England give South Africa a guard of honour after the Springboks destroyed them 36-0 in Pool A of the 2007 World Cup. Photograph: Getty

In 2007 England came to the World Cup more in hope of defending their crown than with any real expectation. In the four seasons which had passed sinc(...)

Leinster’s Luke Fitzgerald: Leinster forwards coach Leo Cullen said “He will certainly be out for the next two weeks. I don’t think it’s a World Cup issue.” Photograph: Inpho

Luke Fitzgerald will miss the final two matches of Leinster’s season after undergoing an operation to repair a tear to the labrum in his shoulder. He (...)

Toulon were crowned champions of Europe for a third successive year after they beat Toulon 24-18 at Twickenham. Photograph: Getty

Clermont Auvergne 18 Toulon 24Toulon made rugby union history at Twickenham as they clinched a hat-trick of European titles by defeating fellow French(...)

Robert Kitson names 11 provincial players in his all-time European Cup best XV, including former Munster number eight Anthony Foley. Photograph: Getty

Time-travelling is always a temptation at this time of year. This week sees the 20th showpiece final in European club rugby’s eventful history and, in(...)

Toulon flanker Steffon Armitage  collides with Cian Healy during the European Champions Cup  semi final  in Marseille. Photograph: Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images

Wales, then Toulon. Seán O’Brien and defeat sit uncomfortably in the same room. His frustrations were audible on Wayne Barnes’s microphone in Cardiff(...)

Steffon Armitage was the difference really. At least three textbook turnovers killed Leinster momentum.

Rob Kearney 7/10Three superb acts of high fielding gave Leinster the briefest glimpses of front foot ball but his long, long range drop goal with seco(...)

Toulon’s Ali Williams dives to score a try against Wasps in their  European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final at Stade Flix Mayol, Toulon. Photograph: Inpho

Leigh Halfpenny Age: 26 Height: 1.78m/5ft 10in Weight: 85kg/13st 5lb Positionally excellent and the best goal kicker in the world but Delo(...)

  Schalk Burger of South Africa will line out against Ireland on Saturday.  Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

Today Schalk Burger is urbane, courteous, a smiling, open book. Yes, there’s Luke Fitzgerald, who may hold a bolder view on the Springbok flanker. (...)

Toulon’s  Romain Taofifenua and Ulster’s Tommy Bowe compete for a loose ball  during the  Champions Cup clash at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Photo:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

I notice Law 10.4 (c) is back in the picture where a player must not kick an opponent. It’s not the first time a secondrow got his timing wrong but(...)

Ruan Pienaar will undergo a fitness test in Dublin next week ahead of South Africa’s opening game of their European tour against Ireland. photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Some good news for Leinster in yesterday’s 36-man Springbok squad for the European tour that begins in Dublin on November 8th as Heyneke Meyer has (...)