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(...)

Liam Williams  faces a World Cup fitness battle after undergoing foot surgery.

Liam Williams faces a World Cup fitness battle after undergoing foot surgery. The Scarlets back-three star has been retained in Wales’ World Cup camp(...)

Warren Gatland has named nine uncapped players in his 47-man training squad for the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Getty

The Wales head coach Warren Gatland has turned to the Premiership as he starts preparing in earnest for the World Cup. His training squad of 47 for th(...)

George North has declared himself ‘fit and well’ for the Rugby World Cup after being absent with concussion since March. Photograph: Getty

George North has declared himself “fit and well” for Wales’ Rugby World Cup campaign. Wales’ line-busting wing has not played since suffering a heavy (...)

Wales centre Jonathan Davies will miss the World Cup after rupturing a knee ligament, the Welsh Rugby Union has announced. Photo: David Davies/PA

Wales have suffered a major injury blow with the loss of centre Jonathan Davies from their 2015 World Cup campaign. Davies ruptured the anterior cruci(...)

George North has said his recovery from a string of head injuries is looking positive. Photograph: Getty

Wales and Northampton star George North says his recovery from concussion is “looking positive” and has played down Warren Gatland’s worries ahead of (...)

Wales winger George North suffered a concussion during the Six Nations match against England  in Cardiff at the end of February. Photo:  Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Wales coach Warren Gatland fears star wing George North’s career could be ended if he suffers further concussions.North suffered concussions in Tests (...)

A teenage Gordon D’Arcy at Ireland squad training in 1998. Photograph: Keith Heneghan/Inpho

First sight of Gordon D’Arcy was on his knees in the background. The snapshot from March 1995 is of Geordan Murphy, his predecessor in the art of evas(...)

Gordon D’Arcy’s announcement does not rule out the possibility of  a World Cup farewell. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

It’s been one of the stellar Irish rugby careers, for sure, and when the end of October comes and Gordon D’Arcy heads into the sunset he can do so (...)

Mike Ford:  Circuitous Rugby League career took him, by chance, to Ireland in January 2002. Photograph: Getty Images

Russell Crowe wasn’t momentarily speechless collecting an Oscar for Gladiator. Nor did the cinematic hard man well up after the South Sydney Rabbitohs(...)