Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby, head coach Joe Schmidt and assistant coach Les Kiss at the Ireland World Cup squad announcement. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Having burned the midnight oil on Saturday night analysing the defeat to Wales, Joe Schmidt rose early on Sunday to analyse Ulster’s game in Edinbu(...)

Irish captain Sean O’Brien presents the ball during Ireland’s Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, on Saturday.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho 8:14

Two warm-up wins with very close to 100 per cent set piece and eight tries scored (five from backs!) is a very happy return from the 34 players bloode(...)

Sean O’Brien captains Ireland in today’s Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Mark Runnacles/PA Wire

The phoney war continues, although another audition for coveted World Cup places means this is anything but phoney for the protagonists. One- time sol(...)

Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek with Nathan White, Michael Bent and David Kilcoyne at the squad session at Carton House. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho 6:19

Whatever about keeping his powder dry, Joe Schmidt has held back many of his big guns for the showdown with Wales two weeks’ hence as auditioning for (...)

Ian Keatley has been left out of Ireland’s 45-man training squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has named his 45-man training squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup. Notable absentees from Schmidt’s squad include Ian Kea(...)

 Paddy Butler scores Munster’s  third try in the Guinness Pro 12 play-off at  Thomond Park. Photo:   Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Munster 21 Ospreys 18 Wild celebrations yes, but relief wasn’t the half of it as Munster nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory before then s(...)

Bath’s Sam Burgess: his tackle technique is a cross between Trevor Brennan and a dumper truck. Photo:  Michael Steele/Getty Images

Hollywood actor and co-owner of South Sydney Rabbitohs Russell Crowe defines him as the ‘sparkly eyed man’ where ‘those sparkly eyed men carve their (...)

Jack Conan has been rewarded for a series of standout  displays for Leinster with a place in an extended 46-man Ireland and Wolfhounds squad. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Jack Conan’s standout season with Leinster has been rewarded with a place in Joe Schmidt’s extended 46-man Ireland squad for the opening Six Nations g(...)

JJ Hanrahan: Munster are keen to ensure he remains with his native province. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

The odds on Munster fending off Northampton’s very real interest in acquiring JJ Hanrahan have increased over the last 48 hours in tandem with what h(...)

JJ Hanrahan is believed to be frustrated with his lack of progress at Munster.  Photograph: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

JJ Hanrahan is on the verge of leaving his native Munster and joining Northampton next season. Currently in the second year of a two-year deal with th(...)