Gordon D’Arcy celebrates a try against Munster in the 2009 Heineken Cup semi-final. “It was  as seamless a performance as Leinster have ever produced.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Rugby has changed but Leinster versus Munster has a permanency to it. Even considering all that’s happened in recent seasons, it should still be the g(...)

Stuart McCloskey in action against England: “An infusion of fresh talent can  galvanise more established members of a squad.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The infusion of new, young players in any team sport is invariably hailed by pundits and supporters, especially if results have taken a turn for the w(...)

Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby with Joe Schmidt. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

In that typically unfussy and unstated way of his, both as player and coach, Simon Easterby has again become a hugely important figure within the Irel(...)

Johnny Sexton in action against Wales in their Six Nations opener. “On seeing his demeanour on the field last Sunday it looked to me like he was enjoying his rugby again.” Photograph: Getty Images

The well-worn line about doing the jersey justice resonates in the wake of Paul O’Connell’s retirement from rugby. But a genuine tribute to Paulie’s l(...)

“With Paul O’Connell gone, Ireland’s next main influence will emerge during this Six Nations. He has to and he doesn’t necessarily have to be the captain.” File photograph:  Stu Forster/Getty Images

It’s hard to see the wood through the trees at the moment. But it’s there. The great unknown can worry Irish rugby supporters but glance back through (...)

Members of the 1948 Ireland  Grand Slam pictured in 2005, from left: Jim McCarthy, Jack Kyle, Paddy Reid, Jimmy Nelson, Karl Mullen and Michael O’Flanagan. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Patrick ‘Paddy’ Reid, the only Limerick man on Ireland’s 1948 Grand Slam team, has died, aged 91. The Garryowen centre became a coach of high yet ano(...)

Jonah Lomu in action against Ireland during the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Former Ireland captain Keith Wood has spoken of his sadness at the death of New Zealand international Jonah Lomu, saying the winger “catapulted the ga(...)

New Zealand’s fullback Ben Smith  passes to his captain Richie McCaw during World Cup final against Australia at Twickenham. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Did you spot all those tricolours in Twickenham? The ultimate triumph of hope over Argentina. In the end our people had to make do with being neutral (...)

Australia hooker Stephen Moore was born in Saudi Arabia to parents who hail from Galway and Mayo. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

An Irishman may well go where Keith Wood, Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell could not by lifting the William Webb Ellis trophy on Saturday evening. (...)

New Zealand’s hooker Dane Coles has been compared to a young Keith Wood. Photograph: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

Ryan Crotty’s try in overtime to beat Ireland in November 2013 doesn’t get any easier to watch. But it’s instructive to recall the key play and try(...)