Leinster replacement Garry Ringrose offloads in the tackle against Wasps at the RDS. Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Slow, painful season coming. Not in Leo Cullen’s worst nightmare could he have foreseen a record home European defeat, especially considering the far(...)

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter  with the Webb Ellis Cup after the All Blacks’ victory over  Australia at Twickenham. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Not like this. That’s what Dan Carter thought when writhing in agony on home soil four years ago. It can’t end at a training session on the eve of the(...)

New Zealand’s winger Nehe Milner-Skudder  evades South Africa’s flanker François Louw  during the  semi-final  of the 2015 Rugby World Cup  at Twickenham on Saturday. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” – Edmund Hillary, the first man to conquer Met Everest For the ages. The greatest team of all time (...)

Thierry Dusautoir: “Of course against New Zealand it is going to be the toughest, they are the best team in the world.”

Yoann Maestri is surprisingly a gentle soul. After this almost insipid French showing this beast of a Toulouse lock went, armed with his number five j(...)

Tyler Morgan will partner Jamie Roberts in the Welsh midfield. Photograph: Getty

POOL A: Wales v Fiji, Millennium stadium, 4.45 (Live on TV3, UTV) “It’s a tough tournament, isn’t it?” Warren Gatland, the ultimate survivor, w(...)

 South Africa’s Duane Vermeulen: “If we don’t win we are out. We have to give our all. I’m ready to do that.” Photo:  Steve Haag/Gallo Images

A history of violence. Recent cuddlings of these gargantuan men is drenched in bloody yet wincingly enjoyable rugby. There have been 50-pointer(...)

Cian Healy made his return to the Ireland team against Canada in Cardiff. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

“He’s a freak, man.” Jamie Heaslip is describing his roommate, his best mate, the man who he strives alongside for greatness, the prop Ireland must ha(...)

Luke Fitzgerald is set to start alongside Jared Payne in Ireland’s midfield for the opening World Cup game against Canada. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The severity of Robbie Henshaw’s injury should become apparent at Thursday’s team announcement but the Connacht centre has not made Joe Schmidt’s open(...)

Dublin’s Alan Brogan: “Obviously there’s history there and a sense of occasion when you’re playing Kerry. My Mam is from Kerry so that brings its own little edge to it.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

There are plenty of stories in Dublin GAA circles about him. Here’s one. A club corner back remembers Alan Brogan walking over before throw-in a fe(...)

Tipperary manager Eamon O’Shea gives last-minute instructions to his players before the Munster final against Waterford. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Some men deserve to be introduced by their full title. Professor Eamon O’Shea MA, MSc, PhD is an expert in social gerontology and the economics of age(...)