New Zealand centre Ma’a Nonu:  against France his  key stats were 107 metres gained and nine passes; precious little contact from the big man. Power yes; but not to batter. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

All field sports the world over have two key principles; create space and exploit space. On Monday I replayed the match. Not the one you’d imagine (...)

Paul O’Connell  in Twickenham: “For me when you play England, you always think of the size of the players.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

This almost feels a little like the start of the World Cup. It’s Twickenham, all the squads have been named and England kick off the global, four-year(...)

Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip in relaxed mood with head coach Joe Schmidt during the captain’s run at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

As Jamie Heaslip noted, time was when players re-introduced themselves to the game with a modest pre-season friendly for their provinces, maybe a leag(...)

 Sam Burgess will only be considered for England’s World Cup squad as a centre and not as a backrow. Photograph: Getty

England head coach Stuart Lancaster views Sam Burgess as a centre rather than flanker and will only consider him for the World Cup as a midfield optio(...)

 Anthony Allen of Leicester Tigers has been forced to retire due to injury. Photograph: David Jones/Getty Images

Former England centre Anthony Allen has been forced to retire “at the peak of his career” aged just 28 after long-running knee problems. The ex-Glouce(...)

Danny Cipriani’s place in England’s Rugby World Cup squad is in jeopardy after he was arrested for drink driving. Photograph: PA

Danny Cipriani’s hopes of making England’s World Cup squad appear to be in jeopardy after the fly-half was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving afte(...)

Stuart Lancaster has defended his omission of overseas-bades players from England’s 50-man World Cup training squad. Photograph: PA

Stuart Lancaster has defended the omission of overseas-based players from his World Cup training squad by arguing their selection would only weaken th(...)

England centre Manu Tuilagi will miss the World Cup after being fined for assaulting a police officer and criminal damage. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

England centre Manu Tuilagi has been banned from playing for his country and will miss the World Cup after pleading guilty to two counts of assaulting(...)

Jonathan Joseph burst onto the international scene in this season’s Six Nations Championship, finishing it as the top try scorer. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Some sporting cross-pollination as a child is often the genesis for exceptional athletes. Jonathan Joseph sashayed his way through the Six Nations Cha(...)

Ireland players line up for the anthems ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Scotland and Ireland - Six have been selected for our Six Nations team of the tournament. Photograph: Ian  MacNicol/Getty Images

15 Rob Kearney (Ireland):Leigh Halfpenny’s goal-kicking could give him the nod again. Stuart Hogg was electric and carried for 100 more metres. But Ke(...)