“If Labour can hold its nerve, stay focussed, and navigate cleverly between its twin positions of government partner and sensible left-wing option, it will survive the expected storm. Keeping Alan Kelly out of national sight is an essential element of this plan”. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The bags have been packed for weeks around Leinster House, and Drapier has been chomping at the bit since budget day. There was never going to be any (...)

Cian Healy lasted 70 minutes of Leinster’s 52-0 win over Zebre. Photograph: Inpho

Leinster 52 Zebre 0 Only the most ardent Leinster pessimists believed this was a contest to decide winners and losers. The team sheets told as much b(...)

France’s Virimi Vakatawa is held up by Italy’s Gonzalo Garcia at the Stade De France. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Expect to witness very clever Irish actions that will incite French reaction, especially from the Fijian number 11 Virimi Vakatawa. I was filled full (...)

Leinster’s  Ross Molony during training. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Leinster v Zebre, RDS, 7.30pm (Not on TV) Zebre, who have never beaten Leinster, arrive with two permit players from the Italian league Eccellenza (...)

The Leinster forwards form a huddle in training ahead of the visit of Zebre. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made five changes to his team to face Zebre on Friday evening in the RDS. There are three changes in the pack an(...)

Wexford native Tadhg Furlong has won all his four Ireland caps from the replacements bench. Photograph: AFP.

The likelihood is that Tadhg Furlong will win his fifth cap on Saturday in Paris and, like his previous four, it will be off the bench. His fourth, l(...)

The Ireland team shows three changes and a positional switch from that beaten by Wales for Friday night’s Under-20 Six Nations Championship clash wit(...)

Coach Pat Lam talks to his players during a Connacht training session at the  Sportsground, Galway, this week. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

Newport-Gwent Dragons v Connacht, Rodney Parade, 7.30pm TV: BBC Wales USA outhalf AJ MacGinty will make his fifth start in a Connacht jersey as coa(...)

Ireland manager Nigel Carolan expects an improvement from his team against France. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland Under-20 head coach Nigel Carolan has named a much-changed team to face France on Friday in Narbonne, following last week’s home defeat to Wal(...)

Spring has sprung but premature ditching of hats and scarves would be unwise with cold conditions predicted until after the weekend with frost and icy patches most nights and the risk of sleet and snow. Photograph: Niamh Towey/The Irish Times

Spring has sprung but premature ditching of hats and scarves would be unwise with cold conditions predicted until after the weekend with frost and icy(...)