Of all the the emerging young players on the tour of Argentina, the one  who made the biggest impression on Joe Schmidt was flanker  Rhys Ruddock. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

It was a small, relatively throwaway remark but it was worth noting nonetheless. “This was my first tour,” Joe Schmidt reminded us, and you forget, fo(...)

With only one score between Ireland and Argentina  when he came on with 15 minutes to go in the second and final Test of the series, Ian Madigan produced his trademark magic to get in for a vital  try under the posts. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

A mixed bag of a performance and, rather summing up  something of  a no-win end-of-season tour containing two long treks and four interna(...)

Simon Zebo breaks clear of the Argentina defence to score Ireland’s first try during the second Test in Tucumán, Argentina. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Argentina 17 Ireland 23: Ireland huffed and puffed in the clammy Tucumán air of north eastern Argentina to eventually complete a slightly laboured (...)

Darren Cave makes a break against Argentina. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Argentina 17 Ireland 29 Ireland duly achieved their anticipated first test win in Argentina, if not quite in the manner Joe Schmidt and the Iri(...)

Ireland new cap Robbie Diack. Photograph:   Dan Sheridan/Inpho

By Gerry ThornleyAs expected, the South African-born Robbie Diack, who qualifies by residency, will make his debut for Ireland against Argentina on Sa(...)

Our brave hero Drico, along with his wise-cracking partner Leo “I’m too old for this shit” Cullen. Photograph: Inpho

A rugby great left us on Saturday evening, giving mere mortals one last chance to see him in action, one last chance to see his unique combination of (...)

Jimmy Gopperth during Saturday’s Pro 12 final against Glasgow: “You have to fight, that’s what you want, as a player.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

All the successful crusades used mercenaries. By qualifying from their European Pool, Matt O’Connor’s Leinster surpassed Joe Schmidt’s 2013 version o(...)

 Brian O’Driscoll of Leinster, in the last match of his career, is carried by Ian Madigan and Cian Healy after winning the Pro 12 trophy with victory over Glasgow  at the RDS.  Photograph:  Patrick Bolger/Getty Images 1:50

Sport doesn’t care who you are. It doesn’t know what you did or what you meant. It couldn’t be less interested in what you want. We came to Ballsbrid(...)

Leinster players celebrate winning the RaboDirect PRO12 Final at the RDS. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire 1:50

Leinster 34 Glasgow 12People leave but Leinster stay the same. Jimmy Gopperth and Zane Kirchner, signed with the unenviable tasks of replacing club ic(...)

Brian O’Driscoll and Sam Windsor share a laugh at Leinster training in UCD. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Professional sports folk love controlling those pesky controllables. It’s, like, their thing. So when Matt O’Connor was presented with a number of (...)