Australian referee Angus Gardner will take charge of Ireland’s Six Nations match at home to Italy on March 12th. Photograph: Jason Oxenham/Getty Images

Former Munster player John Lacey and George Clancy are Ireland’s sole referee representatives in the 2016 Six Nations Championship, which gets underwa(...)

Japan players celebrate their momentous victory over South Africa in the pool section – the Brave Blossoms missed out on a place in the quarter-finals but won the hearts of the rugby world. Photograph: Getty Images 2:16

Gerry Thornley Match of the tournament? Spoilt for choice. Japan provided the best finish, Australia v Argentina was the most breathless, but t(...)

Dan Carter (centre) has been named the World Rugby player of the year for 2015. New Zealand won the team award. Photograph:  Glyn Kirk/AFP

New Zealand outhalf Dan Carter has followed up his man-of-the-match performance in Saturday’s World Cup final by being crowned World Rugby player of t(...)

Sonny Bill Williams offloads to Ma’a Nonu, who shredded the Australia defence to score New Zealand’s second try of the final. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

New Zealand 34 Australia 17 So sometimes sport leaves no room for argument and does do perfect finales after all. The best team of the last fou(...)

  New Zealand duo Daniel Carter and Richie McCaw chat during the Rugby World Cup final against Australia at Twickenham. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

In the end it was all about McCaw and Carter. Never again will we see their likes. Certainly not at the same time. Before Carter grabbed hold of this (...)

Richie McCaw and Dan Carter hold aloft the Webb Ellis Cup after New Zealand’s win over Australia in the World Cup Final at Twickenham. Photograph:      Stu Forster/Getty Images

New Zealand 34 Australia 17 Simply the best, and perhaps now the best of all time. In any event, it’s hard to argue a case for a better team in(...)

All Blacks prepare to perform the Haka before last week’s semi-final victory over South Africa at Twickenham. Photograph: Getty Images. 1:43

The top-two sides in the world. The two most complete sides in the tournament. The world’s best referee. The forecast is set fair, for Twickenham, (...)

David Pocock and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe  in last week’s semi-final: Pocock  gave a wonderful display of thievery against Argentina. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

New Zealand and Australia will take the field on Saturday with each bidding to be the first nation to claim a third Rugby World Cup. Fans of free-flo(...)

Welsh  referee Nigel Owens, seen here officiating the Rugby World Cup quarter-final game between New Zealand and France, will take charge of Saturday’s final between the All Blacks and Australia. Photograph:  Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Welshman Nigel Owens has been appointed to referee next Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham, while Irelan(...)

France’s Morgan Parra and Brice Dulin try to halt New Zealand centre Ma’a Nonu at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Richie McCaw turns and leads with a glance. The other unsmiling giants immediately know the command is rapidity. Seven disciples, led by Kieran Read, (...)