Paddy Butler scores Munster’s  third try in the Guinness Pro 12 play-off at  Thomond Park. Photo:   Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Munster 21 Ospreys 18 Wild celebrations yes, but relief wasn’t the half of it as Munster nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory before then s(...)

Connacht’s Mils Muliaina says Australia were his toughest opponents. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

On the first Wednesday of April I had the good fortune to share a stool in Busker Brownes with many legends of our game, including Mils Muliaina. A hu(...)

Toulon flanker Steffon Armitage  collides with Cian Healy during the European Champions Cup  semi final  in Marseille. Photograph: Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images

Wales, then Toulon. Seán O’Brien and defeat sit uncomfortably in the same room. His frustrations were audible on Wayne Barnes’s microphone in Cardiff(...)

Leinster outhalf Jimmy Gopperth is a picture of dejection at the final whistle against Toulon. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Leinster scarcely have time to pause for breath, much less for reflection, but looking back on their courageous if dispiriting European Champions Cup (...)

Toulon’s Bryan Habana scores the extra-time try. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Toulon 25 Leinster 20 (aet; 12-12 after 80 minutes) True to their word, Leinster fought the good fight. For 80 minutes of regulation time and a(...)

Steffon Armitage was the difference really. At least three textbook turnovers killed Leinster momentum.

Rob Kearney 7/10Three superb acts of high fielding gave Leinster the briefest glimpses of front foot ball but his long, long range drop goal with seco(...)

Toulon winger Bryan Habana dives over to score a try in the first half of extra time in the Champions Cup semi-final against Leinster at Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Toulon 25 Leinster 20An increasingly nerve-jangling, tryless epic for 80 minutes, burst into even more dramatic life in 20 minutes of extra-time. This(...)

Mathieu Bastareaud of Toulon runs with the ball against Leinster during the European Cup quarter-final match at Felix Mayol Stadium last year. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images.

To put the scale of the task facing Leinster into perspective, never have they been handed a more difficult knockout game in Europe’s blue riband. Put(...)

Wayne Barnes will be the man in the middle for Leinster’s European Champions Cup semi-final against Toulon on Sunday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Played 6, won 3, drawn 0, lost 3.Leinster results when Wayne Barnes has refereed their matches since they won their first Heineken Cup in 2009. 2009-(...)

 Toulon’s  Mathieu Bastareaud:  “Time and again the Leinster midfield will get him down but if they miss him just once it will be a certain try for Toulon.” Photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP.

‘Wherever you go, that’s where you are’ and I’m not referring to Stade Vélodrome, Marseille where I’ll be on Sunday but to the mental journey Leinster(...)