Keith Earls sat out Ireland’s training session at carton House on Tuesday. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Ireland squad limited themselves to a run-out of medium intensity for about 45 minutes amid the snow flurries at their Carton House base yesterday(...)

Head coach Joe Schmidt with his number eight Jamie Heaslip, who captained Ireland under Declan Kidney. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Aha, the great Irish captaincy debate. Whoever you might want as Ireland rugby captain, the only sure bet is that only Joe knows who is on the shortli(...)

Paul O’Connell is stretchered off at half-time after receiving a serious leg injury during Ireland’s pool match against France at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire.

Amid the prevailing end-of-year doom and gloom, lest we forget that was the year that produced the greatest World Cup ever – as well as Super Saturday(...)

New Zealander Maa Nonu in action for Toulon against Agen at the weekend: what Toulon are doing, while amazing to watch, is concocted in Mourad Boudjellal’s office. Photograph: Bertrand langlois/AFP

With the big picture barely sketched by Leo Cullen and Girvan Dempsey, a trip to Toulon is hardly the time for experimentation. This calls for an accu(...)

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw lifts the Webb Ellis trophy after beating Australia during the Rugby Union 2015 World Cup final at Twickenham in London

Richie McCaw, who captained New Zealand to two Rugby World Cup triumphs and was one of the best players ever to grace the game, has brought an end to (...)

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter  with the Webb Ellis Cup after the All Blacks’ victory over  Australia at Twickenham. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Not like this. That’s what Dan Carter thought when writhing in agony on home soil four years ago. It can’t end at a training session on the eve of the(...)

Kieran Read and his captain Richie McCaw raise the William Webb Ellis trophy into the air at Twickenham. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Back-to-back World Cups with perhaps the greatest team of all time. How to follow that, especially on foot of five of the great All Blacks individu(...)

So close: Australia’s head coach Michael Cheika  walks past the the Webb Ellis Cup after Saturday’s final. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Australia come out of this World Cup a stronger force than they went in. New Zealand are automatically weakened by the loss of Richie McCaw, Dan Carte(...)

New Zealand’s fullback Ben Smith  passes to his captain Richie McCaw during World Cup final against Australia at Twickenham. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Did you spot all those tricolours in Twickenham? The ultimate triumph of hope over Argentina. In the end our people had to make do with being neutral (...)

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(...)