Wales coach Warren Gatland has yet to indicate who would provide “suitably trained and experienced” cover at hooker in the event of either Ken Owens or Scott Baldwin getting injured. Photograph:  Getty Images.

Wales and Australia will receive no sympathy from Rugby World Cup organisers if their decision to pick only two specialist hookers in their squads bac(...)

Ken Owens (left) is one of only two hookers named in the Wales  squad for the World Cup. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Wales and Australia will receive no sympathy from Rugby World Cup organisers if their decision to pick only two specialist hookers in their squads bac(...)

Jonathan Joseph will be partnered by Brad Barritt at centre in England’s side to play Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

England have selected Brad Barritt and Jonathan Joseph as their centre pairing for Saturday’s World Cup warm-up game against Ireland at Twickenham. It(...)

Paul O’Connell tries to hold up a Welsh maul at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The theatre superstition has it that a bad dress rehearsal makes for a good opening night, so Joe Schmidt and the Irish squad will not be panicking af(...)

Girvan Dempsey is currently the interim backs coach for Leinster. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Girvan Dempsey says Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is being characteristically shrewd in not showing his full playing hand weeks before his side’s first m(...)

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has announced his World Cup 31 man squad. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Bath lock Dominic Day and Exeter prop Tomas Francis have both been named in Wales’ 31-man World Cup squad. Day is among five locks in the group(...)

Justin Tipuric is tackled by Ireland’s Iain Henderson on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

On Friday I felt Wales required a bigger performance than Ireland. That certainly arrived and that Ireland couldn’t dictate as they did in Cardiff is (...)

Ireland’s Keith Earls tackles George North resulting in him being taken off injured during the World Cup warm-up match against Wales at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

All the indications in the aftermath of Saturday’s anti-climactic end to Paul O’Connell’s magnificent Test career on home soil, along with Ireland’(...)

Ireland flanker Jordi Murphy had a tough day against the outstanding Justin Tipuric of Wales during the World Cup warm-up at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Iain Henderson or Devin Toner? It’s not really a tough call anymore. The second best forward in Ireland these past six months, this 23-year-old Craiga(...)

Paul O’Connell enters into the tunnel along with his son Paddy after playing his final Irish international at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:   Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Fifteen minutes before the match started he had the Irish team in a huddle, led them from the front around the pitch to light ripples of applause from(...)