Ireland flanker Seán O’Brien rises high to collect Rory Best’s lineout delivery during yesterday’s captain’s run at the Stade de France, which will be a 79,000 sell-out for the teams’ Six Nations clash. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

This will not exactly be Paris in springtime. The forecast is for a cold, windy and very wet day; more Irish-type conditions than French, and more lik(...)

Johnny Sexton in action against Wales in their Six Nations opener. “On seeing his demeanour on the field last Sunday it looked to me like he was enjoying his rugby again.” Photograph: Getty Images

The well-worn line about doing the jersey justice resonates in the wake of Paul O’Connell’s retirement from rugby. But a genuine tribute to Paulie’s l(...)

Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton kicks a penalty against Wales at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Johnny Sexton, so clearly in agony, only took leave of this Test match after ensuring Ireland regained parity at 16-16. Clearly the success and failu(...)

England captain Dylan Hartley in action against Scotland in Murrayfield. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

It’s hardly a high bar but perhaps the most notable part of the weekend was how Dylan Hartley managed to simultaneously captain England and not bite a(...)

 Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt with his team. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

For players and coaches, losing games of international rugby brings nothing but bad vibes. Most of the negativity of defeat is based around regret. (...)

Munster duo Tommy O’Donnell and CJ Stander both start for Ireland against Wales on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho

Rob Kearney and Sean O’Brien are the latest senior players ruled out of the opening Six Nations match against a well-stocked Welsh side. The Lei(...)

Leinster’s Ian Madigan will be facing Toulon’s Mathieu Bastareaud more often next season when he joins Bordeaux-Bègles. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

In the face of the ever increasing financial muscle of the French and English clubs, these are challenging times for Irish rugby. But amid a wave of c(...)

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(...)

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 14: Ireland player Jamie Heaslip gets to grips with Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland at Millennium Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Super Saturday was indeed beyond superlative, but it does look a rather long time ago now. In glorious mid-March conditions the day rained points (2(...)

Seán O’Brien: ready to fill the void left by Paul O’Connell. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

New championship, new challenge, new captain and even something of a new dawn. Ireland enter unchartered territory in the Six Nations, their first wit(...)