Michael Kiernan attempts a drop goal over Mark Ring during Ireland-Wales Five Nations match at Cardiff Arms Park in 1987. Ireland won 15-11. Photograph: Simon Bruty/Allsport

Meetings between Ireland and Wales are akin to a two-horse race, but at times over the last two or three decades it’s been easier to pick the winner o(...)

Connacht’s Nathan White in a ruck during Ireland squad training at Carton House on Friday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

As pivotal openers go, this looks fairly pivotal alright. If Ireland lose, they will be looking down the barrel of successive visits to Paris, in just(...)

Ireland’s Will Connors is tackled by Harrison Keddie of Wales during the Under 20 Six Nations clash at Donnybrook. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland Under-20s 24 Wales Under 20s 35 This defeat will smart, Ireland left to reflect on the number of points, 21 or thereabouts, that they (...)

Wales’s Justin Tipuric can read space and attack it like few forwards in the game. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

The toughest 20 days of Joe Schmidt’s journey begins on Sunday; Wales at home, France in Paris six days hence with England away by day 20. All to be d(...)

Munster stand-in captain CJ Stander has been in excellent form for the province this season. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

CJ Stander could be set for a surprisingly swift full debut for Ireland against Wales on Sunday. The South African-born backrower is likely to be nam(...)

George North: “I want to be on the wing. I want to have that space to run at people.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

In some respects it’s a throwback to childhood and the ‘give it to the big lad,’ philosophy of mini-rugby. But there comes a time when the big lad ha(...)

Old Belvedere winger Elise O’Byrne-White earns her first international start against Wales on Saturday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Seeking a positive spin on the defending Six Nations back line being stripped bare as the Sevens game takes priority? Opportunity for others, of cour(...)

Ireland captain Rory Best at squad training. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Seán O’Brien has emerged as a significant doubt for Ireland’s opening defence of their RBS Six Nations title against Wales at the Aviva Stadium. The(...)

Seán O’Brien: ready to fill the void left by Paul O’Connell. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

New championship, new challenge, new captain and even something of a new dawn. Ireland enter unchartered territory in the Six Nations, their first wit(...)

Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock in action against Toulon. Ruddock has been in excellent form for the province in recent matches and is in the running to wear the Ireland number six jersey against Wales. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Rhys Ruddock used to be a self-proclaimed mummy’s boy when it came to rugby during his childhood, or to be more accurate when it came to showing alleg(...)