Mathieu Bastareaud: “Bastareaud will come charging down the 10 channel . . . defending this shouldn’t be Johnny Sexton.” Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP.

How far back do I go in my homework for France in Cardiff? Their performances in the last Six Nations where they won two and lost three? Or should I s(...)

 Dave Kearney is tackled by two Italian defenders  during the  Pool D match  at the Olympic Stadium in London. Photo:  David Rogers/Getty Images

There’s no doubt in my mind that Ireland’s intensity will be vastly improved come France in Cardiff. The main question in departing the Olympic Stadiu(...)

Italian scrumhalf Edoardo Gori did test the Canadian fringe but I fancy Ireland will not leak as easily.  Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP

For the third weekend running events in other grounds are tearing my attention from Ireland where my PhD is progressing on English decision- making(...)

England captain Chris Robshaw and head coach Stuart Lancaster face the media after their defeat to Wales at Twickenham. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Ten days into the tournament and one could do a PhD on decision-making and psychology. Think of Japan beating South Africa or the Welsh medical sta(...)

 England coach Stuart Lancaster has taken a big risk by omitting outhalf George Ford for the vital clash with Wales.  Photo:  David Rogers/Getty

Three quarters of the way through England’s opening game against Fiji, Stuart Lancaster made a huge call. On 62 minutes he summoned his quarter back a(...)

Luke Fitzgerald was impressive for Ireland at 12 against Canada. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

What a start. Twickenham was bursting at the seams on Friday night. Standing pitchside, the Fijians swarmed around taking pictures of the crowd, engag(...)

 Canada in their World Cup warm-up against Fiji. Both sides will struggle to contain their opponents at the breakdown. Photograph: Ker Robertson/Getty Images

What is motivating French No 8 Louis Picamoles? I’m not privy to his body fat numbers, but the vastly slimmer Picamoles, having lost none of his explo(...)

Liam Toland (centre), Mick Galwey, Paul Wallace, Craig Chalmers and Zinzan Brooke enjoy a well deserved swim in Galway after stage four of the Rugby Legends Cycle

What does one do the week before the Rugby World Cup begins? Well, for the Irish squad I’m sure there’s plenty of last-minute preparation but for the (...)

England’s speed at the breakdown allowed them to put pressure on Ireland’s backs, particularly Simon Zebo. Photograph: Afp

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; England’s one, two, three versus Ireland’s one, two, three, four, five – when punctuated wit(...)

 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.(...)