France’s centre Mathieu Bastareaud:  Inevitably, I am very disappointed. There are plenty of things I’ve done wrong. I had a bad game. I am not ashamed in admitting it. 1:02

The headline in French sports bible L’Equipe proclaimed ‘The Blues Not Up to Standard,’ as they reflected on Ireland’s 24-9 at the Millennium stadium (...)

France’s Mathieu Bastareaud and Yoann Maestri bring Ireland hooker Rory Best crashing to the Millennium Stadium turf. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho 5:08

The risk is to list out all 23 Irish players and wax lyrical about their extraordinary performance. What harm? They were extraordinary and so too were(...)

Ireland’s Sean O’Brien gave a wonderfully bullish performance against France. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leaders fall and others instantly rise up. Three, possibly four men lost, the Millennium became Seán O’Brien’s field, while Rory Best was only phenome(...)

Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw: centre is credited with 14 to 16 tackles against Italy. “Sixteen tackles, that won’t do. I’ll have to improve that, going to have to look to put in a harder shift again,” he said. Photograph: Inpho

A time in their lives these rugby men will never forget. It’s a week in which they beat Italy, watched the Republic of Ireland conquer Germany and Nor(...)

Horse power: France’s Mathieu Bastareaud and Alexandre Flanquart training in Cardiff. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

It was fairly quiet on Cardiff’s western front on Friday night, as Irish rugby fans took a leaf out of Joe Schmidt’s playbook by trying not to peak to(...)

Ireland rugby squad training in Newport, Wales. Coach Joe Schmidt believes game against France will be decided on tiniest of margins. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

This is it then. The World Cup has finally arrived for Ireland and France. From now on, things become altogether more serious. For the winners, a seve(...)

Ireland winger  Tommy Bowe scores a try against France in 2012. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

2012 Six Nations Championship France 17 Ireland 17, Stade de France This was the first draw between the sides since 1985 and represented (...)

France’s number eight Louis Picamoles during a training session at the Vale Resort in Hensol, south Wales. Photograph: Getty Images

Number eight Louis Picamoles will start France’s Pool D decider against Ireland on Sunday as one of two changes to the team who beat Canada in their p(...)

Mathieu Bastareaud: “Bastareaud will come charging down the 10 channel . . . defending this shouldn’t be Johnny Sexton.” Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP. 5:10

How far back do I go in my homework for France in Cardiff? Their performances in the last Six Nations where they won two and lost three? Or should I s(...)

France have vowed to hunt down Johnny Sexton in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup clash at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Afp

The pre-match psychological warfare in advance of Sunday’s Pool D showdown was ratcheted up a notch or two yesterday, with plenty of musings from Raci(...)