•  Times Column 23/10/04 Something is stirring in the land of the rising scrum. At the end of May, Japan outclassed Canada to claim the IRB Super Powers Cup, inspired by 20-year-old fly-half Kyohei Morita. And this autumn, after the fifth weekend of the increasingly competitive Top League, five teams are tied one point behind front-runners Kubota Spears.  Last Saturday alone, Toutai Kefu, Jaco van der Westhuyzen, Glen Marsh and Pita Alatini could be seen in action in Tokyo, with standards rising so fast that not all of them were on the winning side. Off the pitch, at a glitzy central Tokyo hotel, former prime minister Yoshiro Mori was introduced on Monday as the president of Japan’s 2011 Rugby World Cup

    Oct 23,
  •  Times Column 9/10/04 This season, the well-dressed Zurich Premiership player will mostly be wearing - white socks.  Already four clubs, Sale, Bath, Newcastle and Leeds, have sent out teams in the latest rugby fashion, and the country hasn’t seen so many men in white stockings since the court of Charles I. This surprising new fad is unlikely to be a coded welcome to Prince Harry. So what can be the reasoning behind the decision of four separate Premiership Clubs to choose socks for away-day matches in a colour which might fairly be considered junior schoolish? If not downright netballish.   Ever since professionalism, kit in rugby has been an issue.  This is partly because as an amateur sport rugby had

    Oct 09,