France coach Philippe Saint-Andre. “He may  be a practical coach but the French media stone him for his inability to settle upon a team.” Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Only place to begin is at the end of Paris. When the Ides of March were overcome.Sexton had been carted off (not an omen just another reason to avoid (...)

France’s Mathieu Bastareaud  is tackled by Scotland players  during their Six Nations game  at the Stade de France.

Is it any wonder this old Six Nations lark is the envy of the southern hemisphere. The European rugby public annually gather in some of the finest cit(...)

Internal wrangling could see the appointment of a new independent EPCR chairman delayed by a firther five months. (Photograph: INPHO/James Crombie)

European rugby bosses have confirmed internal wrangling could delay the appointment of a figurehead chairman for the revamped continental game by five(...)

Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip in action against Harlequins’ Matt Hopper at the Aviva Stadium in December. Heaslip has recovered from a shoulder injury and is fit to face Castres. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

It drew a self-conscious grin from Jamie Heaslip. The Leinster player, who rarely gets injured, sat beside his coach Mat O’Connor and had the good gra(...)

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(...)

 Jamie Heaslip should be one of the few survivor from when Harlqeuins and Leisnetr last met in 2009.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Leinster team won’t be selected until Friday. But of the 15 players who started against Harlequins in the 2009 ‘Bloodgate’ quarter-final, probably(...)

Grenoble’s scrumhalf James Hart in action  during the French Top 14 clash against  Toulouse at the Stade Ernest Wallon. Photo: Raymond Roig/Geggy

Grenoble produced arguably the performance of the weekend when they travelled to the Stade Ernest Wallon and beat their hosts Toulouse 25-22 in a pul(...)

Israel Folau training with Wallabies in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

These are exciting times. Back-to-back wins against two of the Southern Hemisphere big three happen about as regularly as Roy Keane avoids a press (...)

Jerry Sexton of Exeter Chiefs embraces teammate Greg Bateman  at the final whistle during the LV= Cup match between Exeter Chiefs and Gloucester at Sandy Park, Exeter, at the weekend. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

The Irish rugby public were probably only concerned with the form and well being of one Sexton this weekend. The Sexton family, however, had a differe(...)

Chris Farrell scores a try for Grenoble  during the French Top 14 match against Racing Metro at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble. Photograph:   Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP/Getty Images

Chris Farrell’s initial sporting passion was soccer. Growing up in Fivemiletown, a village in south Tyrone and a short distance from the border with F(...)