Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip makes the crucial try-saving tackle as Scotland fullback  Stuart Hogg loses possession and knocks on going over the try line during the Six Nations game at Murrayfield. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho 9:27

It was a day of tiny margins where fate smiled on Ireland. A late try in Rome punctured rampant Welsh enthusiasm and despite missing two eminently kic(...)

From left: Denis Leamy, Ronan O’Gara, David Wallace, Simon Easterby, Gordon D’Arcy, Girvan Dempsey, Denis Hickie and Shane Horgan on St Patrick’s Day 2007 as Ireland took on Italy in Stadio Olimpico. Photograph: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Grand Slams are the holy grail, all the more so when a country has only won two of them in 120 years of trying. But championship titles aren’t to be s(...)

Ireland’s Cian Healy is tackled by Aaron Jarvis of Wales at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Greg Feek has been stressing that Cian Healy has been “chomping at the bit”. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Irish forwards coach Simon Easterby yesterday dropped the broadest of hints that the Irish starting XV and replacements for the Six Nations’ finale a(...)

Referee Wayne Barnes awards a controversial penalty to Wales during the final moments of the Six Nations match at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The contentious, at least from an Irish perspective, match-ending scrum penalty awarded by referee Wayne Barnes to Wales during Saturday’s Six Nations(...)

Simon Easterby: “Why can’t this be the period when Ireland win back-to-back championships.” Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Inpho/Presseye

Come the full-time whistle today and Simon Easterby could have a highly-distinguished place in the history of Irish rugby. He played a part in the pre(...)

Paul O’Connell: Victory over Wales at Millennium Stadium would set a new Ireland record of 11 wins in a row. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

As befits his status as arguably Ireland’s greatest forward, Paul O’Connell will become only the fourth Irish player to reach the milestone of 100 cap(...)

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt at a press conference ahead of the Six Nations game against Wales in Cardiff. 3:42

It’s been interesting to watch their relationship grow. Coming, in effect, from Leinster and Munster, there was an inevitable getting-to-know-you star(...)

Jamie Roberts: is a different player in the Wales jersey – despite his less than spectacular sojourn wit Racing Metro. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Wales don’t scare us like France and England can. Still, we have to respect what they have achieved under Warren Gatland. Three Six Nations titles, in(...)

“He’s smart, he’s got a good way about him, but he doesn’t accept people letting their team-mates down,” says Jono Gibbes, who was forwards’ coach for Joe Schmidt for three years at Leinster. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

In last year’s 13-10 defeat to England in Twickenham, Ireland started the match with Peter O’Mahony, Chris Henry, Jamie Heaslip, Conor Murray, Johnny (...)

Seán O’Brien meets some happy fans at the Ireland rugby squad’s open training session in Belfast. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

The Ireland rugby squad’s roadshow completed its 24-hour stay in Belfast in relatively rude health, with Jamie Heaslip, Seán O’Brien and Jared Payne a(...)