Joe Schmidt is bidding to take this Irish team to an unprecedented third successive Six Nations title.

Coach: Joe Schmidt Since taking over in 2013, New Zealander Schmidt has made himself into somewhat of a Six Nations specialist, leading Ireland to (...)

Stuart Olding: the 22-year-old is in line to play his  first senior game since last March this Saturday  against Benetton Treviso.  Photograph: Giuseppe Fama/Inpho

With no time to dwell on their Champions Cup exit, Ulster enter a crucial six-game segment in the Pro12 which will go a long way to determining their (...)

Rory Best congratulates Ian Humphreys after his try for Ulster in the Champions Cup victory over Oyonnax at Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ulster 56 Oyonnax 3 Ultimately, as a place in the quarter-finals was prised from their grasp as the weekend unfolded, Ulster were left to lament prev(...)

Ulster’s Nick Williams in action against Connacht. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Maybe it’s the relative lack of Irish interest, but the final weekend of what is now the European Champions Cup somehow used to seem more fun. Mathe(...)

 Rory Best  runs at Simone Favaro of Italy during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. “To now captain Ireland going into the Six Nations is a massive thing for me and my family.” Photograph:  Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Spare a thought for Rory Best. There is probably no harder task than to succeed Paul O’Connell as captain, who had effectively succeeded Brian O’Drisc(...)

Jared Payne:  Silver lining in Ulster’s defeat in London last Saturday was the performance of Jared Payne at fullback. Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

Darren Cave and Nick Williams are available for selection for Ulster’s pivotal Champions Cup clash with Oyonnax at the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday as(...)

Munster Head Coach Anthony Foley has made three changes to his side to play Stade Francais at Thomond Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

A curious quirk of the ill-judged fixture planning for the penultimate round of pool games in the two European competitions is that all four Irish sid(...)

Ulster’s Craig Gilroy is tackled by Semi Kutanami of Toulouse: Gilroy returns as fullback for the clash with Oyonnax. Photograph: Pascal Pavani/Presseye/Inpho

Just like Munster today, Ulster are in French must-win territory tomorrow. The difference is that although Oyonnax are only two places behind Stade F(...)

Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss: aware of the formidable record Toulouse hold at Stade Ernest Wallon. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Toulouse v Ulster, Stade Ernest Wallon, Sunday, December 20th, 2015, 1pm, Sky Sports 3 You have to believe that Italian hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini (...)

Rory Best returns to lead Les Kiss’s Ulster against Toulouse. Photograph: Inpho

Alan O’Connor will make just his 15th appearance for Ulster after being named in the secondrow alongside Franco van der Merwe for Friday night’s Champ(...)