The Jaguares’ Martin Landajo in action against the Toyota Cheetahs at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Photograph: Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images

There’s one major lesson I learned as the scores rolled in last weekend. Political parties are no different from a myriad of sporting organisations. (...)

England’s Mike Brown grabs the shirt of Ireland’s Josh van der Flier during the Six Nations match at Twickenham. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

If you can stop Billy Vunipola you can stop England. But when there are two Vunipolas on the pitch it’s almost impossible. The English number eight is(...)

England’s prop Mako Vunipola catches the ball during the Italy amatch at the Olympic stadium in Rome. Photograph: Getty Images

Mako Vunipola has the best hands in rugby, well certainly of any forward and definitely of any prop in world rugby – he’s on the bench and will impact(...)

Maxime Medard celebrates his try against Ireland with French team-mate Maxime Machenaud during the Six Nations match at  Stade de France. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

A Dublin taxi driver from a strong soccer background told me his grandson came home from his first rugby training session with three simple rugby prin(...)

Seán O’Brien lies injured on the Stade de France turf. The flanker’s substitution was a big blow to Ireland. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Statistics, unfortunately, can confuse. I expected to witness very clever Irish actions on Saturday to cause French ‘reaction’, especially from their(...)

France’s Virimi Vakatawa is held up by Italy’s Gonzalo Garcia at the Stade De France. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Expect to witness very clever Irish actions that will incite French reaction, especially from the Fijian number 11 Virimi Vakatawa. I was filled full (...)

Simon Zebo tries to break free from Welsh tacklers at Aviva Stadium. “Scotland wax lyrical at their man Stuart Hogg but Zebo has better lines and given more opportunity can cut any defence apart.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

So we were all wrong; the toughest 20 days of Joe Schmidt’s journey began yesterday with a draw to Wales; it could have been better but it could have (...)

Wales’s Justin Tipuric can read space and attack it like few forwards in the game. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

The toughest 20 days of Joe Schmidt’s journey begins on Sunday; Wales at home, France in Paris six days hence with England away by day 20. All to be d(...)

Andrew Trimble is supported by Craig Gilroy during the Champions Cup match against Oyonnax: Ulster bring their wingers into the game at every  opportunity. Photo:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

With eight days to go to the Six Nations I wonder about Ireland. Is it style first, then player selection? Or is it the other way around? Why is this (...)

Empty spaces evident at Thomond Park as Ian Keatley attempts a conversion against Stade Francais last week. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Arnold Schwarzenegger claims that “legends are not born”. The Austrian should know; as a professional bodybuilder and winner of Mr Universe at 20 alo(...)