Michele Visentin, seen here with the ball while playing for  Cammi Calvisano, has been called into the Italy squad for the first two Six Nations games against Ireland and England. Photograph:   Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Italy coach Jacques Brunel has named four uncapped backs in his 30-man squad for the opening game against Ireland at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Februar(...)

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt: has instilled a big confidence in those around him.

Joe Schmidt effect to run and run There had always been something false about Ireland’s final standing last season – the lowest since the Five (...)

Jack McGrath celebrates Ireland’s seventh and last  try against Italy. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Italy coach Jacques Brunel said that he thought Ireland could win the championship based on their ability to sustain pressure for an entire 80 (...)

Dave Kearney is tackled by Billy Twelvetrees as Danny Care (left) looks on during the Six Nations clash against  England. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

In the week of the Oscars perhaps there’s a bit of scope to borrow an analogy or two from the film world in pouring over the r(...)

 Jordi Murphy made his Ireland debut against England but may get some game time with Leinster this weekend. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho 2:33

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will inform the four provinces, probably by tonight, of the players he’d like to see get game time in RaboDirect Pro12 fi(...)

 Tommaso Allan will start at outhalf for Italy in their  Six Nations opener away to Wales on Saturday. Photograph:  Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

Treviso winger Angelo Esposito will make his international debut when Italy begin their Six Nations campaign with a daunting trip to Cardiff to take o(...)

     England’s Alex Goode and Jamie Roberts of Wales in last March’s game at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

It’s back. Unlike the Tri-Nations, it may not scale the heights of the ridiculous quality evident in the South Africa-New Zealand showdown in Johannes(...)

Italy’s head coach Jacques Brunel.

Castrogiovanni, whose mooted move from Leicester Tigers to Toulon has seemingly fallen through, was forced off in the first half at Twic(...)

Italy’s head coach Jacques Brunel.

As anticipated, Jacques Brunel has decided not to risk Italy ’s iconic and talismanic prop Martin Castrogiovanni or flanker Robert Barbieri, al(...)

Jonathan Sexton in action during Ireland training at Carton House. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

More than a little battered and careworn, and with a dozen or so full internationals sidelined, Ireland unveil their final sel(...)