Simon Zebo is the one surprise in an otherwise anticipated selection with Dave Kearney on the wing. Photograph: Inpho

If the stakes weren’t high in any case for an Anglo-Irish sporting set-to, the need to avoid a second successive defeat before the World Cup kicks off(...)

Paul O’Connell speaks to the team before the Wales game. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Rob Kearney 7 And he’s only getting started. Didn’t really attack the Welsh like he would in a full metal jacket affair but was his usual dominant sel(...)

Ireland fullback Rob Kearney rises high to claim the ball ahead of Wales outhalf Dan Biggar at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Fittingly the heavens opened for the last quarter, which suited the team in front, which was deservedly Wales. And so it was that the Red Dragonhood r(...)

Ireland flanker Jordi Murphy had a tough day against the outstanding Justin Tipuric of Wales during the World Cup warm-up at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Iain Henderson or Devin Toner? It’s not really a tough call anymore. The second best forward in Ireland these past six months, this 23-year-old Craiga(...)

Ireland’s Iain Henderson in action in the World Cup warm-up match against Wales at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:   Cathal McNaughton/Action Images via Reuters/Livepic 11:57

Ireland 10 Wales 16 The cascading rain that enveloped the Aviva stadium for the final 10 minutes of the contest provided a suitably leaden hued backdr(...)

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt faces a number of difficult decisions when it comes to selecting his squad for the World Cup. 2:54

Some celebrated outside backs are likely to miss out on the Ireland 31-man squad when it is submitted to the World Cup organisers by 5pm on Monday. No(...)

Ireland’s Paul O’Connell makes his way out for his final captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium yesterday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 2:54

This, at face value, looks more like it. Lions Test starters abound for Ireland’s last home game before the World Cup, with fringe contenders drinking(...)

Robbie Henshaw and Dave Kearney during an Ireland training session at Carton House, Maynooth, on Thursday. Billy Stickland/Inpho.

Still a game to play. Still time to play yourself out of the Ireland team and even the World Cup squad. Especially if you are a specialist winger. Ev(...)

Tadhg Furlong and Cian Healy taking part in Ireland’s squad session at Carton House. Furlong is expected to make his debut off the bench while Healy is nearing  full fitness. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 7:17

While tomorrow’s Irish line-up looks more familiar, opportunity again knocks for a chosen few against an equally more familiar and potent Wales. And (...)

Ireland fullback Simon Zebo breaks free to score a try in the 61st-minute against Scotland in the Rugby World Cup warm-up game at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 8:14

This was a sloppier, less accurate Irish performance, but Scotland put up a more meaningful and exacting challenge than Wales a week previously, wh(...)