Ireland celebrate with the Cormac McAnallen Cup after beating Australia at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

The international series evokes a range of reactions but no one can argue with its resilience. Having hit various crises over the past 10 years and(...)

Ireland captain Padraig Joyce with the Cormac McAnallen cupin 2004. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Even though two of manager Joe Kernan’s selectors, Darragh Ó Sé and Dermot Earley, enjoyed distinguished international careers, the most experience(...)

Sonny Bill Williams offloads to Ma’a Nonu, who shredded the Australia defence to score New Zealand’s second try of the final. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

New Zealand 34 Australia 17 So sometimes sport leaves no room for argument and does do perfect finales after all. The best team of the last fou(...)

Kurtley Beale has come to embody Michael Cheika’s Wallabies revolution and has now been backed to typify Australia’s bid for future greatness. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

Kurtley Beale has come to embody Michael Cheika’s Wallabies revolution and has now been backed to typify Australia’s bid for future greatness. Cheika (...)

Victory for Australia will see their hooker and captain Stephen Moore, who lived in Galway until he was five years old, collect the William Webb Ellis trophy. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP Photo/Getty Images 1:46

In Australia and New Zealand the word Anzac is sacred. Anzac is the acronym for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers who fought in(...)

 Michael Cheika arrives for the World Cup semi-final against Argentina at Twickenham. Cheika has led Australia to a first World Cup final in 12 years. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Listening to Michael Cheika calmly take all refereeing decisions on the chin, it’s been hard to equate this remodelled man with the coach who once ber(...)

New Zealand’s Richie McCaw is tackled by Australia’s David Pocock during the 2015 Rugby Championship. Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

THE BREAKDOWN Richie McCaw Position: Flanker. Age: 34. Height: 1.87m/6’ 2”. Weight: 107kg/16st 12lbs. Caps: 147 (27 tries) Why he’s so importan(...)

Australia coach Michael Cheika and assistant coach Mario Ledesma hold notes during a captain’s run training session at Twickenham on the eve of the 2015 World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images

Australian tactics on how to get the better of New Zealand in tomorrow’s Rugby World Cup final have been accidentally revealed by Micahel Cheika at hi(...)

New Zealand’s outhalf Dan Carter prepares to kick the ball during a semi-final match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against South Africa. Photograph: Getty Images

Following an action-packed year for international rugby, which will culminate with Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final, the shortlist for the Player of t(...)

Outhalf Dan Carter, who missed the last final in 2011 through injury, training with Beauden Barrett. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images 1:43

The All Blacks starting team for tomorrow’s World Cup final picked itself. That tells us as much about their state of health, the planning of Steve Ha(...)