Johnny Sexton is returning to the Ireland team after a 12-week absence due to concussion. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

There is an unmistakable sense that rugby union, and its century of tradition and pomp, moved towards an unfamiliar and darker place this week. Bernar(...)

The  physicality of the collisions  in international rugby is breathtaking  but so too the athletic prowess,  as demonstrated here by  Australia’s Kurtley Beale, who beats team-mate Israel Folau and Ireland’s Rob Kearney to the ball at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

One truth comes screaming out of this week’s debate about the use of strength-enhancing substances in rugby union: even the insiders are slightly bewi(...)

Former All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick (above), ex-Argentina skipper Agustin Pichot and former France back Thomas Castaignede all gave their views. Photograph: EMPICS Sport

Rugby’s perpetual conflict about how best to spread the game at elite level was encapsulated on Monday when a panel of three leading former players vo(...)

Bryan Habana of Toulon equalled the World Cup record of eight tries set by Jonah Lomu in 1999 when helping South Africa to win the 2007 World Cup in France. Photograph: John Berry/Getty Images.

As Munster watched Toulon beat Leinster the day after their rout of Toulouse, they may have thought the Heineken Cup couldn’t have provided the(...)

Jonah Lomu of New Zealand is tackled by Shane Horgan and Brian O’Driscoll of Ireland at Lansdowne Road in 2001. Photograph: Patrick Bolger/Inpho

“Ireland is a pretty significant place for me having played my first Test here . . . ” – Richie McCaw, New Zealand captainOne hundred and twenty two T(...)