Paul O’Connell and his team-mates had the character and fitness levels to withstand the charge of the French bench in the second half. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The Great AK was right; ‘no amount of analytical physics can open a door’ but in the end energy, team spirit and tactical nous can close many a French(...)

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 captain Paul O’Connell talks to his players during the 18-11 win over France  at the Aviva Stadium.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan / Inpho 4:45

A Valentine’s Day game for the romantics it certainly was not but for all the talk of brawn beating brains in the modern game the result still shouts(...)

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’s centre Mathieu Bastareaud is tackled by Scotland hooker Ross Ford  at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, nearParis. Photograph: Miguel Medina / AFP / Getty Images

It may seem the number of carries in a rugby match, and who carried the ball, is simply a bald figure that shows who made the most yards, or, who was(...)

 Jonathan Sexton training ahead of the Six Nations meeting with France at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.  PHotograph: Dan Sheridan / Inpho 7:01

Johnny Sexton will take France’s pledge to exploit any lingering weakness from his 12-week concussion lay-off fully in his stride in Dublin on Saturda(...)

France’s Mathieu Bastareaud  is tackled by Scotland players  during their Six Nations game  at the Stade de France.

Is it any wonder this old Six Nations lark is the envy of the southern hemisphere. The European rugby public annually gather in some of the finest cit(...)

Test-winning Lion Sean O’Brien limbers up during a squad training session at Carton House in Co Kildare ahead of the game against France. Photograph: PA 3:25

The returning trio of Test-winning Lions, Seán O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip and Johnny Sexton, are expected to be named in the starting line-up at 2pm on Th(...)

Keith Earls goes through his paces during Ireland training this morning. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 3:25

Ireland skills and kicking coach, Richie Murphy, confirmed a full participation at Ireland’s training session ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations clash wi(...)