Saracens celebrate Billy Vunipola’s bonus-point try at the end of the European Champions Cup game at Ravenhill. Photograph:   Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ulster 9 Saracens 27 Well beaten by a superior force. Here we witnessed a fate that may continue to befall the provinces in major Champions Cup games (...)

 Anthony Foley’s side should pick up a bonus point against Treviso. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The Champions Cup opening salvo proves there’s always a new mountain to climb even if the provinces are still paying that heavy World Cup toll. Let’s (...)

Japan players celebrate their momentous victory over South Africa in the pool section – the Brave Blossoms missed out on a place in the quarter-finals but won the hearts of the rugby world. Photograph: Getty Images

Gerry Thornley Match of the tournament? Spoilt for choice. Japan provided the best finish, Australia v Argentina was the most breathless, but t(...)

Tommy Bowe will miss Ireland’s Six Nations campaign following the knee injury he picked up during the World Cup defeat to Argentina. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland and Ulster winger Tommy Bowe is facing six months on the sidelines after he underwent surgery to repair the knee injury he sustained during Ir(...)

Paddy Jackson is back in the Ulster squad for Friday night. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland duo Paddy Jackson and Darren Cave have been included in Ulster’s squad for Friday night’s Guinness Pro12 tie against Cardiff Blues at Kings(...)

Jared Payne will not play for Ulster until at least December. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The timeline of Jared Payne’s “bruised foot” becoming “structural damage” that required surgery leaves Ulster without their prized possession at least(...)

Jared Payne is set to miss Ulster’s opening Champions Cup fixtures after surgery on his foot. Photograph: Inpho

Ulster coach Neil Doak has confirmed Jared Payne has had surgery on his injured foot and may now face a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Centre Payne w(...)

A disappointed Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip trudges off the pitch at the Millennium Stadium following Ireland’s defeat to Argentina. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland undoubtedly dodged a bullet by avoiding a brilliant All Blacks on Saturday night, but their stay of execution only lasted another day. The 43-(...)

 Ireland’s Johnny Sexton during the Captain’s Run at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on Friday. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

Disaster. Johnny Sexton’s injury timeline, according to the Ireland management, is that the 30 year old felt tightness in his groin on Friday after tr(...)

Ireland’s Tommy Bowe in action against France in last week’s final pool stage match at the Millennium Stadium. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Accentuate the heavy toll then highlight those who remain. With Paul O’Connell under the knife, Peter O’Mahony forced home and Seán O’Brien wanderi(...)