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(...)

Jamie Heaslip during Leinster’s captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

It’s hard not to over-play the importance of this fixture. Leinster’s season looks to be distilled into 80 minutes. Dip into their undoubted European (...)

Delon Armitage returns at fullback for Toulon against Wasps as they look to respond to a surprise Top 14 defeat at home to Toulouse. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Andy Goode’s missed drop goal with the last kick of the game in the 20-20 draw at home to Leinster has, effectively, condemned Wasps to probably the (...)

Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss has been in here for seven years and will extend his stay when he becomes director of rugby at Ulster after the World Cup in November. photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

To put it in Australian parlance: “Seven years? Bloody hell’. It’s incredible to think that this is Les Kiss’ seventh season on the Irish coaching tic(...)

Paul O’Connell poses with the new Six Nations trophy alongside fellow captains Thierry Dusautoir of France, Chris Robshaw of England, Sergio Parisse of Italy, Sam Warburton of Wales and Greig Laidlaw of Scotland. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

You can’t buy history, and the oldest international tournament in the world, dating back to 1883, returns for the first instalment of a 15-match pr(...)

Munster’s Ian Keatley passes the ball as Saracens’ Owen Farrell moves in. The two sides meet again this weekend in the European Champions Cup. Photograph: INPHO/Billy Stickland

If it’s January in Europe then Munster have to be fighting for their lives. However, even by their standards, Munster are in a particularly tricky pic(...)

Rhys Ruddock: “If we get a good turnout and the atmosphere is right, I think it will lift us, definitely.” Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leinster need to beat Harlequins at the Aviva Stadium this Saturday and also deny Conor O’Shea’s team a bonus point if they are to regain leadership o(...)

Leinster’s 24-18 defeat against Harlequins at The Stoop rounded off a mixed weekend for the provinces in europe
The Morning Sports Briefing
  • Sport
  • December 8, 2014, 08:35

Lacklustre Leinster The provinces enjoyed decidedly mixed fortunes as they returned to European competition this weekend. On Sunday Matt O’(...)

Didier Drogba celebrates after scoring Chelsea’s second during their 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge last night.
The Morning Sports Briefing
  • Sport
  • December 4, 2014, 08:38

Chelsea march onThe last time Tottenham Hotspur managed a win at Stamford Bridge was the same day it was announced Nelson Mandela would be released fr(...)

Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini celebrates scoring his side’s first goal in the 2-1 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford last night
The Morning Sports Briefing
  • Sport
  • December 3, 2014, 08:27

RIP Hughsey In the early hours the funeral of Phillip Hughes took place in his hometown of Macksville, New South Wales. More than a thousan(...)