Michael Leitch

26 results

Japan celebrate their win over Ireland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Relive Irish misery and Japanese joy in reverse. Last year provided a fascinating study in how everything can go wrong when a sports team is unequippe(...)

Jamie Ritchie is tackled by Seán O’Brien and Conor Murray during last year’s Six Nations game at Murrayfield. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Maybe Jim Telfer is mellowing with age – after all, he’ll be 80 on St Patrick’s Day – but when the old sage speaks about the dog in Jamie Ritchie he d(...)

Japan’s Michael Leitch  and Yu Tamura  celebrate victory over Scotland in Yokohama,  Japan. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Hanpa nai! The Japan rugby team have come screaming from the edges of expectation and reason to make this Rugby World Cup their own coming-out party. (...)

Japan’s wing Kenki Fukuoka scores a try during the  Rugby World Cup Pool A match against  Scotland at the International Stadium in Yokohama. Photograph:  Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

Japan 28 Scotland 21 Some days a country is unbeatable. Ireland against England under Croke Park’s glare in 2007. New Zealand the week after any All (...)

 Michael Leitch and Fumiaki Tanaka of Japan celebrate  following the  Group A victory over Ireland. Photograph:  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Japan are now a serious factor at their own 2019 World Cup. The conditions and the scheduling already in their favour, now, thanks to a brilliantly pl(...)

Japan lock Luke Thompson is tackled by Johnny Sexton and CJ Stander during the Rugby World Cup Pool A game at the Ecopa stadium in  Shizuoka. Photograph:   Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

On the crowded Keio train down to the main afternoon billing, the Australians weren’t talking about what to expect from the Welsh. They were still tra(...)

Japan players celebrate victory   after the final whistle of the Pool A game against Ireland  at the Ecopa stadium in Shizuoka. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Japan 19 Ireland 12 As feared, the mental and emotional dynamics of this game were in sharp contrast to last week’s respective opening wins over Russ(...)

Japan skipper  Michael Leitch and Fumiaki Tanaka  celebrate the victory over Ireland at the Ecopa stadium in Shizuoka. Photograph:  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The fireworks that shook the concrete. Japan have their Genoa moment to follow Stuttgart. They have their David O’Leary to put beside Ray Houghton as (...)

Japan celebrate after their famous win over Ireland in Shizuoka. Photograph: Jiji Press/EPA

Back to earth with a bump. A week after they got their Rugby World Cup campaign off to a flying start against Scotland, Ireland are firmly back in the(...)

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is seen in the stand during the Rugby World Cup clash with Japan. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Damaging definitely, but necessarily disastrous. In the light of Ireland’s 19-12 defeat by an inspired Japan, they’ve slipped to second in Pool A, but(...)

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