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Author Archive for Robert Kitson at Twickenham

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Jonny May runs in rapid double as England see off Ireland

England 18-7 IrelandWing scores two first-half tries in Autumn Nations Cup victoryStill no thunderous noise from the empty stands nor much sign of the all-court game to thrill an armchair audience, but England quietly continue to notch up valuable vict…

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Jamie George makes history with hat-trick in England demolition of Georgia

England 40-0 GeorgiaJones’s side score six tries in Autumn Nations Cup openerHopefully there will be more gripping encounters to come in the Autumn Nations Cup but it is going to take a strong forward pack to overpower England at Twickenham over the ne…

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Henry Slade the rock as unstoppable Exeter roll on to cherished double | Robert Kitson

Chiefs join Leicester, Wasps and Saracens as double winners but none of these were in the second tier a decade previouslyNo scorching May heat or packed stands, just damp autumn leaves on a windblown concourse and a soaking, empty colosseum. On the fac…

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Eddie Jones’s antagonistic personality should be of concern to the RFU

The England coach has improved the national side but calamitous PR, the perverse selections and occasional verbal excesses overshadow his roleAt some stage in the next fortnight Eddie Jones will sit down for dinner with the Rugby Football Union’s chief…

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England keep title hopes alive as George Ford outwits Ireland defence

England 24-12 IrelandTries from Ford, Daly, Cowan-Dickie help hosts to victoryEngland are back in Six Nations title contention after a convincing victory over a below-par and overly generous Ireland. In their first home fixture of the tournament the ho…

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England’s chariot running like a dream heading into the World Cup

Eddie Jones is determined to avoid complacency but the team’s destruction of Ireland bodes well for their chances in JapanThey love a bit of karaoke in Japan and England’s supporters were in full advance cry in the West Stand on a warm Saturday evening…

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Battered Ireland leave Twickenham nursing World Cup injury headaches | Robert Kitson

Ireland suffered a crushing defeat by England at Twickenham but a bigger concern could be fitness doubts to key playersNo world No 1 ranking for Ireland this week, unless the measurement is injury concerns. With two warm-up games against Wales still to…

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England end Wales streak and deny them top spot with World Cup warm-up win

• England 33-19 Wales• Eddie Jones’s side deny visitors world No 1 rankingEngland denied Wales the chance to rise to number one in the world rankings with a physical 33-19 win in their opening pre-World Cup warm-up game. The home side scored three conv…

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England end Wales streak and deny them top spot with World Cup warm-up win

• England 33-19 Wales• Eddie Jones’s side deny visitors world No 1 rankingEngland denied Wales the chance to rise to number one in the world rankings with a physical 33-19 win in their opening pre-World Cup warm-up game. The home side scored three conv…

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Rampaging Joe Cokanasiga looks like England’s own Jonah Lomu | Robert Kitson

The winger showed off the skills to match his more obvious strength and speed and left Italy in his considerable wakeBlue is not the colour to wear at Twickenham. This was the 29th time England have hosted a Six Nations Test against Italy, France and S…

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Jonny May hat-trick spearheads England’s crushing win over France

• England 44-8 France• Henry Slade and Owen Farrell also score triesFew teams have ever enjoyed a faster start to a Six Nations championship than Eddie Jones’s revitalised England are. For the second week in a row there was no stopping Jones’s side as …

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Eddie Jones’s England formula looking good despite All Blacks defeat | Robert Kitson

With the Rugby World Cup less than a year away, England have shown they are back near the peak of the game after their wobbles in the springEagerly awaited Tests do not always live up to their billing. This was different: a belter from start to (anothe…

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Refusal to bow shows England ready for All Black ‘benchmark’ | Robert Kitson

Second-half revival in narrow win over South Africa leaves Eddie Jones eager for Test against the bestThis time next year the Rugby World Cup will have just finished and Saturday’s opening match of the Quilter autumn series will mostly be forgotten. Th…

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Malcolm Marx comedy of errors undoes South Africa against England | Robert Kitson

South Africa were their own worst enemy at Twickenham as they failed to make the most of their advantages in 12-11 defeatA good big ’un, they say, will always beat a good little ’un. South Africa brought a pack full of giants, but, against all odds, th…

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Chris Ashton hat-trick makes forceful point in Barbarians defeat of England

• England 45-63 Barbarians• Eddie Jones’s side concedes record points total at TwickenhamOccasionally in sport the story feels pre-ordained. Chris Ashton’s return to Twickenham always had the potential to be proper box office and, with all eyes on him,…

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Resilience keeps England on the right side of fine margins | Robert Kitson

Hatred of losing – and a dash of good luck – saw Eddie Jones’s side hold off Wales to secure a Six Nations win at TwickenhamThere is no more tantalising – or irrelevant – phrase in the sporting lexicon than “if only”. Modern Test rugby is almost entire…

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Danny Care’s blazing cameo adds a final flourish for England’s late bloomers

• England 30-6 Australia• Replacement sets up two tries and scores one to underline squad depthIt is just over two years since Australia beat England 33-13 in London to knock the hosts out of the Rugby World Cup. Since then it has been an entirely diff…

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Australia rue missed opportunity as Michael Hooper adds to his collection | Robert Kitson

Wallabies captain picked up record eighth yellow card of his Test career and had a try disallowed as tourists endured miserable day at the office against EnglandLast week’s abiding rugby image was of a smiling Kurtley Beale, clad only in his budgie smu…

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Rob Baxter and Exeter’s merry men aim to follow Clough path to European glory

After their thrilling extra-time win against Wasps to win Premiership title, the Chiefs seek to follow the Nottingham Forest side of the late 70s

So much for a mellow bank holiday weekend beside the river Exe. Never before has the West Country played host to a Monday afternoon street parade to salute England’s league champions and the warm and fuzzy feeling from Newlyn to Newton Abbot is equally unprecedented. Even for those locals still crawling back from “the Smoke” or struggling to raise heads off pillows, the thrill will take a lifetime to fade.

Three contrasting post-match snapshots showed what it all meant. Rob Baxter’s genuine fly-in-the-eye emotion on the pitch and the receiving line of supporters waiting to shake the hand of the chairman, Tony Rowe, both summed up the storybook nature of the Chiefs’ crowning achievement but the most telling image was the picture of the entire squad blinking in the Sunday morning light outside Gareth Steenson’s bar-cum-garage, all cheerfully clad as Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

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Ben Youngs confident England are on course for ascent to world summit

• England 37-21 Australia
• Record-breaking end to 2016 raises stakes for Eddie Jones’s side

The moment when good teams become potentially great ones is less about numbers and more about how they make their opponents feel. A record-equalling 14 successive wins – 11 of them by 10 points or more – does not make Eddie Jones’s team the world’s best, but even the All Blacks can sense the approaching hooves of England. “If we are peaking like this now what are we going to be like in two years’ time?” asked Ben Youngs, his visible excitement clear for all to see.

And why not? Repeating their Six Nations grand slam trick of last season would not just yield a world record for Test wins by a Tier One nation but also guarantee a feelgood raft of English Lions next summer. If they do negotiate the Six Nations unscathed – always easier said than done – even England’s second team to Argentina next June will be welcomed with some apprehension. Beyond that lies another distinctly winnable home autumn series, with no games presently scheduled against New Zealand until November 2018.

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