Ian Malin

Author's posts

Aston Villa face task of keeping Jack Grealish after Wembley agony | Ian Malin

No 26 did not deliver destiny for Villa in Championship play-off final, and now Steve Bruce has problems preparing for another promotion tiltSurely football’s gods would not deny Aston Villa this time: 26 May was the 36th anniversary of the club’s…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2018/may/27/aston-villa-jack-grealish-steve-bruce-championship-play-off-final-agony

England 15-24 Ireland: how the Six Nations players at Twickenham rated

Jacob Stockdale shone once again to set up Ireland’s victory, while England’s veterans struggled and look headed for the exitAnthony Watson 5 A miserable two weeks, that yellow card in Paris followed by an unlucky part in Ringrose’s try before he was c…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/mar/17/england-15-24-ireland-how-the-six-nations-players-at-twickenham-rated

France 22-16 England: how the players rated in the Six Nations game

French danger man Maxime Machenaud lived up to his billing, while an out-of-sorts George Ford was substitutedHugo Bonneval 5 Couldn’t repeat his thrilling form against Italy after departing for a head injury assessment. He didn’t return after the break…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/mar/10/france-england-player-ratings-six-nations

Scotland 25-13 England: how the players rated in the Six Nations

Finn Russell produced a brilliant performance under scrutiny, while Joe Launchbury was one of England’s few bright sparksStuart Hogg 6 The full-back did not have the chance to make too many counterattacks but gave a steady display and was a rock in def…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/feb/24/scotland-england-player-ratings-six-nations

Seven-try England overwhelm Scotland as Ireland power past Wales

• Scotland 8-43 England• Ireland 35-12 Wales | France 57-0 ItalyEngland’s surge to another grand slam continued in Glasgow on Friday as they scored seven tries to overwhelm their opponents on another difficult night for the Scots. A much-changed side w…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/feb/23/scotland-england-womens-six-nations-rugby-union

England 12-6 Wales: how the players rated in the Six Nations

Jonny May gave England the perfect start and Owen Farrell left a mark with some thumping tackles. Josh Navidi and Ross Moriarty shone for Wales, despite defeatMike Brown 7/10 Much improved after an edgy display in Rome. Was more of an attacking threat …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/feb/10/england-wales-player-ratings-six-nations

England run rampant against Wales in Women’s Six Nations

• England 52-0 Wales• Ellie Kildunne, 18, scores England’s best tryEngland’s women are on course for another grand slam. In miserable conditions at the Stoop they ran in eight tries against a Wales side every bit as outclassed as they had been in losin…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/feb/10/england-wales-womens-six-nations-match-report

Wales 34-7 Scotland: how the players rated in the Six Nations game

Aaron Shingler was the man of the match for Wales, a massive physical presence in a dominant back row. For Scotland there were few stars in a disappointing displayLeigh Halfpenny 6/10 The full-back had not scored a try for Wales for five years but cros…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/feb/03/wales-scotland-how-players-rated-six-nations

Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje set to make Saracens return in England boost

• Fit-again pair likely to be in Sarries squad to face Wasps next weekend• They will be joined by Nathan Earle at England’s two-day training campEddie Jones has received a boost before the Six Nations, with the news that Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje a…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/dec/31/return-billy-vunipola-maro-itoje-saracens-boost-england

Brian ‘Stack’ Stevens obituary

England rugby international with a reputation for hard forward playEnglish victories against the All Blacks in New Zealand are rare events and the win in Auckland on 15 September 1973 turned the world of rugby union upside down. To say the England team…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/13/brian-stack-stevens-obituary

British & Irish Lions series man marks

Maro Itoje and Sean O’Brien were outstanding performers in a squad of players that showed up strongly across three Tests and seven other tour matches

Greig Laidlaw

Related: Lions and All Blacks fight to a standstill after the most intense battle | Andy Bull

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/09/british-irish-lions-series-man-marks

New Zealand 15-15 British & Irish Lions: third Test player ratings

Maro Itoje was immense for the Lions and Owen Farrell held his nerve, but Beauden Barrett was wasteful and Jerome Kaino could have cost the All Blacks

Jordie Barrett, full-back 9/10 Beauden’s little brother was as solid as a rock under the high ball and his first-half try, after his key part in the first, gave New Zealand a lead they really should have held on to.

Related: Lions and All Blacks tie thrilling final Test and series

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/08/lions-all-blacks-third-test-auckland-ratings

Joost van der Westhuizen obituary

One of rugby’s greatest scrum-halves who played a vital role in the historic 1995 World Cup final against the All Blacks

The 1995 World Cup final was the most momentous game in the history of rugby union, the match that helped unite Nelson Mandela’s new South Africa. At the heart of the Springboks’ 15-12 victory over the side many consider to be the greatest ever New Zealand team was the scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen. Van der Westhuizen is perhaps second only to Wales’s Gareth Edwards in the pantheon of leading scrum-halves.

Van der Westhuizen, who has died of motor neurone disease aged 45, gave the pass that June day in Johannesburg for Joel Stransky to kick his winning drop-goal in extra time. But it was his tackle on the fearsome Jonah Lomu, who was in full flight, that sticks in the memory and at the game’s final scrum close to the All Blacks’ try-line it was Van der Westhuizen who was helping push the New Zealand pack backwards as the seconds ticked away.

Related: Joost van der Westhuizen will be remembered for inspirational spirit and dignity | Robert Kitson

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/06/joost-van-der-westhuizen-obituary