Ulster centre Darren Cave has said the pursuit of a place at the Rugby World Cup took over his life. Photograph: Inpho

A place on the bench in Twickenham can bring its own strains. But at least Darren Cave is there. He’s on the plane. He’s in the squad. He’s got his ti(...)

Coach Joe Schmidt will confirm team selection at lunchtime on Thursday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joe Schmidt is expected to send over a strong Irish side for Saturday’s last of four warm-up games before the World Cup, against the hosts, England(...)

Darren Cave is set to provide midfield cover for Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payneat the World Cup. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

As has been the case with other World Cup squad selections, there was always going to be some risk-taking when Joe Schmidt and his coaches finalise(...)

Paul O’Connell speaks to the team before the Wales game. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Rob Kearney 7 And he’s only getting started. Didn’t really attack the Welsh like he would in a full metal jacket affair but was his usual dominant sel(...)

Ireland flanker Jordi Murphy had a tough day against the outstanding Justin Tipuric of Wales during the World Cup warm-up at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Iain Henderson or Devin Toner? It’s not really a tough call anymore. The second best forward in Ireland these past six months, this 23-year-old Craiga(...)

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(...)