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Category: Rugby World Cup

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Rugby World Cup 2019: Australia team guide

The Wallabies are not to be underestimated as their head coach has moulded a side in his own abrasive, confrontational image Continue reading…

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England itching to get going but Maro Itoje wary of Tonga’s physical threat

• Squad are bonding well but looking forward to action• Itoje: Sunday’s game in Sapporo cannot be taken lightlyMonday was a national holiday in Japan to honour the elderly. It was fitting, then, that when Billy Vunipola appeared on stage at England’s W…

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Spectre of Israel Folau hangs over Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup tilt | Bret Harris

If the Wallabies perform disappointingly in Japan, the debate over Rugby Australia’s handling of the issue may reigniteIsrael Folau will not be seen at the World Cup, but the presence of the former Wallabies’ star fullback is likely still to be felt in…

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World Cup referees will not ‘lay down a marker’ with reds, says World Rugby

• Tournament organisers play down fears of flurry of cards• Weather threatens Scotland v Ireland opener in YokohamaWorld Cup organisers have insisted officials will not be looking to “lay down a marker” over high tackles in the next seven weeks by flou…

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Air of unpredictability hangs over Rugby World Cup with adaptability the key | Robert Kitson

Unfamiliar surroundings and the potential for extreme weather means coaches in Japan must be ready for anythingTo appreciate just how different to the norm the 2019 Rugby World Cup is going to be, you only have to set foot outside. Even on a damp Monda…

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Webb Ellis didn’t even invent rugby, so why is his name on the World Cup? | Michael Aylwin

Rugby’s myth-makers have overlooked one catch in the game’s history. It’s time for a more appropriate name on the trophyEvery four years, with more than 100 million people watching, a big bloke hoists a golden trophy called the Webb Ellis Cup. Casual v…

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Scotland strive to avoid World Cup slip-ups with shampoo-soaked balls

Thunderstorm forecast for Scotland v Ireland game15,000 people turn up for Wales open training sessionScotland have brushed up their act before Sunday’s wet and wild World Cup opener with Ireland – by practising with balls soaked in shampoo. Gregor Tow…

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Rugby World Cup 2019: Wales team guide

Hardness and solidity mark out Warren Gatland’s side but injuries and absences leave them exposed Continue reading…

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World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson launches mental health campaign

Former fly-half to share his own struggles with anxietyWilkinson: ‘I hope I can help people reach out and seek support’Jonny Wilkinson has launched a new mental health campaign together with the health insurer Vitality.The move comes amid rising concer…

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Rugby World Cup 2019: Tonga team guide

The smallest nation in the competition are dreaming big even if their preparations have been far from ideal Continue reading…

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Owen Farrell changes tackle technique amid fear of red and yellow cards

• World Rugby has changed directives over no-arms tackles• England captain working with strength and conditioning coachThe England captain, Owen Farrell, has had to change his tackling technique amid fears of a flurry of red and yellow cards at the Wor…

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Japan has one eye on the Olympics as it waits for Rugby World Cup kick-off

Rugby union’s showpiece event begins on Friday but the World Cup fever is not exactly infectiousA recent social-media post summed up the mood among rugby lovers in Japan days before the World Cup kicks off in Tokyo. “RWC flags are all over streets of S…

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Rugby World Cup 2019: USA team guide

The good news? This is the strongest US team ever to go to a World Cup. The bad news? They’ve been handed their toughest ever draw Continue reading…

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England’s Joe Cokanasiga and Mark Wilson are doubts for World Cup opener

• Both players miss full training in Japan with knee injuries• Jamie Ritchie to miss Scotland’s opener against IrelandJoe Cokanasiga and Mark Wilson have emerged as potential doubts for England’s opening match of the World Cup against Tonga next Sunday…

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Joe Schmidt’s powerplays can break Ireland’s World Cup jinx | Brendan Fanning

This Ireland side is not without flaws but it finally has the necessary grit and grind to reach the World Cup last fourPerhaps the greatest weakness of the Rugby World Cup is its predictability. Look at the way the pools are filled and from a distance …

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All Blacks’ supremacy shaped by Steve Hansen’s search for inner peace

Favourites’ coach has reinvented himself during his time in charge, going from confrontational figure to oasis of calmOf all the qualities the All Blacks will miss when Steve Hansen’s eight-year tenure, and one of the great world rugby eras, comes to a…

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Rugby World Cup 2019: France team guide

After all the chopping and changing of recent years, France could be in for a big change in Japan: they may fail to reach the quarter-finals for the first time Continue reading…

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‘Preparation is everything’: the real Eddie Jones’s hard road to Japan

In helping England’s coach write his autobiography Donald McRae has gained a unique insight into the uncompromising AustralianThree years ago Eddie Jones surprised me for the first of many times. We met to discuss how we would work together on a book w…

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Gregor Townsend’s need for speed runs Scots thrillingly close to the edge

Coach’s plan to have Scotland playing the fastest-tempo rugby in the world suits his limited resources but comes with a riskWhen Gregor Townsend told his employers in the middle of 2016 that he wanted to take charge of Scotland, he was, at 43, still in…

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Wales find voice under Gatland but must now compose a hymn

Tour of New Zealand in 2016 was the beginning of Wales’s journey to becoming serious contenders for Rugby World CupWales and the World Cup have not always been the easiest of fits. Every one of the teams from the old Five Nations has made the knockout …