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 (...)

Robert Kitson names 11 provincial players in his all-time European Cup best XV, including former Munster number eight Anthony Foley. Photograph: Getty

Time-travelling is always a temptation at this time of year. This week sees the 20th showpiece final in European club rugby’s eventful history and, in(...)

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(...)

Former Ireland international Geordan Murphy is  regarded as favourite to succeed Paul Burke. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Former Ireland international Paul Burke has stepped down as backs’ coach at the Leicester Tigers. Geordan Murphy would be regarded as favourite to suc(...)

‘What’s the secret to happiness?’ ‘Realising unhappiness is also fleeting.’ Disappearing ghost On January 29th Paul Kimmage and Brian O(...)

Leicester Tigers coach Richard Cockerill  looks on during his side’s 45-0 defeat to Bath in the Aviva Premiership clash at the Recreation Ground. “We are in this together and we will come out the other end.  Photo: David Rogers/Getty

Richard Cockerill never shied away from a challenge as a player, a mindset he maintained when he took over the position as head coach with the Leices(...)