Keith Earls breaks with the ball to score an Ireland try during the international match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images.

Wales 21 Ireland 35 The slickness of this performance was testimony to the coaching skills of Joe Schmidt and his staff, and the trademark(...)

Simon Zebo is congratulated by three other Ireland try scorers, Jamie Heaslip, Felix Jones and Keith Earls after his score against Wales at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: PA

Wales 21 Ireland 35 The final scoreline, if anything, flattered Wales. Ireland were way more cohesive than a Welsh team cobbled together from World Cu(...)

Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip in relaxed mood with head coach Joe Schmidt during the captain’s run at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

As Jamie Heaslip noted, time was when players re-introduced themselves to the game with a modest pre-season friendly for their provinces, maybe a leag(...)

Welsh referee Nigel Owens will take charge of Ireland’s key World Cup pool game against France in Cardiff. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland’s potentially pivotal Rugby World Cup pool match against France at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday, October 11th, will be refereed by everyon(...)

George Clancy: part of a 12-member panel that will referee at Rugby World Cup 2015. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ireland’s George Clancy and John Lacey have been chosen as part of a 12-member panel that will referee at Rugby World Cup 2015. World Rugby also co(...)

Scotland’s Finn Russell has had his appeal against a two-week ban turned down after he took out opposite number Dan Biggar in the air. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Finn Russell will miss Scotland’s RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy after his appeal against a two-week ban was thrown out by tournament bosses.A Six Nat(...)

Adam Jones walks off with a dislocated shoulder  during the second Test  between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions in 2009, after Bakkies Botha hit him with a no-arm clearout. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

“That’s a very interesting one” said a current Test official when shown a video of a 19-stone international prop taking out an opponent with a flying (...)

Scotland outhalf Finn Russell was handed a two-week ban for this tackle on Wales outhalf  Dan Biggar during the Six Nations match  at Murrayfield. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

The Scottish Rugby Union intends to appeal the two-week suspension handed down to Scotland outhalf Finn Russell for his tackle on Wales’ Dan Biggar d(...)

Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip stands for the National Anthem against France. He was substituted after 60 minutes with a back injury. Photograph:  James Crombie/ Inpho

Jamie Heaslip will miss Ireland’s next Six Nations Championship match against England at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday week after scans revealed that(...)

Wales’ Jonathan Davies runs through to score a try against Scotland during the  Six Nations match at  Murrayfield. Photograph:  Owen Humphreys/PA

Scotland 23 Wales 26Wales claimed an eighth successive victory over Scotland as they revived their Six Nations title hopes following a thrilling win a(...)