Scotland’s Hugh Blake is tackled by Ireland’s Gordon D’Arcy during the World Cup warm-up match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

As Usain Bolt cantered across the 200m line yesterday I couldn’t help but notice how the great Jamaican transformed a struggling season, spent largely(...)

Ian Madigan could play at scrumhalf if necessary for Ireland.

Murphy’s Law – “whatever can go wrong, will” – is something Australia coach Michael Cheika is unlikely to take too seriously. While most teams (...)

Ireland’s Devin Toner during the captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Six tries against Ireland in the two games against Wales and Scotland and despite winning, it sometimes feels as if looking at the negative side of(...)

Ireland fullback Simon Zebo breaks free to score a try in the 61st-minute against Scotland in the Rugby World Cup warm-up game at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 8:14

This was a sloppier, less accurate Irish performance, but Scotland put up a more meaningful and exacting challenge than Wales a week previously, wh(...)

Ian Keatley has been left out of Ireland’s 45-man training squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has named his 45-man training squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup. Notable absentees from Schmidt’s squad include Ian Kea(...)

Barbarians’ Zane Kirchner touches down to score a try in the game against an Ireland XVat Thomond park. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Barbarians 22 Ireland 21 The individual consequences will be more significant after Ireland slipped to a defeat at Thomond Park that will merely be a(...)

Luke Fitzgerald has played 663 minutes for Leinster in the Pro12 this season, 41.4% of the total 1,600. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

When measured by the number of minutes played, at least half a dozen of Leinster’s frontline players have not been playing for their province during (...)

Craig Gilroy dives over for Ulsters second score in their 26-10 win over Leinster at Ravenhill. Photograph: Inpho

Ulster 26 Leinster 10Ulster set up a third Irish derby in a row at home to Munster two weeks’ hence, in a match that could decide home advantage in th(...)

Ian Madigan has been dropped for Leinster’s must win Pro 12 game against Ulster at Ravenhill. Photograph: Inpho

In what could be seen as a boost to Gordon D’Arcy’s hopes of making Ireland’s World Cup squad,  Leinster coach Matt O’Connor has taken the dec(...)

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(...)