Ireland winger  Tommy Bowe scores a try against France in 2012. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

2012 Six Nations Championship France 17 Ireland 17, Stade de France This was the first draw between the sides since 1985 and represented (...)

Romania celebrate after their Pool  D victory over Canada at the Leicester City Stadium. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images via Reuters/Livepic

Romania 17 Canada 15 Centre Florin Vlaicu nervelessly slotted a penalty with three minutes left to lift Romania to the biggest comeback win in Rugby W(...)

The opening weekend of the World Cup saw the TMO in use 25 times in eight games, a rate that has thankfully slowed down since. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire.

There is a particular focus on discipline under Joe Schmidt. Giving up penalties results in lost territory, lost points and lost games. With 17 penalt(...)

Uncompromising Springbok secondrow Eben Etzebeth manhandles Samoa’s Ken Pisi at Villa Park. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Wales think they have it bad; South Africa are torn to ribbons after this wincingly brutal Samoan affair. Thirty-eight-year- old Victor Matfield must (...)

 South Africa’s Duane Vermeulen: “If we don’t win we are out. We have to give our all. I’m ready to do that.” Photo:  Steve Haag/Gallo Images

A history of violence. Recent cuddlings of these gargantuan men is drenched in bloody yet wincingly enjoyable rugby. There have been 50-pointer(...)

South Africa’s lock Lood de Jager, prop Tendai Mtawarira and backrow Francois Louw: “It is really going to be a test of character this week.” Photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images

In Adam Hochschild’s 1992 book The Mirror at Midnight, a journey to the heart of South Africa, the American journalist provided insight into the Afri(...)

Ireland’s Iain Henderson in action in the World Cup warm-up match against Wales at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:   Cathal McNaughton/Action Images via Reuters/Livepic 11:57

Ireland 10 Wales 16 The cascading rain that enveloped the Aviva stadium for the final 10 minutes of the contest provided a suitably leaden hued backdr(...)

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt will be seeking to fine-tune Ireland’s game plan in the weeks ahead. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Prior to the World Cup four years ago, Ireland would have traded four warm-up defeats for four wins in the pool stages, and that is exactly what trans(...)

Saracens lifted the Premiership after a 28-16 win over Bath at Twickenham. Photograph: Reuters

Bath 16 Saracens 28 Saracens created Aviva Premiership history at Twickenham as they beat Bath 28-16 to be crowned English champions for a second time(...)

Dylan Hartley has been dropped from England’s World Cup training squad after he was banned for four weeks for headbutting Saracen’s Jamie George. Photograph: Getty

Dylan Hartley is set to miss the World Cup after being dropped from England’s training squad for disciplinary reasons, head coach Stuart Lancaster has(...)