The signing of Mils Muliaina from the Waikato Chiefs is a clear statement of intent, not only by Connacht  themselves, but by the IRFU. Photograph:  Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

Ever since the IRFU proposed shutting them down as a professional entity 11 years ago, Connacht have been a tad paranoid about the governing body’s in(...)

Toulon Rugby owner Mourad Boudjellal   celebrates  his team’s Heineken Cup quarter-final victory over Leinster at the Felix Mayol Stadium in Toulon. Photo:  David Rogers/Getty Images)

The essence is in part aspirational, a glossy, Panini sticker-album feel, to the playing roster at Toulon. Club president and multi-millionaire(...)

 Leinster’s Shane Jennings in action against Munster last Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Team sport often comes down to a series of individual tussles within the framework of a match. Rugby is no differ(...)

Simon Zebo gets a GPS unit inserted in the pouch in his training jersey

The game is whistled to a stop. All eyes are on the referee as he asks the TMO to replay an incident on the stadium’s big screen. A team analyst conti(...)

Leinster’s Aaron Dundon gets the ball away during a Pro-12 match against Ulster in December. Photographs: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Sometimes life takes a turn for the better and 10 years later you are some place you never dreamed you would be. Aaron Dundon understands. Out of the (...)

 Conor Murray scores a try for Ireland against New Zealand last month. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

With confirmation that Conor Murray has signed up for another two years, the IRFU can turn their attention to the other six international contracts th(...)

All Blacks Kieran Read, Steve Hansen (head coach), Richie McCaw and Sam Whitelock celebrate after their victory over South Africa at Ellis Park Johannesburg on October 5th, 2013. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty

Ireland have never beaten New Zealand in a test match, they of the haka and famed black kit. What makes the All Blacks different?New Zealand’s record (...)

James Hart and Racing Metro coach Ronan O’Gara after Grenoble’s 22-20 victory last weekend in Paris.

The great American football coach Vince Lombardi once observed that “the price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determi(...)

The half-time speech is a an integral weapon in every manager’s armoury.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Armagh played Kerry in the 2002 All-Ireland football final. By half-time, they were going down the swanee. They’d lost John McEntee to concussion. Ois(...)

Brian O’Driscoll went back on the pitch during the Six Nations game against France last season despite having stitches to a wound in his ear, suffering a dead leg and reportedly after a  concussion. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Ireland’s Six Nations match against France in March of this year was compelling and curious in a number of ways, not least of all that the paths of B(...)