Having seen its rugby union correspondent of 28 years retire, now The Times is about to discard its long-standing rugby league correspondent.
Leeds-based Chris Irvine has been working for the newspaper since 1992, and has been The Times‘s rugby league correspondent since 1995.
Irvine’s appointment came just before Sky Sports revolutionised the game in Britain with the introduction of Super League from 1996. Now, the coverage of the game in the newspaper seems uncertain.
Irvine, 48, has covered two or three games a week and filed interviews and features for The Times for the last 15 years. His contract expires after he covers the Four Nations’ tournament in Australia in November.
The Times is not the only up-market national paper to have scaled down its coverage of rugby league: the Daily Telegraph has barely covered the sport for the past two years.
Irvine’s departure comes as part of further cuts at The Times, where rugby union correspondent David Hands has taken retirement, and racing writer Julian Muscat and at least three other sports desk staff, plus a member of the website’s sports staff, are also understood to have left.