Ireland rugby squad training in Newport, Wales. Coach Joe Schmidt believes game against France will be decided on tiniest of margins. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

This is it then. The World Cup has finally arrived for Ireland and France. From now on, things become altogether more serious. For the winners, a seve(...)

Jared Payne will not  face France on Sunday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 5:54

The French would have been mid-session this afternoon when word filtered through that Keith Earls will be wearing number 13 for Ireland on Sunday at t(...)

Mathieu Bastareaud: “Bastareaud will come charging down the 10 channel . . . defending this shouldn’t be Johnny Sexton.” Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP. 5:10

How far back do I go in my homework for France in Cardiff? Their performances in the last Six Nations where they won two and lost three? Or should I s(...)

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(...)