The IRFU’s Dan Downey sets up the GPS units on the Aviva Stadium’s pitch ahead of Ireland’s Six Nations game against France in February. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Not so long ago a fag and orange segment was seen as restorative at half-time, an extra lap until you drop a good thing, a sign of heart. But in recen(...)

Ireland players line up for the anthems ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Scotland and Ireland - Six have been selected for our Six Nations team of the tournament. Photograph: Ian  MacNicol/Getty Images 9:27

15 Rob Kearney (Ireland):Leigh Halfpenny’s goal-kicking could give him the nod again. Stuart Hogg was electric and carried for 100 more metres. But Ke(...)

Tommy Bowe:  He worked extremely hard all afternoon and made some excellent breaks for a 92-metre haul. A couple of offloads didn’t go to a teammate but that doesn’t take away from the impact he made. Rating: 7

15 Rob KearneyA little bit of a mixed bag, a fumble for Scotland’s try, a couple of sliced kicks but overall his contribution was on the positive side(...)

Robbie Henshaw, Jared Payne, Luke Fitzgerald, Rob Kearney and Jonathon Sexton at an Ireland squad training session at Carton House, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland 15 Rob Kearney Age: 28 Height: 1.85m (6’1”) Weight: 95kg (15st) Caps: 61 Tries: 10 (1 conversion) After a few early errors, he was one of the(...)

 Simon Zebo upended in the tackle.  Wales racing into a 12-0 lead threw a spanner in the works of this well-oiled Irish machine. Photograph:   Michael Steele/Getty Images

The pressure told; the pressure of the occasion maybe and, the shoe on the other foot, the scoreboard pressure applied on Ireland by Wales, who were m(...)

Rob Kearney: A few early errors but grew into the game with some traditional high fielding and a willingness to carry ball repeatedly: some success in breaking first line of defence on cut-backs and was his side’s most effective ball carrier with 104 metres. Rating 6

15 Rob KearneyA few early errors but grew into the game with some traditional high fielding and a willingness to carry ball repeatedly: some success i(...)

Simon Zebo of Ireland is upended during the Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images 4:42

It was Tomás Ó Sé who coined the phrase “you hammer the hammer” in reference to beating a team by targeting, and thereby negating, their primary st(...)

Ireland outhalf  Johnny Sexton gestures during the Six  Nations match against Wales  at the Millennium Stadium in  Cardiff. Photograph:  David Davies/PA 4:42

Joe Schmidt bemoaned a lack of accuracy at key moments as Ireland’s Grand Slam hopes disappeared in a 23-16 defeat to Wales at the Millennium Stadium.(...)

Ireland’s Paul O’Connell hands off Luke Charteris as he makes a line break in the first half agaisnt  Wales. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 4:42

An Irish winning streak broken, a Grand Slam halted, the Championship wide open and Paul O’Connell’s 100th cap soured by just a third Welsh win over I(...)

Scott Williams scores for Wales in the second half at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters 6:29

Wales 23 Ireland 16The title will still go to the wire, but the dream of a Grand Slam is over. Backed into uncharted territory when falling behind fro(...)