England’s 10-12 axis of George Ford and Owen Farrell will not win too many collisions, so they are tasked with creating space. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images.

Winning in Twickenham comes down to rugby’s essential non-negotiable: a player either makes or creates space. Go over defenders or ghost past them. W(...)

Brian O’Driscoll “I knew I was small and knew I had to wait for a bit of size to come. It came over the course of that summer. I must have grown four or five inches.”

The rugby is over now. They can be found in Dublin offices like Davy Stockbrokers, KPMG or away in Chicago, London and Vancouver. All pushing 40, many(...)

Former All Black centre Aaron Mauger, who became Leicester Tigers head coach last summer. Photograph: David Rogers/Inpho

In July 2012 a wise man journeyed to Cork, and Limerick, with the gift of Canterbury Crusaders rugby. This, the most successful blueprint for success (...)

Leinster’s Isa Nacewa and head coach Leo Cullen know the Irish provinces cannot compete financially with English and French clubs. Photograph: Dan Sheridan

Isa Nacewa is perhaps the perfect pair of eyes to see how the global game is becoming dollar-shaped. The relevance of rugby’s financial evolution is t(...)

An Ireland fan looks dejected during the IRB RWC Quarter Final match between Ireland and Wales at Wellington Regional Stadium in 2011. Photograph: Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images

1- 1987 Ireland 6 Wales 13 - Athletic Park, Wellington It was two years since Ireland had won the Triple Crown under Mick Doyle(...)

New Leinster coach Leo Cullen at a press conference in UCD. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Undoubtedly fast-tracked, Leo Cullen as head coach doesn’t come as a surprise to those who have known him longest. His formal appointment by Leinster (...)

Ireland’s Tommy O’Donnell had his World Cup dreams shattered against Wales. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The roof closed out the sunshine and in addition a cloud hung over Ireland’s otherwise encouraging start to their World Cup preparations in Saturda(...)

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(...)

A teenage Gordon D’Arcy at Ireland squad training in 1998. Photograph: Keith Heneghan/Inpho

First sight of Gordon D’Arcy was on his knees in the background. The snapshot from March 1995 is of Geordan Murphy, his predecessor in the art of evas(...)

Gordon D’Arcy’s announcement does not rule out the possibility of  a World Cup farewell. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

It’s been one of the stellar Irish rugby careers, for sure, and when the end of October comes and Gordon D’Arcy heads into the sunset he can do so (...)