Kurtley Beale during an Australia training session at Stradbrook in Blackrock on Thursday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Michael Cheika has vowed not to play “social worker” to controversy-plagued Australia utility back Kurtley Beale. The Wallabies boss pledged Beale wil(...)

Munster prop forward James Cronin has been a revelation since his emergence. Photograph: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

There was mixed news for a couple of the burgeoning young Munster players yesterday as loose-head James Cronin was obliged to see a specialist regardi(...)

Ulster’s Paddy Jackson and Craig Gilroy tackle Mathieu Bastareaud of Toulon during the European Rugby Champions Cup clash  at Kingspan Stadium. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ulster 13 Toulon 23Ulster were unlocked by European champions Toulon at Kingspan Stadium to lose only the second of their last 18 home Pool stage matc(...)

Matt Giteau was voted best player in France last season as Toulon won the Top 14 and Heineken Cup double. Photograph: Remy Gabalda/ AFP/Getty Images

As the cards fell badly this week for Paddy Jackson and his international career, the arrival of Toulon and Matt Giteau to Belfast seems freighted wit(...)

Toulon’s outhalf Matt Giteau  is tackled by Llanelli Scarlets’ full back Liam Williams during last week’s  European  Champions Cup clash at  the Mayol stadium in Toulon,  France. Photo: Bertrand Langlois/Getty

I’ve long been a fan of Saracens’ sub outhalf Charlie Hodgson. He was sensational in London’s Allianz Park in January facilitating a monster victory o(...)

 Dan Carter: the New Zealand outhalf has just returned from a knee injury. Photograph:  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The three major southern hemisphere nations are set to lose a number of their leading players to French clubs after next year’s World Cup. The Racing (...)

RC Toulon’s Jonny Wilkinson lifts the trophy after winning the Heineken Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with victory over Saracens. Photograph:  Joe Giddens/PA

Jonny Wilkinson claimed a second consecutive Heineken Cup crown in his final game on British soil on Saturday but was keen to turn the spotlight on t(...)

Toulon’s Matt Giteau scores a try despite the tackle of Saracens’ Richard Wigglesworth during the Heineken Cup Final at the  Millennium Stadium in  Cardiff. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

RC Toulon 23 Saracens 6: The new superpower in the European game duly emulated Leicester (2000-01) and Leinster (2011-12) by retaining the Heineken Cu(...)

Toulon Rugby owner Mourad Boudjellal   celebrates  his team’s Heineken Cup quarter-final victory over Leinster at the Felix Mayol Stadium in Toulon. Photo:  David Rogers/Getty Images)

The essence is in part aspirational, a glossy, Panini sticker-album feel, to the playing roster at Toulon. Club president and multi-millionaire(...)

For Munster to keep the ball on or beyond the gain line against Toulon in Marseille. James Downey (with ball, above), in particular, must get flat, quick ball ad nauseam. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

I’ve a different view on Leinster’s performance against Toulon. It was said by themselves and others they didn’t land a punch; but in not conce(...)