Keith Earls went over twice for Ireland during their win over Romania at Wembley. Photograph: Afp 6:25

Ireland 44 Romania 10 Job done with a bonus point, and Ireland move on to the serious stuff seemingly in better form, with more variety and ass(...)

A TMO interlude is announced during the Ireland v Canada clash at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.  Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters/Livepic

The England 2015 organisers couldn’t have scripted a better first weekend if they tried. An entertaining enough opening night win for the hosts, fu(...)

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw gets ready to scrum down with his fellow forwards during the Bledisloe Cup match against Australia at Eden Park, Auckland, in August. Photograph:  Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

They are here to win the World Cup. They think it and look it. They behave it and live it. A knife-edge blend of stunning confidence and old-school co(...)

Ireland centre Jared Payne, seen here holding off George Ford at Twickenham, has become a pivotal part of the Ireland midfield. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images

It’s not Jared Payne’s fault that he’s the one filling a position previously held by Ireland’s greatest ever player. Identified in 2010, recruited a (...)

 Rob Kearney scores against the All Blacks: “It’s very hard to find a weakness but they are beatable. Ireland players know this now.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 5:12

So the million dollar question: should Ireland coach an offloading policy at this World Cup? I don’t think you can. You are either intuitively good(...)

The certificate granting the ‘Freedom of the City of Dublin’ to the artist Sir John Lavery in 1935 has turned up after 80 years and is to be sold at auction later this month. Photograph: Fine Art & Collectibles Auctioneers & Valuers

The certificate granting the Freedom of the City of Dublin to the artist Sir John Lavery in 1935 has turned up after 80 years and is to be sold at auc(...)

“Joe Schmidt is tactically one of the best coaches in the world though, and always brings the best out of the squad.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Joe Schmidt has adopted a “risky strategy” in preparing Ireland to peak for a potential World Cup Pool D decider against France, according to Ben Kay.(...)

Ireland fans celebrate victory after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland. Photograph: Sandra Mu/Getty Images

1 - 1987 Ireland 46 Canada 19 - Carisbrook, Dunedin It didn’t turn out to be the most auspicious of World Cups for Ireland. Coach, t(...)

This, as all TV slobs will readily attest to, is bad news. Not so much because we want all rugby all the time, you understand. It’s more that when you know there is a game every night, you don’t have to waste brain power wondering when the next one is.

Before we get on to what the Rugby World Cup will be as a viewing experience, it may serve us well to point out from the start what it will not be.(...)

The 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to Wales was Ronan O’gara’s last appearance for Ireland. Photograph: Getty

“It was an episode which has burned so deep into the heart and mind of Ireland that it is not yet possible for the historian to approach it with th(...)