George North of Northampton Saints receives treatment after scoring a try and colliding with Nathan Hughes of Wasps during the Aviva Premiership match between Northampton Saints and Wasps at Franklin’s Gardens on March 27th, 2015. Photo: Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Lions coach said that if Welshman is ever to play again he must be deemed 100 per cent fit

New Zealand’s Sam Cane escaped punishment for his tackle on Robbie Henshaw which ended the Leinster centre’s involvement in the recent Autumn International at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Billy Stickland/ Inpho

Referee Appointments Administrator says safety of players is main concern

Guinness Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 26/11/2016Ireland vs Australia Ireland's Garry Ringrose scores his sides second tryMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Ireland centre scored first international try and brought reminders of great O’Driscoll

Australia head coach Micharl Cheika: “You can’t win a test match giving away that many penalties or that big a difference between the two teams. Impossible.” Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Yet again, officials find themselves isolated and under the spotlight after match

 Ireland’s Mary Healy struggles to get to grips with with Aotearoa Mata’u of New Zealand. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland’s women well beaten by New Zealand to end poor autumn series

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt: “It’s certainly one of the proudest days that I have been on the periphery of a team. They showed immense character.” Photo: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Ireland coach reflects on one of his ‘proudest days’ after win over Australia

Gavin Cummiskey rates Joe Schmidt and his team’s individual performances in the victory over Australia

Wallabies lose out in Dublin but there were some eye-catching performances from the visitors

Michael Cheika: “We have been told that we can’t talk about that in public, because they don’t want the interpretations being done in public. That’s the edict they have given us we can’t say anything about it, we’d love to but we are not allowed to. I don’t want to get myself in any strife.” Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

“It’s something I will be dealing with Alain Rolland afterwards. And see if we can get something out of it. But I doubt it.”

Joe Schmidt:   Ireland and Michael Cheika’s Australia  clash in the Aviva Stadium at 5.30pm on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Two giants of the game honed their skills at the province on the way to the top

Keith Earls: “I’ve taken rugby in a completely different way now because of Axel’s death.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Versatile Munster winger will win his 54th cap for Ireland against Australia

Rob Kearney starts for Ireland against Australia on Saturday. Photograph: Inpho/ Billy Stickland

Joe Schmidt makes two unforced changes as Keith Earls and Iain Henderson come in

Australia head coach Michael Cheika with assistant Mick Byrne. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Wallaby coach Mick Byrne has imparted his expertise all around world, Leinster included

Ireland’s Sean O’Brien leaves the pitch after Ireland’s defeat to New Zealand. Photo: Inpho

Michael Cheika knows all about flanker’s destructive power from his Leinster days

 Michael Cheika believes Saturday’s clash against Ireland in Dublin will be the biggest game of Australia’s tour. Photograph: Getty/Dan Mullan

‘We are resetting today and saying this is going to be the biggest game of the tour’

A rampaging Seán O’Brien gets away from Beauden Barrett at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Tadhg Furlong and Josh van der Flier were inspired by example set by returning flanker

Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip was outstanding in the defeat to New Zealand. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey gives his verdict on individual performances of Joe Schmidt’s side

Beauden Barrett  runs away from the tackle of Ireland’s Conor Murray to score New Zealand’s third try during the match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:    Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

They came with revenge on their mind and some of their big names were on top form

The Ireland players form a ring around Joe Schmidt at the Aviva Stadium as the head coach delivers instructions. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland all about plan, process and performance as they front up to All Blacks again

Ireland scrum coach and former All Black Greg Feek who led haka at Lansdowne Road in 2001. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

New Zealand will use first anniversary of Jonah Lomu’s death as spur against Ireland

Ireland Women coach Tom Tierney has left Larissa Muldoon and veteran prop Ailis Egan in his reserves for the match against Canada. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Tierney leaves veterans on bench to give Nichola Fryday and Anna Caplice their debut

The late Jonah Lomu leaves the pitch after playing Ireland in the 1995 RugbyWorld Cup. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

All Black legend passed away one year ago aged 40 - his legacy still inspires their captain

Tadhg Furlong  is tackled by Aaron Smith of New Zealand during the  match  at Soldier Field  in Chicago. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

‘It is hard to believe I would be in this situation a year ago but . . . I worked really hard’

 Sean O’Brien and Rory Best with Peter O’Mahony at Ireland training on Thursday morning. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Conor Murray passed fit as Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson come into matchday squad

New Zealand’s Owen Franks during a press conference at the Castleknock Hotel, Dublin. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The All Blacks have arrived in Dublin and are ready to put right the result at Soldier Field

Ultan Dillane scores Ireland’s  fifth try in the game against Canada at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey’s looks at how Joe Schmidt’s new-look side fared against Canada

Seán O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony in action against Canada at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Seán O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony come back into head coach’s planning ahead of New Zealand Part II

Maori All Blacks’ Ash Dixon leaves the pitch after his side was defeated by Munster at Thomond Park. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Colin Cooper paid tribute to Munster and the rugby culture so apparent at Thomond Park

New Zealand scrumhalf Sid Going gets in his kick despite the attentions of Ireland’s Sean Lynch and Fergus Slattery during the 1973 game which ended  10-10. Photograph:   Dermot O’Shea

Ex-players recall incidents from match that was played in troubled times 43 years ago

Munster’s Darren Sweetnam celebrates scoring their third try in the game against  Maori All Blacks at Thomond Park.   Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Packed Thomond Park witnesses another stirring occasion as old school wins through

James Lowe of the Maori All Blacks runs in for a try in their victory over the USA Eagles. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Maori All Blacks are effectively shadow New Zealand squad but still contain big threats

Billy Holland: “I grew up with my father being involved with Munster, I love Munster and  Irish rugby and everything it represents.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Jerry Holland had been on Ireland’s hugely controversial tour of apartheid South Africa

Garry Ringrose will make his international debut for Ireland in the November Test against Canada. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Joe Schmidt has opted for completely changed team to that which beat New Zealand

 Rob Kearney “He pulled me aside before the game and he said, ‘You need a big one today.’ It wasn’t ideal, but it was good.” Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland fullback delighted - and relieved - to pay back the faith placed in him by Joe Schmidt

Ireland’s Conor Murray celebrates scoring their third try against the All Blacks in Soldier Field: “He is a physical man. He is big for a nine. That’s what makes him world class.”  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland scrumhalf shows he is outstanding all-rounder in victory over All Blacks

  Josh van der Flier and Ultan Dillane  celebrate beating the All Blacks. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Next generation stand up to the All Blacks on field of dreams

CJ Stander was seen as being too small to play for South Africa, and now he has beaten the All Blacks with Ireland. Photograph: Inpho

The man too small to be a Springbok pays tribute to Foley after felling the All Blacks

Fullback Ben Smith was one of the All Blacks’ best performers at Soldier Field - but often came off second best in the air against Ireland’s Rob Kearney. Photograph: Inpho

18 and out: Gaving Cummiskey rates Steve Hansen’s side after their first defeat of 2016

Ireland’s Conor Murray scores their third try. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

A perfect 10 for scrum half Conor Murray on a day all the Irish players excelled

 Dejected New Zealand players look on following their team’s 40-29 defeat during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Steve Hansen: “Makes up for the last time when they probably should have won”

Richie McCaw of Team Cure Kids mountainbikes on Rabbit Island on day one of the GODZone multi day adventure race earlier this year. Photo: Getty Images

Former New Zealand captain now gets kicks from flying helictopers and endurance races

Hundreds of thousands of fans crowd into Grant Park to attend a rally for the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs in Chicago, Illinois. The National League Chicago Cubs defeated the American League Champion Cleveland Indians four games to three in the best of seven game series to claim the title for the first time in 108 years. Photo: EPA

The city remains in a state of celebration after baseball team ended 108-year World Series drought

France’s Jean Marc Doussain is tackled by Ireland’s Jared Payne and CJ Stander. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Jared Payne and CJ Stander were facilitated by the disputed three-year residency rule

Donnacha Ryan in the Grand Salon in Chicago: “It is a novelty, a different, unique environment for us all.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland player relishes unique chance to play All Blacks at Soldier Field in Chicago

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.

Garry Ringrose and Joey Carbery on the bench for test against New Zealand

Ireland’s Conor Murray, Ultan Dillane, Jamie Heaslip and Josh van der Flier strike a pose with the Chicago skyline in the background. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joe Schmidt's side likely to play on America's east coast in June ahead of tour of Japan

Irish captain Willie Anderson faces up to New Zealand captain Wayne Shelford as the All Blacks perform ‘The Haka’. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

‘Why should a side coming to Ireland get the first applause by doing a dance’

Ben Robinson died as a result of second impact syndrome suffered in a match for Carrickfergus Grammar School in Januray 2011.

Karen Walton’s son Benjamin died as result of second-impact syndrome

Ben Robinson died as a result of second impact syndrome suffered in a match for Carrickfergus Grammar School in Januray 2011.

Governing bodies including IRFU and World Rugby named in case in Belfast High Court

Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton reacts after he missed a crucial late penalty  against New Zealand in 2013. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Memories of agonising missed opportunity in 2013 motivate outhalf and squad

Johnny Sexton has confirmed his fitness after he was substituted in Leinster’s Champions Cup defeat to Montpellier. Photograph: Afp

Sexton let Nacewa kick against Montpellier in the knowledge he would not play the full 80

Charismatic centre Bundee Aki  has signed a three-year extension to bring his stay at Connacht up to the summer of 2020. Photograph: Inpho

Kiwi can become a key figure at the 2019 World Cup – for Ireland or Samoa

Tomás O’Leary in European action against Leinster at the Stade Altrad on Sunday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Scrumhalf enjoying new adventure with Montpellier after being let go by Munster

Leinster’s Irish fly-half Jonathan Sexton reacts during the European Rugby Champions Cup rugby match between Montpellier and Leinster at the Altrad stadium in Montpellier, southern France. Photo: Getty Images

Leinster decision to remove Sexton and O’Brien at half-time shows new trend

Leinster’s Luke McGrath goes through during their Champions Cup clash with Montpellier. Photo: Inpho

Leo Cullen’s side at least managed to salvage a bonus point from a scrappy affair in France

Jonathan Sexton: alway a significant addition to any Leinster selection. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Pieces falling into place again for Leo Cullen as O’Brien, Healy and Sexton return

Frans Steyn of Montpellier is tackled by Teimana Harrison of Northampton Saints during the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Northampton Saints and Montpellier at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton, England. Photo: Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Leinster’s opponents backboned by former world champions who face worrying talent drain

Leinster Rugby Head coach Leo Cullen speaks at a press conference ahead of their Champions Cup clash with Montpellier. Photo: Inpho

The Leinster coach spoke about their time as Ireland teammates ahead of trip to France

Anthony Foley of Munster is tackled by Victor Costello of the rest of Ireland during a friendly in 2001. Photo: Andrew Paton/Inpho

The former Ireland international looks back on his rivalry with the man from Killaloe

Exeter Chiefs and Clermont Auvergne respect a minutes silence for Munster coach Anthony Foley before the European Champions Cup, pool five match at Sandy Park, Exeter. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

Donal Lenihan and Len Dinneen were among those to remember the Munster head coach

 Paddy Jackson: Ulster have enough experience to win, but it could need their outhalf  to at least break even with Ian Madigan. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Inpho/Presseye

Ian Madigan knows he is in shop window for Ireland place as Champions Cup kicks off

Leinster captain  Isa Nacewa ran in  the bonus-point  try despite the attempted tackle of Castres’ Robert Ebersohn. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Young outhalf shows off his distribution and off-the-cuff play behind powerful scrum

 Ian Madigan: “I know I am up against it when it comes to (Ireland) selection but if I keep my head down over here, do the best I can do, that’s all I can control.”  Photo: Getty Images

Bordeaux outhalf may be enjoying his new life in France but he still harbours Irish ambitions

Leinster’s Joey Carbery runs in his and Leinster’s second try in their Pro12 clash with Treviso at the RDS. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The Dubliners will need to be on their game to ensure an expected victory over Castres

Ireland and Bordeaux flyhalf Ian Madigan says legal steroids are a perfectly normal part of rugby. Photo: Inpho

Bordeaux player was speaking to The Irish Times ahead of clash with Ulster

Leinster’s Jack McGrath with Robbie Henshaw and Jamison Gibson-Park after their win against Munster in the Pro12. Photo: Inpho

Prop is on a roll for province and country as he enters a busy period of the season

On Ireland staying at Trump Tower, the IRFU said “there was a limited choice of hotels available because of a packaging conference in Chicago that same week.” Photographs: Getty Images

‘Hotel has capacity to house the team’, says IRFU prior to All Blacks game at Soldier Field

James Cronin: A ban would put severe pressure on Munster’s loosehead position,  as Dave Kilcoyne was forced off last weekend against Leinster with concussion. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Player will face suspension of from two weeks to up to 16-plus weeks if found guilty

James Cronin (R) has been cited for a stamp during Munster’s defeat to Leinster. Photograph: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Prop could face lengthy ban after incident with Jamison Gibson-Park

Connacht captain John Muldoon and Michael Swift after the province’s famous win over Toulouse in 2013. Photograph: Inpho

European aristocrats Stade Toulousain return west with the champions lying in wait

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen: is  instructed what number of minutes he can select Ireland players for. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Putting the national team first is all about revenue, but the Pro12 suffers as a result

Republic of Ireland midfielder Wes Hoolahan in action against  Gheorghe Andronic of Moldova during the World Cup qualifier at Stadionul Zimbru in Chisinau. Photograph:  Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey rates Martin O’Neill’s men after their qualifier win in Chisinau

Robbie Henshaw seamlessly slipped back into the groove on his Leinster debut. Photograph: Inpho

Sexton-Henshaw-Ringrose triumverate fires in front of Ireland boss Joe Schmidt

Munster’s Peter O’Mahony is blocked by referee David Wilkinson as Luke McGrath of Leinster runs past. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘It wasn’t like it was good attacking play that led to us giving the 14 points away’

Seamus Coleman’s goal secured a precious three points for Ireland on a turgid night at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Inpho/Morgan Treacy

Captain’s goal gives agricultural hosts a win but performance leaves plenty to be desired

James McClean was one of Ireland’s brighter performers as they scraped past Georgia at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Getty

Gavin Cummiskey rates Martin O’Neill’s side after a scrappy win at the Aviva Stadium

Munster’s CJ Stander: one of those to qualify to play for Ireland under the current three-year rule. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Three-year residency rule has proved very beneficial to Ireland in recent years

EPCR director general Vincent Gaillard at the launch of the  European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup  at Dublin Convention Centre. Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA Wire

EPCR director general Vincent Gaillard hoping new measures will be in place for knockout stages

Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor misses a late free to level the score. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Cillian O’Connor’s contribution impossible to ignore but Robert Hennelly’s selection a disastrous one

Diarmuid Connolly celebrates with the Sam Maguire Cup after Dublin’s victory over Mayo in the All-Ireland SFC Final Replay at Croke Park. Photograph:  Donall Farmer/Inpho

Bench again proves crucial for Jim Gavin’s side as Sam Maguire stays in the capital

Pat McEnaney sends off Liam McHale and Colm Coyle in the 1996 All-Ireland final. Photograph: Inpho

Monaghan man took charge of two more finals but he is forever linked to 1996

Ronan O’Gara believes Racing 92 are struggling to cope with success after winning last year’s Top 14 title. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘You are champions there is a target on your back. You come into a local town and everyone wants to beat you’

Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly with Lee Keegan of Mayo during the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final at Croke Park. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The pair renewed their rivalry at Croke Park with the encounter ending in a stalemate

Aidan O’Shea of Mayo with James McCarthy of Dublin during the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final at Croke Park. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey evaluates the performances of Stephen Rochford’s men

Kevin McLoughlin of Mayo scores an own goal during the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final between Mayo and Dublin at Croke Park. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

A scrappy but enthralling game at Croke Park saw Mayo force a replay late on

Ciarán Kilkenny shoots for Dublin in the 2011 All-Ireland minor final against Tipperary. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

All-Ireland finalists enjoying plentiful harvest having sowed seeds at underage level

Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton with Michael Darragh MacAuley during the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final with Donegal. Photo:  Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Conor Mortimer: You won’t find many more mentally strong than the Dublin goalkeeper

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola at the end of the match. Photo: Carl Recine/Reuters

Boxing is full of fabricated animosity but when the bell rings it really is very primal

Munster man felt it was important to take step back after playing days ended

 Richard Dunne during his days playing for the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ex-international and sport psychologist differ on why Ireland can’t cope with leading

Tipperary manager Michael Ryan: “I wouldn’t have minded what my role was, once you were involved with this group.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Liam MacCarthy win shows other counties that Kilkenny are mortal and can be beaten

Tipperary’s Pádraic Maher: “If we had lost yesterday it would have been very hard to come back.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Fear of losing to Kilkenny drove team but belief saw them through, says Pádraic Maher

Darren Randolph made a number of key stops in Ireland’s 2-2 draw with Serbia. Photograph: Reuters

Gavin Cummiskey rates Martin O’Neill’s side after their agricultural draw in Belgrade

Leinster’s new senior coach Stuart Lancaster. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘I think I come back a better coach now and I think I can give that to Leinster Rugby’

John “Bubbles” O’Dwyer of Tipperary celebrates scoring a goal against Kilkenny at Sunday’s All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Paul Murphy could not contain John O’Dwyer as he continually denied him the ball

Tipperary’s Padraic Maher celebrates after his side beat Kilkenny to win the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship title. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey runs the rule over the 2016 All-Ireland SHC champions

John McGrath scored Tipperary’s second goal in their All-Ireland final victory over Kilkenny at Croke Park. Photograph: Inpho

Brian Cody’s Kilkenny finally dethroned as Michael Ryan’s Tipp run riot at Croke Park

Ruan Pienaar: “I wanted to stay and I know Ulster Rugby did everything it could to keep me in Belfast.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The IRFU must realise that foreign players are good for provinces and for Irish rugby

Tipperary’s John O’Dwyer celebrates his goal against Galway in the semi-final. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Tipperary’s hero of 2010 final believes, if anything, Cats are getting a little stronger

Richie Power, 8-time All-Ireland winner with Kilkenny, joined St Judes club representative Brendan McManamon to officially launch this year’s Volkswagen All-Ireland Junior Hurling Sevens, which will take place in St. Judes GAA club on Saturday 3rd September. Photo: Sportsfile

The eight-time All-Ireland winner with Kilkenny was forced to retire from hurling

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