Ireland flanker Seán O’Brien rises high to collect Rory Best’s lineout delivery during yesterday’s captain’s run at the Stade de France, which will be a 79,000 sell-out for the teams’ Six Nations clash. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

This will not exactly be Paris in springtime. The forecast is for a cold, windy and very wet day; more Irish-type conditions that French, and more lik(...)

Flanker Seán O’Brien is expected to return to the Ireland team against France having recovered from a hamstring injury. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The consequences of last Sunday’s Celtic Demolition Derby has left Joe Schmidt’s team selection in a state of flux. Ireland were obliged to make 17(...)

Simon Zebo tries to break free from Welsh tacklers at Aviva Stadium. “Scotland wax lyrical at their man Stuart Hogg but Zebo has better lines and given more opportunity can cut any defence apart.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

So we were all wrong; the toughest 20 days of Joe Schmidt’s journey began yesterday with a draw to Wales; it could have been better but it could have (...)

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 A(...)

Mike McCarthy: “If you don’t front up physically, if you come second best you are not going to win the game.” Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Straw clutching down Carton House way. A staid media afternoon before the daunting Welsh opener should not be taken as reflecting the mood in the Ire(...)

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt at the press conference to announce the side to face Wales in the opening Six Nations  game at the Aviva stadium on Sunday. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt began the press conference – only his second media appearance since the 43-20 to Argentina last October – with a positive sp(...)

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 14: Ireland player Jamie Heaslip gets to grips with Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland at Millennium Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Super Saturday was indeed beyond superlative, but it does look a rather long time ago now. In glorious mid-March conditions the day rained points (2(...)

James Tracy and Dominic Ryan take part in Leinster Rugby Squad Training, Rosemount, UCD 25th January. Photograph: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Amidst a Monday morning of further exodus, an interminably long injury list and a concussive non-concussion, the stain from Leinster’s record defeat i(...)

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 (...)