Leinster’s Fergus McFadden was knocked out by Kyle Eastmond’s tackle during their European Champions Cup quarter-final against Bath. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

One of rugby’s windfalls has been that with the increased power being transferred around the pitch from body to body, the game’s idea of manliness ha(...)

Racing-Metro’s  Jonny Sexton:  had been replaced when his team-mates decided to riskily run down the clock with pick-and-jam tactic within range of their posts. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP/INpho 3:19

It’s funny how the new order has effectively scrapped the wonderful Heineken Cup for a revamped new tournament without a title sponsor, on foot of (...)

Leinster’s Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Devin Toner during the European Champions Cup victory against Bath. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho 3:19

Leinster 18 Bath 15 Much ado about nothing really. Leinster instinctively know what’s needed to win a European quarter-final. They have done it(...)

Peter Stringer will leave Bath at the end of the season. Photograph: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Sam Burgess will start, with Peter Stringer to feature at scrumhalf, as Bath intend to use every arrow in their quiver to stop Leinster in the Champio(...)

Peter Stringer has 98 Ireland caps and has not given up hope of adding to that number. First up, though, is to find a new club, with Leinster among the sides rumoured to be interested in his services. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The trick to getting older is not to get old before time. It’s an aphorism to which Peter Stringer would subscribe. Rugby’s Dorian Gray celebrated his(...)

JP’s old man can’t take his eyes off me. I’m like, “What?”He’s there, “I just want to be sure you’re not a mirage.”I laugh, even though I’ve no idea w(...)

From left: Denis Leamy, Ronan O’Gara, David Wallace, Simon Easterby, Gordon D’Arcy, Girvan Dempsey, Denis Hickie and Shane Horgan on St Patrick’s Day 2007 as Ireland took on Italy in Stadio Olimpico. Photograph: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Grand Slams are the holy grail, all the more so when a country has only won two of them in 120 years of trying. But championship titles aren’t to be s(...)

Rory Best during Ireland’s Captain’s Run at the Millennium Stadium two years ago, the last time they played Wales in Cardiff. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho. 5:42

Stuart Lancaster resorted to playing the Welsh song Hymns and Arias at full volume on loudspeakers at the squad’s indoor training facility at Pennyhil(...)

Putting it on the line: Ireland’s Keith Wood powers over for a  try against England in their 2001 Six Nations match. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

It’s the big one, simple as. Ireland against England has a resonance, a sense of history and occasion which surpasses all other Irish fixtures. Be it (...)

Munster’s Alan Quinlan wrestles with Leicester’s  Neil Back during the 2002 Heineken Cup final at the  Millennium Stadium in  Cardiff. Photo:  David Rogers/Getty Image

Rugby can sometimes contrive the Hollywood ending. And so it is the next time Neil Back and Peter Stringer line out, they may be chumming up to each (...)