Jared Payne: “I’m pretty passionate about it, seeing the environment Ireland have created over the last three years. It is something I want to be a part of.” Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The Jared Payne story need not temper optimism.That was put to Joe Schmidt yesterday: has his optimism been tempered by so many injuries and the Spri(...)

Munster prop David Kilcoyne after scoring his side’s try in the European Rugby Champions Cup game against Saracens at Thomond Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Munster 14 Saracens 3New tournament, same old Munster and now same old Thomond Park as well. After a few hiccups hereabouts in the league towards the (...)

Danny Cipriani of England breaks clear with the ball during the match between the Crusaders and England at the AMI Stadium. Photograph by David Rogers/Getty Images

England registered a first victory on their tour of New Zealand with Danny Cipriani pressing his claim against a weakened Crusaders for a place on the(...)

Toulon’s Matt Giteau scores a try despite the tackle of Saracens’ Richard Wigglesworth during the Heineken Cup Final at the  Millennium Stadium in  Cardiff. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

RC Toulon 23 Saracens 6: The new superpower in the European game duly emulated Leicester (2000-01) and Leinster (2011-12) by retaining the Heineken Cu(...)

England outhalves past and present will meet in form of Saracens’ Owen Farrell, left, and Jonny Wilkinson of Toulon when the two clubs meet in this afternoon’s Heineken cup final in Cardiff. 
Photographs: David Rogers/Getty Images

So this is it then. The last Heineken Cup final does not so much look like a fitting summation of the last 19 years as a foretaste of the new order. T(...)

Owen Farrell of Saracens celebrates after scoring the third try of  the Heineken Cup semi-final against Clermont Auvergne at Twickenham. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

Saracens 46 Clermont Auvergne 6 Rampant Sarac(...)

Director of Rugby Mark McCall talks to the media during the Saracens press conference at Twickenham. Photograph:  Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Saracens’ chances of reaching the Heineken Cup final for the first time have been given a major boost after Clermont Auvergne captain Aurelien(...)

The ERC press release accompanying the decision to suspend Jared Payne for the tackle against Alex Goode of Saracens that resulted in the Ulster fullback’s red card came with the wording that Payne  had been red-carded for “an alleged dangerous charge (sic)”, rather than tackling, tapping, pushing or pulling. This was, effectively, a new one. Photograph: Brian Little/Inpho/Presseye

Here’s a question. Supposing Jared Payne and Alex Goode made the exact same runs as when they collided last Saturday week in Ravenhill, which r(...)

Steffon Armitage of Toulon charges upfield during the Heineken Cup quarter final match against  Leinster at the Felix Mayol Stadium. Armitage’s sheer size caused Leinster all sorts of problems at the breakdown. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images)

Last Saturday I found myself in London Wasps’ training ground with Rosie Foley and 11 tag rugby players drawn from Limerick’s Southside Clasp ((...)

Ulster will decide today whether to appeal the two-week suspension Jared Payne received for the “reckless act” that injured Al(...)