New Zealand captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter  with the Webb Ellis Cup after the All Blacks’ victory over  Australia at Twickenham. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Not like this. That’s what Dan Carter thought when writhing in agony on home soil four years ago. It can’t end at a training session on the eve of the(...)

So close: Australia’s head coach Michael Cheika  walks past the the Webb Ellis Cup after Saturday’s final. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Australia come out of this World Cup a stronger force than they went in. New Zealand are automatically weakened by the loss of Richie McCaw, Dan Carte(...)

New Zealand’s fly half Dan Carter takes part in a kicker’s training session at London’s Twickenham Stadium on the eve of the Rugby World Cup 2015 final between Australia and New Zealand. Photo: Martin Bureau/Getty Images

Anyone with even a passing interest in rugby has a Dan Carter moment. There are hundreds of examples of his thrilling brilliance, dozens of near perfe(...)

David Campese breaks for Australia during the 1991 Rugby World Cup semi-final. Australia beat New Zealand 16-6. Photograph: Getty

Next Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand should prove a fitting climax for what has been - bar home nation disappointme(...)

 Rob Kearney scores against the All Blacks: “It’s very hard to find a weakness but they are beatable. Ireland players know this now.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 5:12

So the million dollar question: should Ireland coach an offloading policy at this World Cup? I don’t think you can. You are either intuitively good(...)

Paul O’Connell  leads the Ireland Captain’s Run at  Aviva Stadium ahead of Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match against  Wales. Photograph:  Ryan Byrne/Inpho 2:54

Paul O’Connell has refused to get sidetracked by what he calls “the long goodbye”. As the Irish captain prepares to line out against Wales on Saturda(...)

All Black captain Richie McCaw is expected to retire after the 2015 World Cup. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

The luxury of selecting an extended All Blacks squad as he fine-tunes his final World Cup preparations has also allowed coach Steve Hansen to cast his(...)

Ulster Rugby’s new signing Charles Piutau. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

All Blacks loose forward Jerome Kaino and outside back Charles Piutau will miss the rest of the Super Rugby season after being injured over the weeken(...)

All Black Aaron Cruden will miss the World Cup after injuring his knee. Photograph: Getty

All Blacks fly-half Aaron Cruden is almost certain to miss the World Cup after scans revealed the need for knee surgery that will sideline him for at (...)

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has a word with his outhalf Ian Keatley at training this morning. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 0:48

About two years ago the penny dropped in New Zealand that Dan Carter was mortal. So began the quest to anoint his long term successor, which seemed fo(...)