Robinson's Power Play Must Beat Lions Curse; RUGBY

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THE Year of the Lion has been particularly unkind to England and the portents for the Six Nations championship, which starts tomorrow, suggest that Andy Robinson and his injury-ravaged squad should be prepared for more of the same.

In the 15 years that have seen British and Irish Lions tours since the Second World War, England have won only one grand slam, a championship and a triple crown.

Twelve barren years are a poor return and a Six Nations opener against a buoyant Wales in Cardiff tomorrow is a cause for concern.

Wales will not win the championship but their free-running style will be worry all their opponents.

Ireland are rightly favourites, closely followed in the betting stakes by France, leaving England to fret about another third-place finish.

That is where Sir Clive Woodward's tired England players finished last season - their worst showing since the championship was expanded to six teams.

Woodward waved goodbye last summer to clear the decks for an assault on New Zealand as the Lions head coach this summer. …


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