Ireland’s Simon Zebo and CJ Stander after victory over Scotland. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The 2016 Six Nations was never going to emulate the World Cup for its quality of rugby. Nor was it ever going to reproduce anything like the high-end (...)

Jamie Heaslip’s first try was an absolute belter. The offload from Simon Zebo (above), like all offloads, shattered the Italian defensive structure. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Many years ago I had the great privilege of listening to a coach’s cautionary tale from the great Australian cycling coach, David ‘Charlie’ Walsh. C(...)

Ireland’s Fergus McFadden and Josh van der Flier are both key players in Joe Schmidt’s eyes. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

1. One is either a Joe Schmidt player or one is not. And it helps to be one. Fergus McFadden is one and so, apparently, is Josh van der Flier (13 tac(...)

Conor Murray and Ian Madigan share a joke at the final whistle after Ireland’s victory over Italy in Saturday’s Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Nine tries in this 58-15 victory scatters the wolves far from Joe Schmidt’s door. But, we can be sure, the Ireland coach knows exactly what is being s(...)

 Robbie Henshaw  passes  to  Keith Earls  during the Pool D  World Cup clash   at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Matrin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)

As ever against the Azzurri, especially at home, Ireland are on something of a hiding to nothing, in that woe betide them if they don’t give Italy a g(...)

Italy head coach Jacques Brunel has made four changes from his side that lost to Scotland.

Rookie outhalf Edoardo Padovani has earned the right to leapfrog Kelly Haimona and lead Italy’s backline against Ireland on Saturday, according to he(...)

  Josh Van der Flier in action against England. All three of Ireland’s new caps are capable of having  a bigger impact on the game. Photo:  Clive Mason/Getty Images

I smashed my forearm to smithereens playing Italy in 2008. Three invasive surgeries later and the eight fractures had not healed properly so I was fo(...)

 Italy’s Sergio Parisse scores a try during against France. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

The most remarkable thing about Sergio Parisse is not what he can do during a game. What makes him, above all else, the greatest number eight in moder(...)

Number eight Josh Beaumont has been added to the England sqaud for the game against Italy in Rome on Sunday. Photograph:    David Rogers/Getty Images

Maro Itoje and Josh Beaumont have been included in a 25-strong England squad for Sunday’s Six Nations clash with Italy in Rome. Head coach Eddie Jone(...)

France’s centre Jonathan Danty (C) is tackled during the Six Nations match between France and Italy at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis Photograph: AFP Photo / Thomas Samson

France 23 Italy 21 New head coach Guy Noves was spared an early embarrassment as France came from eight points behind to beat Italy 23-21 in the open(...)