On your marks: Paul O’Connell will captain Ireland in their decisive tie against England in the Six Nations. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Once again the stakes are huge. Once again the meeting of last year’s top two finds both countries unbeaten. So come the full-time whistle the winners(...)

Simon Zebo has had few chances to play his attacking, running game but insists he is more than happy to be part of a winning Ireland side. (Photograph: INPHO/Dan Sheridan) 3:06

Simon Zebo never woke up in the morning having dreamed of the kick and chase game. He never fantasised about competing for a high ball and slapping it(...)

Paul O’Connell and his team-mates had the character and fitness levels to withstand the charge of the French bench in the second half. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The Great AK was right; ‘no amount of analytical physics can open a door’ but in the end energy, team spirit and tactical nous can close many a French(...)

RBS 6 Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 14/2/2015Ireland vs France Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

It was all we’ve come to expect from modern-day Test rugby, brutally physical, suffocatingly tight, as taut as a wire and absorbing until the very fin(...)

Johnny Sexton was named man of the match in Ireland’s 18-11 Six nations win over France at the Aviva Stadium.  (Photograph: REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton)

Ireland player ratingsRob Kearney 7Made nine carries for 53 metres. A jarring, wrap tackle on Scott Spedding earned an important 24th minute penalty a(...)

 Ben Te’o gets a long overdue fourth appearance for Leinster against the Dragons on Sunday, having so far only played 87 minutes of rugby union. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

A non-televised Pro 12 game in Dublin sneaks under the radar but there’s plenty of external interest in those involved.There are rumours that Wallab(...)

Players push in a scrum during the Six Nations  match between Italy and Ireland at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

I try not to speak negatively about rugby. It has given me so much and I have seen it give so generously to others.There is a saying, that your best m(...)

Ireland’s Simon Zebo in action against Italy in the  Six Nations in Rome. Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters

Saturday will be a special game for Simon Zebo and his extended Irish-French family, the first time this son of a Martinique-born French athlete will(...)

Ireland’s Ian Keatley in action against Italy. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. 2:48

Some lessons can only be learned the hard way. Everyone knows it will be so, but Ian Keatley talking himself out of Ireland’s number 10 jersey agains(...)

Tommy O’Donnell breaks away from the Italian defence to score Ireland’s second try at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty 2:48

I start where I left off on Friday – patient play with green grass field position in mind, allied to Italy’s non-engagement in the breakdown, will pro(...)