only for so-c…

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Wales can be big in Japan but Six Nations form no guarantee of success | Robert Kitson

Warren Gatland would prefer to be under the radar as the win over England raises World Cup expectationsSix thousand miles separate Cardiff and Tokyo but Warren Gatland knew the inevitable question was coming anyway. Having just seen off England and ris…

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Wales will not afford England a free ride to potential grand slam | Robert Kitson

After a dominant start to the competition England can expect to face a major examination against Warren Gatland’s teamThe toll booths were removed from the Severn Bridge two months ago but granting a free ride to English rugby teams in Cardiff will nev…

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England’s Eddie Jones seeking display of ‘real steel’ against Wales

Coach says his team needs to be ready to deliver knockout blow in Cardiff ‘like that heavyweight boxer’Not for almost two decades have England headed for Cardiff sounding as quietly confident as they have done this week. It guarantees them nothing, of …

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My form is having a mental effect on England’s opponents, says Jonny May

The wing is the most improved player in world rugby and, with Wales next up on Saturday, he admits his searing displays now constitute a psychological barrier for opposition teamsAt this rate Jonny May might have to consider changing his surname. Nowad…

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Wales gladiator Alun Wyn Jones rages against the dying of the light | Robert Kitson

With his 132nd Test on Saturday the captain will move within 16 caps of Richie McCaw – and England should expect to be hit by an elemental forceSome statistics in rugby are barely worth collating. The “most carries” column, for example, does not necess…

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Ellis Genge hoping to be the man with a dragon tattoo

• England prop building a collection of body art on his right foot • Genge hoping for Six Nations start against Wales on SaturdayHeard the one about the England player hoping to get a Welsh dragon tattooed on his foot? Those who say rugby is short on c…

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John Mitchell and Warren Gatland forget friendship for Cardiff evening

• England’s defence coach remembers the old days in Waikato • Former teammates and housemates on opposite sides nowJust occasionally in sport there is no escaping one’s past. Once upon a time Warren Gatland and John Mitchell were house-mates in Hamilto…

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England find that playing with speed and a smile can be irresistible | Robert Kitson

Performance against France showed that Eddie Jones has set his rejuvenated team on a third way to successThe first rule of rugby gravity is simple. The best players and coaches are only as good as their next game, not the one just gone. The ideal time …

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England have the force to see off France and show Dublin was no fluke | Robert Kitson

Return of Chris Ashton and Courtney Lawes shows range of their threats but a youthful France can run them closeFrance could not have picked a worse weekend to be heading for Twickenham. The weather forecast for Sunday is unsettled, England have not fel…