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(...)

Brian O’Driscoll of Ireland scores a try as he is tackled by Elton Flatley of Australia during the Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Australia and Ireland in 2003. Photograph: Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

Ireland’s 2003 World Cup campaign got off to a fairly inconspicuous start, Eddie O’Sullivan’s side racking up 109 points and conceding just 24 as they(...)

Ireland failed to make it out of the pool of death at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Getty

Ireland head into the 2015 World Cup with legitimate hopes of winning it, and this is based on something with far more substance than the usual hopefu(...)

Joe Schmidt: has achieved a 78 per cent win ratio as coach of Ireland with 14 victories in 18 Test matches. Photo:  Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA

The road to All Blacks coach is mapped out in the New Zealand rugby union’s coaching manual: know thy enemy by gaining “offshore” experience. Ideal(...)

Brian O’Driscoll and Shane Horgan show their disappointment after the defeat by France at the 2007 World Cup. Morgan Treacy/Inpho

A legal practice and the Irish rugby team may have a lot in common but they probably don’t call him Shaggy in the London offices of Lee and Thompson L(...)

A teenage Gordon D’Arcy at Ireland squad training in 1998. Photograph: Keith Heneghan/Inpho

First sight of Gordon D’Arcy was on his knees in the background. The snapshot from March 1995 is of Geordan Murphy, his predecessor in the art of evas(...)

Gordon D’Arcy’s announcement does not rule out the possibility of  a World Cup farewell. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

It’s been one of the stellar Irish rugby careers, for sure, and when the end of October comes and Gordon D’Arcy heads into the sunset he can do so (...)

Mike Ford:  Circuitous Rugby League career took him, by chance, to Ireland in January 2002. Photograph: Getty Images

Russell Crowe wasn’t momentarily speechless collecting an Oscar for Gladiator. Nor did the cinematic hard man well up after the South Sydney Rabbitohs(...)

Ireland fans at the Euro 2012 game against Croatia in Poznan. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

I once had a conversation with an Irish soccer international a couple of days after the Irish rugby team had suffered a famous defeat. He produced his(...)

Sex appeal: Ireland outhalf Johnny Sexton leads a team talk in the huddle during last week’s crunch game against Wales. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Maybe, just maybe, there is indeed a silver lining of some kind to last Saturday’s defeat. Another leading-from-the-front victory, thereby ensuring(...)