Declan Fitzpatrick scoring a try against the Dragons. The tighthead who was strong in the scrum and a marauding presence in the loose made 98 appearances for Ulster. Photograph: Inpho

Happenstance. In June 2004, Ireland and New Zealand contested the under-21 Rugby World Championship final at Hughenden in Glasgow. Declan Fitzpatrick (...)

Grenoble  flanker Rory Grice scores one of his side’s four tries against Toulon in their Top 14 35-24 defeat. Photograph: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP Photo

Even after Jonny Wilkinson’s flawless departure, Mourad Boudjellal’s ageing galácticos continue to dominate but, seemingly, a blueprint for beating T(...)

Jocelino Suta of Toulon wins the lineout during last year’s Heineken Cup semi-final between the French side and Munster at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. Photoraph: David Rogers/Getty Images.

The French air traffic controllers strike due to take place on Thursday, April 16th, to Saturday, April 18th, is not expected to affect scheduled Aer(...)

The IRFU’s Dan Downey sets up the GPS units on the Aviva Stadium’s pitch ahead of Ireland’s Six Nations game against France in February. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Not so long ago a fag and orange segment was seen as restorative at half-time, an extra lap until you drop a good thing, a sign of heart. But in recen(...)

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(...)