Franco Van Der Merwe is one of three players making his competitive bow for Ulster tomorrow.

Llanelli Scarlets v Ulster (Parc Y Scarlets, kick-off 2.40pm, Live on Sky Sports) The sub-text to Ulster’s first match of the season under i(...)

Franco van der Merwe, Louis Ludik and Tommy Bowe at Ravenhill on Wednesday night for the launch of the new kit for the season. Photograph: Inpho

Ordinarily it would have just been a run-of-the mill shirt launch for Ulster’s new season but then things have hardly been functioning that normally (...)

Simon Zebo breaks clear of the Argentina defence to score Ireland’s first try during the second Test in Tucumán, Argentina. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Argentina 17 Ireland 23: Ireland huffed and puffed in the clammy Tucumán air of north eastern Argentina to eventually complete a slightly laboured (...)

Darren Cave makes a break against Argentina. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Argentina 17 Ireland 29 Ireland duly achieved their anticipated first test win in Argentina, if not quite in the manner Joe Schmidt and the Iri(...)

Ireland new cap Robbie Diack. Photograph:   Dan Sheridan/Inpho

By Gerry ThornleyAs expected, the South African-born Robbie Diack, who qualifies by residency, will make his debut for Ireland against Argentina on Sa(...)

Ireland’s Chris Henry described the enforced retirement of Ulster and Ireland colleague and friend Stephen Ferris as a terrible loss for both  club and country. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

It’s been a while coming, some four years since his debut in June 2010 against Australia. For sure, Seán O’Brien’s absence has been a major factor but(...)

Four Last Things: Elizabeth A Davis with Victor Verhaeghe and Justin Hagan in the off-Broadway production. Photograph: Russ Rowland/Royal Family Productions

At the dark and quiet level of everyday life the great drama of Irish society is suicide. It is the ultimate act: irreversible, unfathomable, devastat(...)

Leinster’s Ian Madigan bursts for the line to score the only try in  semi-final against Ulster on Saturday at the RDS. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Leinster 13 Ulster 9When you know how to win, you know how to win. Serial winners at the business end of the season, Leinster rolled up their sleeves (...)

Quinn Roux takes the place of the injured Mike McCarthy in the Leinster side to take on Ulster in the RaboDirect Pro12 semi-final at the RDS on Saturday night. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Quinn Roux will start alongside Devin Toner in the Leinster secondrow for Saturday night’s RaboDirect Pro12 semi-final against Ulster at the RDS after(...)

Seán O’Brien in action in  his comeback game for Leinster against Edinburgh last Saturday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Richie McCaw recently returned from a three month layoff having broken his thumb. The Canterbury Crusaders put him at number six to accommodate their (...)