Munster and Ireland’s CJ Stander after being presented with the Zurich Irupa Players’ Player of the Year 2016 award. Photograph:: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Stand up, CJ Stander, the man of the season. The 26-year-old South African-born Munster and Irish backrower has become only the third overseas player(...)

Ulster outhalf Paddy Jackson runs in a try late in the  Guinness Pro 12 victory over Leinster at  Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Photograph:  Darren Kidd/Inpho/Presseye

Ulster 30 Leinster 6 Ulster put one foot into the play-offs, and ensured Leinster will have to beat Treviso next Saturday if they are to ensure a hom(...)

Ulster captain Rory Best: “I do think when we get our strongest side out we are very tough to beat.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

As ever with Ulster, Leinster loom large on their horizon as we reach the business end of the season. They have only won one of the sides’ last seven(...)

Craig Gilroy (left) and Tommy Bowe come in to the Ulster side for their Pro12 game against Zebre in Parma. Photograph: Stephen Hamilton/Inpho.

Zebre v Ulster, Stadio Lanfranchi, Parma, Satuirday, 4pm Irish time (BBC 1) Ulster, like so many teams on this taut run-in for a home semi-final pl(...)

Ireland and Leinster player Jack McGrath at the launch of IRUPA’s ‘Tackle Your Feelings Mental Wellbeing Campaign at  St Mary’s College in Rathmines, Dublin. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

St Mary’s RFC. Blue jersey all alone on a peg. Burly prop pounds a tackle bag in slow motion. Something isn’t right. Glazed gaze, eyes closing: “When (...)

Ireland international Andrew Trimble returns to the Ulster side – if he overcomes illness – for the Guinness Pro12 game against Connacht at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, on Friday evening. Photograph: Arthur Allison.

Ulster have been thrown quite the curve-ball as the Pro12 campaign enters its final four rounds of regulation play. First up, they worryingly find (...)

Gordon D’Arcy celebrates a try against Munster in the 2009 Heineken Cup semi-final. “It was  as seamless a performance as Leinster have ever produced.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Rugby has changed but Leinster versus Munster has a permanency to it. Even considering all that’s happened in recent seasons, it should still be the g(...)

Nathan White and Greig Laidlaw get involved as Donnacha Ryan and Conor Murray congratulate Ireland try scorer Devin Toner. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

To England the Grand Slam spoils, to Ireland a second successive win at the Aviva Stadium, thus maintaining a three-year unbeaten home record in the S(...)

Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg goes through the gap between Ireland prop Mikle Ross and hooker Rory Best on the way to scoring his try in the Six Nations clash at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Ireland’s report card from the Six Nations Championship could be summed up under the phrase ‘could do better’ on the basis of winning the previous two(...)

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt smiles at a press conference after the Six Nations win over Scotland at Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Joe Schmidt is the sort of guy who could take positives from an elephant stampede though a mud hut village. Then when things go well for Ireland, the(...)