Joe Schmidt: has achieved a 78 per cent win ratio as coach of Ireland with 14 victories in 18 Test matches. Photo:  Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA

The road to All Blacks coach is mapped out in the New Zealand rugby union’s coaching manual: know thy enemy by gaining “offshore” experience. Ideal(...)

Simon Zebo: “I feel really fresh now, excited and hopefully my best rugby will come out.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Excluding the natural skills of Simon Zebo from Ireland’s World Cup squad would shock. Not unlike Declan Kidney cutting Luke Fitzgerald in 2011, wh(...)

Seán O’Brien, Paul O’Connell and Rob Kearney wearing Ireland’s alternate World Cup jersey. Photograph:   Dan Sheridan/Inpho 4:57

Paul O’Connell has confirmed that Ireland’s last game in the World Cup will be his final appearance for the national team ahead of joining three-time (...)

Ian Keatley has been left out of Ireland’s 45-man training squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has named his 45-man training squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup. Notable absentees from Schmidt’s squad include Ian Kea(...)

Stuart Hogg beats the tackles of Munster’s Felix Jones and Dave Kilcoyne to set up Glasgow’s third try. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/INPHO.

No one could begrudge Glasgow this triumph. This was the culmination of four years contesting the knock-out stages, and whereas Munster were completin(...)

Peter O’Mahony has been ruled out of Munster’s Pro 12 final against Glasgow on Saturday. Photograph: Inpho

Munster have sustained two heavy losses ahead of the Pro 12 final against Glasgow as Peter O’Mahony and Conor Murray are ruled out through injury. (...)

 Paddy Butler scores Munster’s  third try in the Guinness Pro 12 play-off at  Thomond Park. Photo:   Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Munster 21 Ospreys 18 Wild celebrations yes, but relief wasn’t the half of it as Munster nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory before then s(...)

Munster will again look to get to grips with Ospreys’ Rhys Webb, who has been one of the form half-backs of the PRO12 season. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Two long-standing Irish-Welsh rivals, and two organisations desperately hungry for some silverware. The three-time champions against the four-time cha(...)

Peter O’Mahony returns to the Munster side for their Pro 12 play-off semi-final against the Ospreys. Photogrpah: Inpho

Captain Peter O’Mahony and Simon Zebo both return to the Munster side for their Pro 12 semi final against Ospreys at Thomond Park on Saturday. O’Mahon(...)

For the Thomond Park x-factor to come into play on Saturday, Anthony Foley admits there will need to be a good deal more supporters in situ come the less than ideal 2.30pm kick-off.

Time was when the prospect of an end-of-season play-off at Thomond Park would have whet the juices like no other fixture and next Saturday’s Guinness(...)