Ireland captain Paul O’Connell is braced for a physical encounter with italy at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland expect to be “battered up front and pushed to the limit” by Italy in Sunday’s crucial World Cup encounter at London’s Olympic Stadium. Captain(...)

He’s always had wheels. He’s always had the footwork to beat the first tackler. He’s always had a good skills-set and an eye for the try-line. Now,(...)

 Keith Earls and Simon Zebo were two of Ireland’s standout performers in their 44-10 win over Romania at Wembley. Photograph: Reuters

Another bonus point victory with the 44-10 over Romania and the only caveat in injury terms, appears to be a glute issue sustained by replacement Rob (...)

Devin Toner and Keith Earls celebrate after Earls scored Ireland’s opening try of the Rugby World Cup pool match against Romania. Photo: Andrew Coulridge/Reuters 6:25

What do Devin Toner, Chris Henry and Tommy Bowe have in common? Not so long ago they were certain starters in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland team. The problem (...)

Simon Zebo  gets away from Romania’s Viorel Lucaci during Ireland’s 44-10 win in their Rugby World Cup pool match at Wembley. Photo: David Davies/ PA 6:25

Wingers are the tallymen of rugby. It’s all about the figures. Tommy Bowe crossed for his 29th and 30th tries for his country and he’ll have enjoyed b(...)

Luke Fitzgerald challenges for a high ball with Matt Evans during Ireland’s opening World Cup match against Canada. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images 1:56

The odds on Ireland winning Pool D shortened from 4/6 to 4/7 in the aftermath of beating Canada, and while that may seem a little premature, it tak(...)

Cian Healy underwent an operation to his neck at the end of last season and will be keen to get game time ahead of the World Cup. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leinster will oblige Joe Schmidt this week should the Ireland coach asked the province to accommodate Cian Healy in their second match of their Pro12(...)

Ireland captain Paul O’Connell gets over for a try during the second half of the World Cup warm-up game at Twickenham. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

England 21 Ireland 13 The result may not have been terribly important but while this was the restorative win which was prescribed for England, it was (...)

 Simon Zebo is tackled by Scotland’s Seán Lamont during their World Cup Warm-Up match atthe  Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photograph: Inpho

Devin Toner, Paul O’Connell, Iain Henderson, Seán O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip are currently my starting 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 against France on October 11th.(...)

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(...)