Seán O’Brien at the Ireland training camp in Celtic Manor: “It is going to be mentally a different challenge.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

If nothing else, the nature of the performance and win over Italy last Sunday will not fill Ireland with delusions of grandeur before facing France. (...)

Peter O’Mahony’s brilliant try-saving tackle on Italy’s Josh Furno proved vital in Sunday’s Pool D encounter at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph:  Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

This evening’s individual review process for the Ireland team will be a little painful for most as Ireland coach Joe Schmidt analyses the performance (...)

Robbie Henshaw is in line to make his World Cup debut in the Pool D game against Italy on Sunday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 7:17

Akin to other head coaches who have a clear selection strategy in this World Cup, although not all, Joe Schmidt is expected to largely revert to th(...)

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 (...)

Cian Healy made his return to the Ireland team against Canada in Cardiff. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

“He’s a freak, man.” Jamie Heaslip is describing his roommate, his best mate, the man who he strives alongside for greatness, the prop Ireland must ha(...)

Ireland hooker  Rory Best gets tackled by Canada’s Djustice Sears-Duru  during Rugby World Cup Pool D game at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Photograph:  Mike Egerton/PA

Rob Kearney 7 Primarily a goalkeeping fullback who rules aerial exchanges, so crucial if Ireland are to see Twickenham next month, but he ran for 121 (...)

 A Canada and Ireland fan enjoy the atmosphere during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between Ireland and Canada at the Millennium Stadium on in Cardiff on Saturday. Photograph:  Michael Steele/Getty Images

The stadium roof stayed on throughout the game, but on a glorious Autumn day in Cardiff, not even a roof could darken the mood of Irish rugby supporte(...)

Iain Henderson, supported by Luke Fitzgerald, run at the Canadian defence during the  Rugby World Cup Group D encounter at the Milennium Stadium in Cardiff. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joe Schmidt caught everyone at unawares with this team selection for Canada. Despite, seemingly, bringing inside centre cover to the World Cup in the (...)

Canada’s flanker John Moonlight: “Ill met by Moonlight,” Barnes cracked. The guffaws from Conor McNamara and Liam Toland in the commentary box told us it was funny. So did Google, once we’d established that Barnes was referencing a 1950s Dirk Bogarde war movie from a non-fiction book by W Stanley Moss. You get a different level of badinage with the rugby lads.

Saturday lunchtime and the rugby World Cup is happening, people. Settle down at the back and start concentrating. And here’s news for you - if you (...)

Cian Healy, Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara during Ireland’s 15-6 win over Australia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Getty

With rugby’s senior nations forming a relatively small pool of just eight sides, it figures that certain teams tend to meet each other regularly at th(...)