Ireland supporters feel the strain during the World Cup Pool D game against Italy at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Well, aren’t we the neighbourly lot altogether? All this talk about the tournament losing its spark with England’s exit on Saturday night was hard to (...)

Canada’s flanker John Moonlight: “Ill met by Moonlight,” Barnes cracked. The guffaws from Conor McNamara and Liam Toland in the commentary box told us it was funny. So did Google, once we’d established that Barnes was referencing a 1950s Dirk Bogarde war movie from a non-fiction book by W Stanley Moss. You get a different level of badinage with the rugby lads.

Saturday lunchtime and the rugby World Cup is happening, people. Settle down at the back and start concentrating. And here’s news for you - if you (...)

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 01:  Conor Murray of Ireland clears the ball upfield under pressure from George Kruis of England during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium on March 1, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The debate continues, if not exactly rages, as to whether Ireland’s style of play will be good enough to win a World Cup. This in turn begs another qu(...)

Munster’s Alan Quinlan wrestles with Leicester’s  Neil Back during the 2002 Heineken Cup final at the  Millennium Stadium in  Cardiff. Photo:  David Rogers/Getty Image

Rugby can sometimes contrive the Hollywood ending. And so it is the next time Neil Back and Peter Stringer line out, they may be chumming up to each (...)

Jared Payne: “I’m pretty passionate about it, seeing the environment Ireland have created over the last three years. It is something I want to be a part of.” Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The Jared Payne story need not temper optimism.That was put to Joe Schmidt yesterday: has his optimism been tempered by so many injuries and the Spri(...)

Ruan Pienaar will undergo a fitness test in Dublin next week ahead of South Africa’s opening game of their European tour against Ireland. photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Some good news for Leinster in yesterday’s 36-man Springbok squad for the European tour that begins in Dublin on November 8th as Heyneke Meyer has (...)

Manchester United interim manager Ryan Giggs sitting in the dug out with Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt during the match against Norwich

If you have Liverpool and Munster tattooed on your heart, you probably microwaved your remote control for dinner after an especially painful da(...)

Munster’s JJ Hanrahan celebrates his winning try on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

They shouldn’t call it commentary at all, of course. Lends the act for too much weight, burdens it with altogether more gravitas than it is due. The Y(...)

  Leinster’s Brian O’Driscoll his  try. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leinster 40 Northampton Saints 7: Turns out the sum of Northampton’s parts is nowhere near the plain Leinster exist upon. By the 37th minute this g(...)

Australia’s Kurtley Beale slips as he takes a penalty that would have won his team the match while Lions players look on. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

No more than the viewers, down under and up above, Miles Harrison could hardly breathe, the tension of it all very nearly rendering Stuart Barnes inau(...)