Jamie Heaslip of Ireland charges upfield during the International match between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

So Pool D runners-up will be playing New Zealand on 17th October. Ahhh. But Pool D winners will have the reward of Argentina a day later. Neither Irel(...)

Keith Earls breaks with the ball to score an Ireland try during the international match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images.

Wales 21 Ireland 35 The slickness of this performance was testimony to the coaching skills of Joe Schmidt and his staff, and the trademark(...)

Simon Zebo is congratulated by three other Ireland try scorers, Jamie Heaslip, Felix Jones and Keith Earls after his score against Wales at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: PA

Wales 21 Ireland 35 The final scoreline, if anything, flattered Wales. Ireland were way more cohesive than a Welsh team cobbled together from World Cu(...)

Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip in relaxed mood with head coach Joe Schmidt during the captain’s run at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

As Jamie Heaslip noted, time was when players re-introduced themselves to the game with a modest pre-season friendly for their provinces, maybe a leag(...)

Ian Keatley has been left out of Ireland’s 45-man training squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has named his 45-man training squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup. Notable absentees from Schmidt’s squad include Ian Kea(...)

Connacht’s Eoghan Masterson is shown a yellow card and sinbinned by referee Romain Poite during the European Champions Cup play-off at Kingsholm Stadium. Photograph: Simon Cooper/PA Wire

As one Connacht player put it, when you’re at the bottom of the food chain you get dry bread. It’s often said in team sports that the perceived ‘bigge(...)

Ulster have made 11 changes for the Pro12 semi-final. Photo: Russell Pritchard/Inpho

Ulster have welcomed back 11 players who did not feature in last weekend’s defeat against Glasgow, for their Pro12 semi-final against the same opposit(...)

Kingspan Stadium, Belfast: would prove an intimidating home venue for Ulster in the final should they overcome Glasgow this weekend. Photograph: William Cherry/Presseye/Inpho

Glasgow eventually tore Ulster asunder last Saturday. The tries needed to secure a home semi-final demanded it. Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell delivered(...)

Ian Humphreys will start at outhalf for Ulster in their game away to Glasgow. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Inpho/Presseye

The draw with Munster in Belfast appears to have made up Neil Doak’s mind. Sure, that sharp cut-out pass by Paddy Jackson and touchline conversion (...)

Stuart McCloskey starts for Ulster away at Glasgow on Saturday. Photograph: Inpho

With a Pro 12 play-off place secured and a number of players picking up injuries in last weekend’s draw with Munster, Ulster boss Neil Doak has made a(...)