The  physicality of the collisions  in international rugby is breathtaking  but so too the athletic prowess,  as demonstrated here by  Australia’s Kurtley Beale, who beats team-mate Israel Folau and Ireland’s Rob Kearney to the ball at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

One truth comes screaming out of this week’s debate about the use of strength-enhancing substances in rugby union: even the insiders are slightly bewi(...)

 Irish players warm up in the Keep Rugby Clean IRB Anti-doping tee shirts before the 2014 Junior World Championship match against Fiji  in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Jason Oxenham/Getty

Within the last 18 months, one of the Irish provinces made contact with the Irish Sports Council regarding one of their players. The player had made h(...)

Munster’s Billy Holland wins a lineout in the Guinness Pro12  game against Ulster at Thomond Park, where the north and south terrace was closed. Photograph:    Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Perception is, perhaps, everything. Coming hard on the heels of defeats to Glasgow and a second-string Ulster at the tail end of last season were l(...)

Sergio Aguero celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s third and matchwinning goal last night. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
The Morning Sports Briefing
  • Sport
  • November 26, 2014, 08:32

The Champions League returned last night and it certainly didn’t disappoint, a smash and grab Manchester City victory over Bayern Munich keeping their(...)

Referee Luke Pearce kept control of the decision and did his job correctly in sending off Tom Court against Leinster. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The next challenge for the Pro 12 is to eradicate the sloppy officiating that has become all too evident in recent months. Referees are not the proble(...)

Munster’s Dave Kilcoyne celebrates his try against Toulouse in the quarter-final. “Munster have a handful of young guys who can change everything if they grab their chance on Saturday. Dave Kilcoyne, Dave Foley, Tommy O’Donnell, Ian Keatley – these are the kind of guys who have to do it.” Photograph: Inpho

All week you will hear people talking about the job Munster have on their hands against Toulon this weekend. Somewhere along the way, you are a(...)

John Afoa of Ulster crashes into Leicester’s Graham Kitchener in the Heineken Cup game at Welford Road. Photograph: Andrew Fosker/ Inpho/Presseye

There’s something a little bit different about the quarter-final line-up in the Heineken Cup that sets it apart from other years. It’s not often we re(...)

Referee George Clancy checks with the TMO before awarding Gordon D’Arcy’s  try against Connacht. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

It’s been yet another tough weekend for the men in the middle, particularly for the Irish referees in charge of the derbies at Ravenhill and the Sp(...)

 Northampton Saints’ Ken Pisi is tackled by Leinster’s Dave Kearney last weekend. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

At the Aviva on Saturday, the ferocity and physicality really stood out. It really made a mockery of the idea put forward by some English journalists (...)

The Connacht team before last weekend’s stunning 16-14 victory away to Toulouse. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

With all four Irish provinces winning on the weekend, it would be easy to get carried away. Connacht’s win was incredible, Leinster were as ruthless a(...)