Ireland coach Joe Schmidt:   was without  three front-line props,  Iain Henderson,  Peter O’Mahony, Luke Fitzgerald,  Tommy Bowe, Keith  Earls and Simon Zebo. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA

Most coaches are perfectionists, even though they well realise the perfect performance is beyond any team they will ever oversee. More often than not,(...)

Paul O’Connell is stretchered off at half-time after receiving a serious leg injury during Ireland’s pool match against France at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire.

Amid the prevailing end-of-year doom and gloom, lest we forget that was the year that produced the greatest World Cup ever – as well as Super Saturday(...)

 Wesley Fofana  runs with a ball next to captain Thierry Dusautoir during a France training session at Stadium MK in Milton Keynes. Photograph: Getty

POOL D: France v Canada, Milton Keynes, 8.0 (Live on TV3, ITV) French coach Philippe Saint-André has put out the nucleus of the team that will (...)

Remy Grosso will make his France Test debut against Canada. Photograph: Afp

France have opted to rest number eight Louis Picamoles and will give wing Remy Grosso his first Rugby World Cup start in the Pool D match against Cana(...)

France’s Yoann Huget  is comforted by team-mates after sustaining a cruciate injury to his right knee during the Rugby World Cup Pool D match against Italy at Twickenham. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

France suffered a first setback in their Rugby World Cup campaign when wing Yoann Huget was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury on Sunday. (...)

France’s prop Rabah Slimani (C) rides a tackle from Italy’s back row Samuela Vunisa (2L) to score France’s first try during the Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between France and Italy at Twickenham stadium. Photograph: AFP PHOTO / Adrian Dennis

France 32 - 10 Italy It was all blue, more French blue than Italian blue, in Twickenham on Saturday night in Pool D. But it was hardly a spectacle of (...)

Coach Philippe Saint André has entrusted the running of the game to Freddie Michalak (above), a player who exemplifies the team: gifted but flawed. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

France’s Rugby World Cup history suggests they traditionally find solace in a modicum of discontent. They sweat the small stuff, so a parking ticket (...)

Northampton’s Dylan Hartley tussles with Saracens’ Jamie George and Jacques Burger during the Aviva Premiership semi final. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

It’s not so long ago that rugby discipline was a messy business. Tit for tat citings. Or none, depending on what nod and wink might have been exchange(...)

Ireland players line up for the anthems ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Scotland and Ireland - Six have been selected for our Six Nations team of the tournament. Photograph: Ian  MacNicol/Getty Images

15 Rob Kearney (Ireland):Leigh Halfpenny’s goal-kicking could give him the nod again. Stuart Hogg was electric and carried for 100 more metres. But Ke(...)

Irish captain Paul O’Connell holding the RBS Six Nations trophy as the Irish rugby team arrived back at Dublin Airport on Sunday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Jamie Heaslip raised the biggest cheer of another triumphant homecoming by hopping over the barrier at Dublin Airport to allow the fans to hold the RB(...)