Louis Picamoles  makes a break during the  match between England and France at Twickenham on Saturday. The big-carrying Toulouse number eight was France’s standout player. Photograph:  Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

The most interesting and revealing case study in these warm-up games from an Irish perspective are undoubtedly France. Ireland’s final pool game again(...)

Leinster interim head coach Leo Cullen at an open training session at Edenderry RFC yesterday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leo Cullen has a sensible face. Elderly, almost. It’s always been like that. The prospective Leinster head coach is just one of those chaps of whom(...)

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(...)

A  number of Top 14 clubs are monitoring Paul O’Connell’s situation. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Paul O’Connell has been identified as the latest addition to Toulon’s list of galacticos and to that end has been targeted as a signing for next se(...)

Leinster captain  Jamie Heaslip leaves the pitch after the Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Toulon at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. Photo: Billy Sticklan/Inpho

Leinster coach Matt O’Connor admitted feeling pride and not sadness after his side’s bid to reach a fourth European final in seven seasons fell (...)

Steffon Armitage was the difference really. At least three textbook turnovers killed Leinster momentum.

Rob Kearney 7/10Three superb acts of high fielding gave Leinster the briefest glimpses of front foot ball but his long, long range drop goal with seco(...)

Toulon winger Bryan Habana dives over to score a try in the first half of extra time in the Champions Cup semi-final against Leinster at Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Toulon 25 Leinster 20An increasingly nerve-jangling, tryless epic for 80 minutes, burst into even more dramatic life in 20 minutes of extra-time. This(...)

Frédéric Michalak in action for Toulon against Wasps in the quarter-final of the European Champions Cup. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Just watch his body language, just watch him walking back. This is like your granddad playing outhalf . . . I can’t believe France don’t have a better(...)

Toulon’s Ali Williams dives to score a try against Wasps in their  European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final at Stade Flix Mayol, Toulon. Photograph: Inpho

Leigh Halfpenny Age: 26 Height: 1.78m/5ft 10in Weight: 85kg/13st 5lb Positionally excellent and the best goal kicker in the world but Delo(...)

Forwards coach Leo Cullen at Leinster squad training. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Lest we forget, Leinster are one win away from a fourth European Champions Cup final and do have some pedigree, winning their last three semi-finals. (...)