France warm up for the game against Canada. “The World Cup is really something special in France.  It’s a competition that works well with the French for some reason.” Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters

And so it has come to pass pretty much exactly as expected. France were long ago cast as 18/1 outsiders, incapable of finishing in the top half of the(...)

Ireland winger  Tommy Bowe scores a try against France in 2012. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

2012 Six Nations Championship France 17 Ireland 17, Stade de France This was the first draw between the sides since 1985 and represented (...)

Argentina are jubilant after beating host nation France 17-12 in the opening game of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Getty

More often than not the first game of the Rugby World Cup is a ceremonial affair, giving the host nation the chance to get an early win under their be(...)

Toulon celebrate winning the European Champions Cup after beating Clermont Auvergne at Twickenham on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho.

So Toulon are entitled to be labelled the European Cup’s greatest ever team? For a club which only competed in one Heineken Cup prior to its current t(...)

Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip is included on the EPCR longlist along with teammate Ian Madigan.

Jamie Heaslip and Ian Madigan have been included among the initial 15 nominees for the European Player of the Year after the conclusion of the group s(...)

Clermont’s Wesley Fofana puts in a tackle on Munster’s Peter O’Mahony. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Clermont Auvergne 26 Munster 19Regrets they’ll have a few after suffering their first back-to-back defeats but there was no shame in Munster’s defeat (...)

Munster’s Paul O’Connell is tackled by Clermont Auvergne’s Wesley Fofana during the 2013 Heineken Cup semi final. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Every club has its own DNA. People won’t necessarily talk about it but everyone around the place knows it and feels it. From watching and playing agai(...)

Racing Metro’s Jonathan Sexton during yesterday’s match against Treviso. Photograph:
Pierre Teyssot/AFP/Getty Images

Jonathan Sexton kicked 16 points as Racing Metro defeated Benetton Treviso 26-10 at Stadio Comunale di Mongio yesterday. The Ireland outhalf was on ta(...)

Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip tries to keep possession against Castres Olympique at the Stade Pierre Antoine yesterday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective, and it’s left Leinster sitting pretty. The only away team to win in the Stade Pierre Antoine last season, Lein(...)

 Aurelien Rougerie of ASM Clermont Auvergne was among three France internationals violently attacked  with ‘knives, machetes and sabres’.  Photograph:   Harry Engels/Getty Images

French rugby is in shock after it emerged three Clermont Auvergne players were hospitalised following an attack by a gang armed with “bladed weapon(...)