When the word is mentioned, Keven Mealamu and Sam Whitelock inhale deeply, glance down at their feet for a second, then lock eyes with the one guarant(...)

New Zealand’s Jerome Kaino scores his side’s first try during the Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa at Twickenham. Photograph:  David Davies/PA

New Zealand 20 South Africa 18 “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves,” - Edmund Hillary For the ages. The greatest team of all time met an(...)

Daniel Carter passes the ball during a New Zealand training session at London Irish in London. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images United Kingdom. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

There’s an aura about them alright. When the All Blacks make a team announcement it’s big news, and Steve Hansen was in his element when a huge media (...)

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen speaks during a  media session at the Oatlands Park hotel in Weybridge. Photograph:  Phil Walter/Getty Images

Steve Hansen doesn’t play the media game, he envelopes it with hard-nosed Kiwi honesty. This was a masterclass. The New Zealand coach quickly state(...)

 London Irish owner Mick Crossan fronted the consortium that bought the club in 2013. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Mick Crossan specialises in the recycling business, literally and figuratively. By vocation he runs Powerday, the leading industrial waste-management (...)

England and Saracens lock George Kruis could be out for Munster’s vital Champions Cup fixture after he was cited for a tip tackle on Gloucester’s David Halaifonua. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The Saracens and England second row George Kruis may miss the start of the Six Nations after being cited for a tip tackle on the Gloucester wing David(...)

Richie McCaw, the All Black captain, who will make his record breaking 134th appearance for the All Blacks with coach Steve Hansen at Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa. Photograph: Getty Images

Richie McCaw has put the historic achievement of breaking the All Blacks appearances record out of his mind as he focuses on leading New Zealand to vi(...)

Captain Richie McCaw  scores one of his two tries  against Australia and is  congratulated by teammates Aaron Cruden (left) and Aaron Smith during their second Bledisloe Cup rugby championship match at Eden Park in Auckland. Photograph: Nigel Marple / Reuters

New Zealand 51 Australia 20 New Zealand laid down a Rugby Championship marker as they beat Australia 51-20 at Eden Park to retain the Bledisloe Cup. T(...)

Ross Molony and Jack O’Donoghue will be key men for Ireland Under-20s against England in their Junior World Cup semi-final in North Harbour, New Zealand. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The Ringrose clan, St Michael’s College and UCD can take the most satisfaction from this odyssey. That’s what any journey to the penultimate stages o(...)

Paul O’Connell and his team-mates show their devastation after the final whistle. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

The one that got away alright. From trepidation, to hope, to excitement, to belief intermingled with continuing doubt, to genuine belief, and then dej(...)