Ireland’s CJ Stander with Jack McGrath at the end of the Six Nations game against Wales at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Brutal collisions of bone and muscle, where the gainline was often measured in millimetres of turf, the physical toll equally exacting whether in pos(...)

Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray  crashes through the tackle from Justin Tipuric of Wales to score the opening try during the RBS Six Nations match  at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ireland 16 Wales 16 Ireland and Wales don’t do dull, and don’t do predictable, and so it continued in this entertaining Six Nations opener at the Avi(...)

Joe Schmidt: will be trying to rebuild Irish confidence when the squad assembles at Carton House. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Well, that did it. As if Ireland’s worst collective performance in European rugby for 18 years wasn’t bad enough, the loss of Marty Moore for the Six (...)

Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock has been selected to partner Devon Toner at secondrow for the trip to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Wasps v Leinster,  Saturday, Ricoh Arena, 3.15 (Live BT Sports 2) It’s a Leinster team drawn in the image of both Joe Schmidt and Leo Cullen a(...)

 Rory Best  runs at Simone Favaro of Italy during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. “To now captain Ireland going into the Six Nations is a massive thing for me and my family.” Photograph:  Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Spare a thought for Rory Best. There is probably no harder task than to succeed Paul O’Connell as captain, who had effectively succeeded Brian O’Drisc(...)

“We can’t afford to just throw Josh van der Flier (above), Gary Ringrose, Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey and promising Munster flanker Jack O’Donoghue into the Test match arena.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Talent will never be enough on its own. What characteristics are needed to make it as a professional rugby player? Bravery, naturally, and certain phy(...)

Tadhg Furlong: “If I played really well and lost, I couldn’t care (that I played well). You’re buying into the team.” Photograph: Maurilio Boldrini/Inpho.

Talk at the World Cup was how well a 22-year old Robbie Henshaw was coping in the Irish centre. Just eight months older than Henshaw, Tadhg Furlong wa(...)

Leinster’s Eoin Reddan and Munster’s Andrew Conway are upended during the sides’ Pro12 clash in Thomond Park. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

At half-time Munster had 96 carries to Leinster’s 44, but the score was 7-10 in Leinster’s favour. The wind had a hand in this, as did Munster’s miss (...)

Leinster’s Garry Ringrose in action against Munster at Thomond Park. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The real shame is Robbie Henshaw will not be running this last time for Connacht against Leinster (or just the latest time if you believe in western m(...)

Leinster centre Garry Ringrose makes the break for Isa Nacewa’s early try in the Guinness Pro12 game at Thomond park. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

We will get to the enduring brilliance of Seánie O’Brien but this story must begin at the weaving feet of Garry Ringrose. Andrew Conway might have (...)