New Zealand’s outhalf Dan Carter prepares to kick the ball during a semi-final match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against South Africa. Photograph: Getty Images

Following an action-packed year for international rugby, which will culminate with Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final, the shortlist for the Player of t(...)

Finn Russell returns for Scotland against Samoa as they look for a win which would secure secont place in Pool B. Photograph: PA

Pool B, Samoa v Scotland, Saturday October 10th, 2.30pm, St James’ Park When they arrived in Brighton four weeks ago Samoa took mass at St Magdalen’s (...)

Scotland’s Finn Russell gives a thumbs up during a pool recovery session at The Royal Grammar School, Newcastle. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

Outhalf Finn Russell will miss Scotland’s potentially decisive World Cup clash with South Africa after failing to shake off an ankle knock. The influ(...)

Scotland coach Vern Cotter has made 10 changes to his side ahead of Sunday’s Pool B clash with USA. Photograph: PA

Henry Pyrgos will lead out Scotland at Elland Road for Sunday’s World Cup clash with the United States after the Dark Blues made 10 changes to their s(...)

France’s winger Noa Nakaitaci scores the winning try for  France in their World Cup warm-up match against Scotland at the Stade de France on Saturday. Photograph:  Loic Venanceloic Venance/ AFP/Getty Images

Vern Cotter backed his team’s decision not to take the penalty that would have handed them a draw in Paris. The Scots were left chasing a result again(...)

 Greig Laidlaw Scotland captain converts his kick after Sean Lamont’s try against Italy at  at Murrayfield Stadium. Photograph: Getty Images

Scotland ran in six tries to overwhelm Italy 48-7 in a one-sided World Cup warm-up game at Murrayfield on Saturday. Wingers Sean Lamont and Tim Visse(...)

 Vern Cotter: the New Zealander will be expecting a convincing home victory for Scotland after the success in Turin last week.  Photo  Michael Steele/Getty Images

A second win in a week over the Azzurri today would not go amiss if Vern Cotter’s Scotland side are to leave for the World Cup with anything like a (...)

Mils Muliaina’s Connacht salary could have covered the cost of an astonishing 60 academy players. Photograph: Craig Thomas/Inpho

This needs to be the night Mils Muliaina rolls back the years. It could easily be the night his buckled wheels roll into the category of yet another (...)

Robbie Hanshaw starts for Connacht against Gloucester in their Challenge Cup quarter-final. Photograph: Inpho

Mils Muliaina has been named in Connacht’s starting line up for their Challenge Cup quarter-final away to Gloucester just a day after it was announced(...)

Ireland outhalf Johnny Sexton: through the first three rounds of this season’s he had had a 91 per cent kicking success rate. Photograph: Inpho

Risk versus reward. That’s at the heart of the silent process a rugby union captain goes through in those moments after a penalty has been awarded bef(...)