Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt at the press conference to announce the side to face Wales in the opening Six Nations  game at the Aviva stadium on Sunday. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt began the press conference – only his second media appearance since the 43-20 to Argentina last October – with a positive sp(...)

Munster duo Tommy O’Donnell and CJ Stander both start for Ireland against Wales on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho

Rob Kearney and Sean O’Brien are the latest senior players ruled out of the opening Six Nations match against a well-stocked Welsh side. The Lei(...)

Munster stand-in captain CJ Stander has been in excellent form for the province this season. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

CJ Stander could be set for a surprisingly swift full debut for Ireland against Wales on Sunday. The South African-born backrower is likely to be nam(...)

Ireland captain Rory Best at squad training. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Seán O’Brien has emerged as a significant doubt for Ireland’s opening defence of their RBS Six Nations title against Wales at the Aviva Stadium. The(...)

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 14: Ireland player Jamie Heaslip gets to grips with Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland at Millennium Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Super Saturday was indeed beyond superlative, but it does look a rather long time ago now. In glorious mid-March conditions the day rained points (2(...)

 Tommy O’Donnell: “You have to leave the World Cup where it was. You can’t dwell on it. You have to judge the Six Nations as a barometer of where we are.” Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

There was no more distressing sight in the World Cup warm-up games than Tommy O’Donnell being treated four minutes toward the end of the first of tho(...)

Munster head of fitness Aled Walters and head coach Anthony Foley during training at University of Limerick this week. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Champions Cup: Treviso v Munster, Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Sunday, 1.0pm (BT Sport) This matters, honest. It matters because Munster are back her(...)

 Rory Best  runs at Simone Favaro of Italy during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. “To now captain Ireland going into the Six Nations is a massive thing for me and my family.” Photograph:  Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Spare a thought for Rory Best. There is probably no harder task than to succeed Paul O’Connell as captain, who had effectively succeeded Brian O’Drisc(...)

Rory Best: Candidacy will not have been harmed by reports of his half-time rallying call which contributed to Ulster’s comeback from 23-0 down to win in Oyannax . Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Rory Best is the odds-on favourite to be named as the next captain of the Irish rugby team when Joe Schmidt announces a squad of around 36 or 37 playe(...)

Munster’s Simon Zebo celebrates his try with Francis Saili and Rory Scannell in their Champions Cup win over Stade Francais. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Munster 26 Stade Francais 13 There’s still fire in the Munster belly after all. This redemptory bonus point win will have little tangible effect on(...)