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(...)

Owen Farrell  is congratulated by his Saracens team-mates after going over for a try during the European Rugby Champions Cup match against Sale Sharks  at the AJ Bell Stadium  in Salford. Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Champions Cup round-upPOOL 5 - Ospreys 19 Racing Metro 19Centre Josh Matavesi scored a try five minutes from time to keep alive Ospreys’ European Cham(...)

 George Pisi of Northampton Saints is congratulated by fans after scoring the only try during last night’s match. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Northampton 13 Castres 3 It has been a Heineken Cup campaign to forget for Northampton, and if it peters out here it will have been in a match (...)

Referee Steve Walsh gives George Pisi a yellow card in the 39th minute of Saturday’s game against Ireland at the Aviva stadium. Photograph:  Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Samoa centre George Pisi has been cited over his tip tackle on Tommy Bowe during last Saturday’s international against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.Th(...)

Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony jumps to win a high ball in the early stages of the match against Samoa on Saturday in which the home side, despite a patchy 

performance, emerged victorious. 

Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Ireland 40 Samoa 9: Ireland coach Joe Schmidt agreed with the analogy that the side had spent the last two weeks cramming for their first exam under h(...)

Ireland debutant Dave Kearney scores the first of two tries against Samoa. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland 40 Samoa 9 It was about new beginnings at the Aviva Stadium, with Ireland coach Joe Schmidt taking charge of his first test match, so t(...)

Jamie Heaslip, Brian O’Driscoll and Rory Best among the rest of the Irish squad at the Aviva Stadium on Friday. Photogrtaph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

A new day dawns for Irish rugby. Fittingly, a 40,000-plus crowd and a tea-time kick-off under lights gives this opener to the Joe Schmidt era a sense (...)

Samoa will be without the formidable services of Toulouse prop   Census Johnston when they face Ireland.  Photo: David Rogers/Getty

Joe Schmidt spoke yesterday about “losing control” of Johnny Sexton since the outhalf moved to Paris. Well, Samoan head coach Stephen Betham has pr(...)