Joe Schmidt has delivered two Six Nations and got us to a World Cup quarter-final. He is ideally placed to bring in structures so the next wave of players are better coached at a younger age. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

In the movie Moneyball Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, turns on the old baseball scouts and says: “If we try to play (...)

In the face of adversity, Ireland’s replacements against France delivered individual moments of calm excellence, particularly Ian Madigan, whose task at outhalf was hugely daunting. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

I first played rugby alongside Paulie O’Connell for the Ireland schoolboys in 1998. Even then you could see a born leader. All he had to do was walk i(...)

Devin Toner and Keith Earls celebrate after Earls scored Ireland’s opening try of the Rugby World Cup pool match against Romania. Photo: Andrew Coulridge/Reuters

What do Devin Toner, Chris Henry and Tommy Bowe have in common? Not so long ago they were certain starters in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland team. The problem (...)

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(...)

Leinster’s Rob Kearney is challenged in the air by Bath’s Anthony Watson during their European Champions Cup quarter-final at Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Watson was sin binned for the tackle. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

It’s a small mercy, but consigned in their own minds to a daunting semi-final against Toulon in the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, Leinster were at lea(...)

Lote Tuqiri (centre). Photograph: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Leinster has not ruled out Australian dual Rugby Union and Rugby League international Lote Tuqiri from coming to Dublin to help shore up their outside(...)