Toulon’s Mathieu Bastareaud and Guilhem Guirado tackle Rob Kearney of Leinster in last year’s European Rugby Champions Cup semi-final. Toulon are second favourites to win their fourth Cup in a row. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

For better or for worse, the European Champions Cup is upon us again. The hangover in European rugby still lingers after the World Cup amid general ru(...)

Charles Piutau of Wasps: described by Girvan Dempsey as a “very strong, physical guy who’s elusive as well”. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

Rob Kearney took one for the team, so to speak. In pirouetting and winning a footrace, he saved a try against the Scarlets at the RDS – an important (...)

Girvan Dempsey is currently the interim backs coach for Leinster. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Girvan Dempsey says Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is being characteristically shrewd in not showing his full playing hand weeks before his side’s first m(...)

Kurt McQuilkin: “Coaching a club that you really care about, you know? We had a good amount of success at the time and, yeah, it  just ingrained something in me.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Last stop Bray. We’ll eventually get to Te Kuiti, the sheep-shearing capital of the world, but Bray is where we start as it’s home to Kurt McQuilkin. (...)

Number eight Dan Leavy is one of eight Leinster Academy graduates who will take up professional contracts, seven of those with Leinster, with Jordan Coghlan moving to Munster. Photograph:    Dan Sheridan/Inpho

All eight Leinster Academy graduates will take up professional rugby contracts in the coming season, seven of those with the province. Carlow brothers(...)

Rhys Ruddock will captain Emerging Ireland in their Tbilisi Cup opener against Emerging Italy. Photograph: Inpho

Emerging Ireland coaches Allen Clarke and Girvan Dempsey have named their side for the opening game of the Tbilsi Cup on Saturday. Rhys Ruddock will l(...)

Rhys Ruddock has been named on the Emerging Ireland squad. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leinster backrow Rhys Ruddock has been included in the Emerging Ireland squad to travel to Georgia to compete in the World Rugby Tbilisi Cup in June.R(...)

From left: Denis Leamy, Ronan O’Gara, David Wallace, Simon Easterby, Gordon D’Arcy, Girvan Dempsey, Denis Hickie and Shane Horgan on St Patrick’s Day 2007 as Ireland took on Italy in Stadio Olimpico. Photograph: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Grand Slams are the holy grail, all the more so when a country has only won two of them in 120 years of trying. But championship titles aren’t to be s(...)

 Jamie Heaslip should be one of the few survivor from when Harlqeuins and Leisnetr last met in 2009.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Leinster team won’t be selected until Friday. But of the 15 players who started against Harlequins in the 2009 ‘Bloodgate’ quarter-final, probably(...)

Grenoble’s scrumhalf James Hart in action  during the French Top 14 clash against  Toulouse at the Stade Ernest Wallon. Photo: Raymond Roig/Geggy

Grenoble produced arguably the performance of the weekend when they travelled to the Stade Ernest Wallon and beat their hosts Toulouse 25-22 in a pul(...)