Stuart McCloskey could form a physically imposing midfield partnership with Robbie Henshaw in Ireland’s Six Nations opener against Wales. Photograph: Inpho

Wales’ Jonathan Davies will be “the midget of the midfield” if Ireland pair Stuart McCloskey and Robbie Henshaw at centre for Sunday’s Six Nations ope(...)

CJ Stander and Stuart McCloskey on their way  to an Ireland training session  at Carton House  on Wednesday. Photograph:  Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Ireland’s rookie centre Stuart McCloskey can cope with Wales’ ‘Warrenball’ tactics if handed his Test debut in Sunday’s Six Nations opener against Wal(...)

Jared Payne in action during Ireland training at Carton House. Photograph:   Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Nothing much fazes Jared Payne, his laconic drawl occasionally punctuated by a smile, as he discusses the disappointment of injury, a curtailed playin(...)

England’s frontrow Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley and Alex Corbisiero celebrate a scrum penalty awarded against Ireland in the 2012 St Patrick’s Day massacre

St Patrick’s Day 2012. Mike Ross departs, broken, by half-time. Six minutes later Philip Matthews, a durable blindside and Ireland captain through so(...)

Connacht v Scarlets, Sportsground, 3.0pm, Sky Sports Connacht host top-of-the-table Scarlets at the Galway Sportsground today in what is arguably th(...)

“With Paul O’Connell gone, Ireland’s next main influence will emerge during this Six Nations. He has to and he doesn’t necessarily have to be the captain.” File photograph:  Stu Forster/Getty Images

It’s hard to see the wood through the trees at the moment. But it’s there. The great unknown can worry Irish rugby supporters but glance back through (...)

Connacht coach Pat Lam: “It would be a massive credit if we can get out of this 16 games in the top four.”Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Connacht wrap up a tough run of 16 games on the trot on Saturday with high hopes of remaining in the Guinness Pro 12 top four. “We can see light at (...)

 Johnny Sexton leaves the field after suffering a head injury in the match with Wasps: the Leinster and Ireland outhalf suffered four concussions in 2014. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Johnny Sexton did not fail the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) he underwent on Saturday at the Rioch Arena. The Leinster outhalf also passed the HIA he (...)

Connacht’s Finlay Bealham has been called into the Ireland squad. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Connacht’s Finlay Bealham has been brought into the Ireland squad following the hamstring injury sustained by Marty Moore which has ruled him out of n(...)

Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw goes over for a try in the  Challenge Cup game against Enisei-STM at the Sportsground in Galway. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Connacht 47 Enisei-STM 5 Job done, an eighth European Challenge Cup quarter-final secured, and a date in France in April is something coach Pat Lam (...)