Serge Blanco dives to score a magical try and give France a 30-24 win over Australia in the 1987 Rugby World Cup semi-final. Photograph: Getty

With Australia and New Zealand through to the semi-finals of the inaugural World Cup, where they would play France and Wales respectively, it seeme(...)

Captain David Kirk kisses the Webb Ellis Cup after the All Blacks’ 29-9 World Cup final win over France in 1987. Photograph: Getty

The Rugby World Cup is a devilishly difficult tournament to win. To do so requires countless permutations to work in your favour and as well as talent(...)

Louis Picamoles  makes a break during the  match between England and France at Twickenham on Saturday. The big-carrying Toulouse number eight was France’s standout player. Photograph:  Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

The most interesting and revealing case study in these warm-up games from an Irish perspective are undoubtedly France. Ireland’s final pool game again(...)

Toulon celebrate winning the European Champions Cup after beating Clermont Auvergne at Twickenham on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho.

So Toulon are entitled to be labelled the European Cup’s greatest ever team? For a club which only competed in one Heineken Cup prior to its current t(...)

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre. “He may  be a practical coach but the French media stone him for his inability to settle upon a team.” Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Only place to begin is at the end of Paris. When the Ides of March were overcome.Sexton had been carted off (not an omen just another reason to avoid (...)

“Ireland played great footy and deserved to win (last November), but the kicking was way too much. That’s not how we play. The mindset is a massive difference.”

The Six Nations is the pinnacle of European international rugby. The greats of the game, leapt to the world’s attention through their actions in the c(...)

France’s Teddy Thomas takes possession during the Test against Australia at the Stade de France. Photograph: Reuters.

A natural born worrier if ever there was one, Joe Schmidt would have assiduously watched every minute of France’s compelling 29-26 win over Australia (...)

Former Ireland head coach  Eddie O’Sullivan faces a daunting task at turning fortunes around at Biarritz.

Without a head coaching job in rugby since leaving the USA Eagles after the 2011 World Cup, it became increasingly evident that Eddie O’Sullivan would(...)

 Eddie O’Sullivan, centre, pictured during his time as Ireland coach, has been appointed head coach at Briarritz Olympique. Photograph: Alan Betson, Irish Times

Eddie O’Sullivan will take over as head at recently relegated Biarritz Olympique, who have lost their status in the French Top 14 for the first time i(...)

Former South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar at the official announcement of the One Young World 2014 summit at Trinity College in Dublin. The charity gathers together young people between 18 and 30 from around the world, and endeavours to empower them to make lasting connections to create positive change. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

South Africa’s 1995 World Cup winning captain Francois Pienaar is enjoying a dual purpose visit to Ireland. Yesterday afternoon, he s(...)