Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton kicks a penalty against Wales at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Johnny Sexton, so clearly in agony, only took leave of this Test match after ensuring Ireland regained parity at 16-16. Clearly the success and failu(...)

Seán O’Brien: ready to fill the void left by Paul O’Connell. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

New championship, new challenge, new captain and even something of a new dawn. Ireland enter unchartered territory in the Six Nations, their first wit(...)

Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock in action against Toulon. Ruddock has been in excellent form for the province in recent matches and is in the running to wear the Ireland number six jersey against Wales. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Rhys Ruddock used to be a self-proclaimed mummy’s boy when it came to rugby during his childhood, or to be more accurate when it came to showing alleg(...)

Fourie Du Preez and Schalk Burger embrace after South Africa’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final win over Wales. Photograph: Getty

South Africa 23 Wales 19 Wales fell agonisingly short, a defeat they might haunt them for some time. Not because they didn’t give their all, th(...)

Tyler Morgan will partner Jamie Roberts in the Welsh midfield. Photograph: Getty

POOL A: Wales v Fiji, Millennium stadium, 4.45 (Live on TV3, UTV) “It’s a tough tournament, isn’t it?” Warren Gatland, the ultimate survivor, w(...)

Scott Williams leaves England’s Mike Brown and Sam Burgess trailing in his wake at Twickenham. Burgess showed all the attributes of his rugby league background in what was England’s biggest game for eight years. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

I only started playing centre in 2004. It took until the 2007 World Cup before I felt properly attuned to the nuances of the position and comfortable (...)

Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau shows the England defence a clean pair of heels at Twickenham. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP photo

England 25 Wales 28 Sometimes a game actually lives up the hype, and in this instance that’s really saying something. After nearly two years of(...)

Keith Earls breaks with the ball to score an Ireland try during the international match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images.

Wales 21 Ireland 35 The slickness of this performance was testimony to the coaching skills of Joe Schmidt and his staff, and the trademark(...)

Simon Zebo is congratulated by three other Ireland try scorers, Jamie Heaslip, Felix Jones and Keith Earls after his score against Wales at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: PA

Wales 21 Ireland 35 The final scoreline, if anything, flattered Wales. Ireland were way more cohesive than a Welsh team cobbled together from World Cu(...)

Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip in relaxed mood with head coach Joe Schmidt during the captain’s run at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

As Jamie Heaslip noted, time was when players re-introduced themselves to the game with a modest pre-season friendly for their provinces, maybe a leag(...)