Ireland’s Johnny Sexton and Paul O’Connell in discussion during the Captains Run  at the Aviva Stadium ahead of Sunday’s Six Nations clash with England. Photograph:   Niall Carson/PA

Ireland against England is always a big deal, but it’s hard to escape the feeling Sunday’s game at the Aviva is a bit different. It’s a coming (...)

Wales’ Jamie Roberts takes on Scotland’s Rob Harley during their Six Nations  match at Murrayfield earlier this month. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Wales centre Jamie Roberts will go into next Saturday’s Six Nations clash against France amid speculation that he could be released early from his con(...)

Jared Payne and Peter O’Mahony of Ireland with Mathieu Bastareaud of France:  Ireland made no line breaks, scored no tries but still won the game at the Aviva Stadium last week. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

On the wall in my grandfather’s house hung an ancient pendulum clock. It functioned because many intricate parts, some large and slow-moving, others t(...)

Jamie Heaslip is out of the England encounter with broken vertebrae. Photograph:  Michael Steele/Getty Images

Ireland’s seemingly most durable and indestructible player, Jamie Heaslip, remains the only casualty from last Saturday’s uber-physical, bosh fest wi(...)

England outhalf George Ford  looks to offload the ball to Jonathan Joseph during the  Six Nations match against  Wales   at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Les Kiss has warned that George Ford’s “scary relationship” with Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson could derail Ireland’s quest to retain the Six Na(...)

Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss has been in here for seven years and will extend his stay when he becomes director of rugby at Ulster after the World Cup in November. photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

To put it in Australian parlance: “Seven years? Bloody hell’. It’s incredible to think that this is Les Kiss’ seventh season on the Irish coaching tic(...)

Outhalf  Ian Keatley solid after a nervy start in Rome.  Photograph:  Jamie McDonald/Getty Images 2:48

Ireland’s victory in Rome will help to assuage the disappointment of an imprecise performance that was long on perspiration but short on inspiration(...)

Jonny Bell, seen here  taking to Ulster centre Darren Cave, will join Gloucester from next season with former Waratahs defence coach Joe Barakat joining the province as an assistant coach. Photograph:  Darren Kidd/Inpho/Presseye

Former Waratahs defence coach Joe Barakat will join Ulster on a two-year deal as an assistant coach this summer, with the province also confirming t(...)

Ulster head coach Neil Doak: After an impressive league win at home to Glasgow in the first game after he was appointed full time, Ulster’s performances and results have fallen off badly.  Photo: Matt Mackey/Inpho/Presseye

Rarely has one decision appeared to have had such an impact. Ulster were flying. They had backed up a first win on French soil the season before with(...)

Cian Healy is a picture of dejection after Ireland lose to Wales in the 2011 World Cup quarter-final. Photography: Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory(...)