Simon Zebo is tackled by Scotland’s Seán Lamont during their World Cup Warm-Up match atthe  Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photograph: Inpho

Devin Toner, Paul O’Connell, Iain Henderson, Seán O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip are currently my starting 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 against France on October 11th.(...)

Justin Tipuric is tackled by Ireland’s Iain Henderson on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

On Friday I felt Wales required a bigger performance than Ireland. That certainly arrived and that Ireland couldn’t dictate as they did in Cardiff is (...)

Scotland’s Hugh Blake is tackled by Ireland’s Gordon D’Arcy during the World Cup warm-up match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

As Usain Bolt cantered across the 200m line yesterday I couldn’t help but notice how the great Jamaican transformed a struggling season, spent largely(...)

Australia’s David Pocock is one of the best operators at the breakdown in world rugby. Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

With a slight lull in play this weekend I decided to consult the rule book or should I say ‘World Rugby laws of the game’. With 48 World Cup matches a(...)

Irish captain Sean O’Brien presents the ball during Ireland’s Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, on Saturday.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho 8:14

Two warm-up wins with very close to 100 per cent set piece and eight tries scored (five from backs!) is a very happy return from the 34 players bloode(...)

Ireland’s Chris Henry:   “Watch his early adoption of suitable body position as he puts himself into the ideal entry point over the ball.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho 2:30

Kilkenny’s extraordinary methodology makes hurling a super team sport; so too Joe Schmidt’s rugby but for me it’s off shore sailing epitomised by t(...)

Jamie Heaslip of Ireland charges upfield during the International match between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

So Pool D runners-up will be playing New Zealand on 17th October. Ahhh. But Pool D winners will have the reward of Argentina a day later. Neither Irel(...)

Joe Schmidt with Simon Zebo: ‘Has Zebo  finally learned that Schmidt requires a different feedback in order to get into his starting teams? If he has, then climb on board.’ Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Over the summer I’ve been preoccupied with the OODA Loop. Maybe it’s the various challenges business continually presents that’s encouraged me to O(...)

Glasgow’s Niko Matawalu takes on Ulster’s Jared Payne.  Ian Keatley must recognise Glasgow’s varied set up and create the opportunity to expose Matawalu. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Last weekend provided lots of talking points for all three provinces and Glasgow’s Fijian right wing Nikola Matawalu was right up there. Yes many will(...)

Lansdowne captain Ron Boucher leads the celebrations after victory over Clontarf in the Ulster Bank League Division 1A Final at the  Aviva Stadium.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

While sitting in O’Reilly Hall last Saturday night at the UCD Rugby Club Dinner I couldn’t help but lose myself in elite club rugby once more. On th(...)