Ireland’s win takes on greater significance given the World Cup context. A defeat would have been their fifth in a row against England, who are potential semi-final opponents. Photograph: Inpho 6:46

It’s funny how a newly opened or even a refurbished ground takes a while to assume a character of its own. The stands having barely been opened by a c(...)

Rob Kearney: A couple of loose kicks aside he was the personification of calm collection under the high ball and that infuses confidence in those around you. Rating: 7

15 Rob KearneyA couple of loose kicks aside he was the personification of calm collection under the high ball and that infuses confidence in those aro(...)

Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw  takes a high ball despite the attempts of England’s   Alex Goode to score a try during the Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images 6:46

Ireland 19 England 9A strangely comprehensive dismissal of England, to end a four game losing streak dating back to 2011, this will be remembered as t(...)

RBS 6 Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 14/2/2015Ireland vs France Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

It was all we’ve come to expect from modern-day Test rugby, brutally physical, suffocatingly tight, as taut as a wire and absorbing until the very fin(...)

Johnny Sexton was named man of the match in Ireland’s 18-11 Six nations win over France at the Aviva Stadium.  (Photograph: REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton)

Ireland player ratingsRob Kearney 7Made nine carries for 53 metres. A jarring, wrap tackle on Scott Spedding earned an important 24th minute penalty a(...)

Ireland’s Mike Ross holds on to the shorts of French winger Teddy Thomas to make a vital tackle during the Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 7:17

THE BREAKDOWNIreland were outplayed here and had to send extra numbers in to try and hang on to possession. As a result France had a numerical superio(...)

Ireland outhalf Jonathan Sexton lands one of his five successful penalty kicks during the Six Nations clash against France   at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland 18 France 11If winning is ultimately the only commodity that matters, it also colours the landscape panoramically. Ireland emerged victorious (...)

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre. “He may  be a practical coach but the French media stone him for his inability to settle upon a team.” Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Only place to begin is at the end of Paris. When the Ides of March were overcome.Sexton had been carted off (not an omen just another reason to avoid (...)

Tommy O’Donnell breaks away from the Italian defence to score Ireland’s second try at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty 2:48

I start where I left off on Friday – patient play with green grass field position in mind, allied to Italy’s non-engagement in the breakdown, will pro(...)

Sean O’Brien was forced to withdraw from the Ireland team ahead of the 26-3 victory over Italy in Rome after damaging his hamstring during the warm-up and is now a doubt for Saturday’s fixture against France at the Aviva Stadium. (Photograph: INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

Seán O’Brien’s involvement against France next Saturday remains in doubt after damaging his hamstring while warming up ahead of Ireland’s 26-3 trimmin(...)