Flanker Seán O’Brien is expected to return to the Ireland team against France having recovered from a hamstring injury. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The consequences of last Sunday’s Celtic Demolition Derby has left Joe Schmidt’s team selection in a state of flux. Ireland were obliged to make 17(...)

Johnny Sexton in action against Wales in their Six Nations opener. “On seeing his demeanour on the field last Sunday it looked to me like he was enjoying his rugby again.” Photograph: Getty Images

The well-worn line about doing the jersey justice resonates in the wake of Paul O’Connell’s retirement from rugby. But a genuine tribute to Paulie’s l(...)

Leinster outhalf Johnny Sexton gets treatment before leaving the field injured in the Champions Cup game against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Wasps 51 Leinster 10 Twelve months since Johnny Sexton was stood down for 12 weeks by neurologist Dr Jean-François Cherman, concussion has revisited (...)

“We can’t afford to just throw Josh van der Flier (above), Gary Ringrose, Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey and promising Munster flanker Jack O’Donoghue into the Test match arena.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Talent will never be enough on its own. What characteristics are needed to make it as a professional rugby player? Bravery, naturally, and certain phy(...)

Leinster’s Sean Cronin celebrates after scoring a try in their clash with Bath in the European Champions Cup. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leinster 25 Bath 11 This was a hugely uplifting performance for Irish rugby. All his own doing but Leinster coach Leo Cullen has almost instantly(...)

Johnny Sexton was named man of the match as Leinster moved to the top of the Pro 12 table with a 9-22 win away at the Ospreys. Photograph: Inpho

Ospreys 9 Leinster 22 Jonathan Sexton was back to his imperious best as he won his personal duel with Dan Biggar to help send Leinster top of the Gui(...)

Leinster’s Johnny Sexton is fit enough to start Friday night’s match in Wales. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made six changes to his team for the Guinness Pro12 game against the Ospreys on Friday night in the Liberty Stadium(...)

Rob Kearney is tackled by Tiernan O’Halloran during Leinster’s 13-0 win at a sodden RDS on Friday. Photograph: Inpho

Leinster 13 Connacht 0 Leave this as a solid win in atrocious conditions. The relentless wind and sideways downpour demanded a specific approach so(...)

Leinster’s Garry Ringrose in action against Munster at Thomond Park. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The real shame is Robbie Henshaw will not be running this last time for Connacht against Leinster (or just the latest time if you believe in western m(...)

Jack McGrath has been favoured in the Leinster frontrow to Cian Healy, who will be on the bench. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

As dead rubbers go, this is not actually a dud. For starters, technically speaking Leinster’s hopes of advancing to the knockout stages for the 11th t(...)