Sky Sports have sealed exclusive rights to at least three of Ireland’s World Cup warm-up matches. Photograph: Afp

Games against Scotland and Wales won’t be available to watch on terrestrial television

Peter Stringer has 98 Ireland caps and has not given up hope of adding to that number. First up, though, is to find a new club, with Leinster among the sides rumoured to be interested in his services. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Former Ireland scrumhalf is leaving Bath but is eager to find a new club

This try against the Dragons was one of five in Craig Gilroy’s last four games for Ulster. Photograph: Ian Cook/Inpho.

Wing has scored five in last four matches and wants to extend run against Cardiff Blues

Seán O’Brien is back in the Leinster squad for the Champions Cup campaign. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/PA Wire

Healy, O’Brien and Nick McCarthy added to Leinster roster for Champions Cup

Dave Kearney says he’s delighted for the Irish team. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Mixed feelings for injured players who played no part in Ireland’s triumph

Ian Madigan and Sean Cronin are set to return for Leinster in the Pro12. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ireland remain in third in World rankings after Six Nations triumph

Jonathan Sexton celebrates with Jared Payne after the Ulster back scored his first try for Ireland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Overseas press hail Ireland’s ability to move up gear in final-day shootout

Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip makes the crucial try-saving tackle as Scotland fullback  Stuart Hogg loses possession and knocks on going over the try line during the Six Nations game at Murrayfield. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Tiny margins the order of the day as Joe Schmidt’s side make it back-to-back successes

Tommy Bowe:  He worked extremely hard all afternoon and made some excellent breaks for a 92-metre haul. A couple of offloads didn’t go to a teammate but that doesn’t take away from the impact he made. Rating: 7

As Ireland do more than is asked of them at Murrayfield, John O’Sullivan rates the Irish performances

With Irish roots and a newly discovered George Best link, Scottish speedster Stuart Hogg merits close attention

Under-20 Six Nations Championship head coach Nigel Carolan. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Nigel Carolan’s team faces Scotland next after successive defeats to England and Wales

Lorcan Dow: ““We’re ready to move on and restore pride in the jersey.” Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Nigel Carolan’s side have Scotland in their sights

Ireland’s Mike Ross (right) and Rory Best tackle Wales’ Rhys Webb during the Six Nations game at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

‘Each referee will have his own strengths and weaknesses and you have to identify those and get on the right side of him’

Ireland number eight Lorcan Dow and centre Sam Arnold move in to tackle Wales’ Harrison Keddie during the Under-20 Six Nations match at Parc Eirias in  Colwyn Bay. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland number eight Lorcan Dow says side want to right wrongs from Wales defeat

Ireland’s lineout misfired badly at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Wales deserve huge credit but Ireland need to look at themselves after 23-16 defeat

Rob Kearney: A few early errors but grew into the game with some traditional high fielding and a willingness to carry ball repeatedly: some success in breaking first line of defence on cut-backs and was his side’s most effective ball carrier with 104 metres. Rating 6

John O’Sullivan rates the Irish performances in Cardiff

Welsh secondrow’s talent on the pitch will pose the biggest threat to Ireland in Cardiff

Ireland U-20s centre Garry Ringrose skips past Will Owen of England during the recent clash at Donnybrook. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Outhalf Ross Byrne says team determined to purge frustrations of home defeat to England

Wales lost seven of 18 lineouts in the first two matches, coughing up four against England and three to the Scots. They didn’t lose a single lineout against France the last day, winning all 10 throws.

Joe Schmidt’s side have carried the ball and passed more than any other team in the championship

Rory Best: “The Welsh [team] will probably see it as a chance to right a few wrongs.” Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Presseye/Inpho.

Ireland want to celebrate captain Paul O’Connell’s 100th cap with a victory

Gordon D’Arcy: 81 times capped Leinster centre has been left out of the Ireland squad to face Wales. Photograph: Craig Thomas/Inpho.

Gordon D’Arcy a notable omission from 36-man Ireland squad

Jeremy Loughman in action during the Under-20 Six Nations match against England at Donnybrook. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

‘Set-piece would be my first priority’ says loosehead prop

Luke Fitzgerald will start on  the wing for Leinster against Scarlets. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

Scarlets should be overcome by Matt O’Connor’s side

Donnacha Ryan makes his return to the Munster squad after a year of rehabilitation with a foot injury.

Donnacha Ryan may make return from bench against Ospreys

Samoan international Mike Stanley makes his first start for Ulster at inside centre. Photograph: Inpho.

Mike Stanley to make first appearance for province against Dragons

Padraig Harrington says he will have to make big changes to his playing schedule. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Win makes him eligible for five additional tournaments - ‘It’s a nice problem to have’

Padraig Harrington shakes hands with Daniel Berger on the second playoff hole during the continuation of the fourth round of The Honda Classic. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Three-time Major winner explains how his mindset changed between playoff holes

Isa Nacewa may be returning to Leinster next season with talk of his signing a year-long contract in a player/coach role. Photograph: Dan Sheridan /Inpho

Leo Cullen says squad needs to be bolstered, especially with players going to World Cup

Leinster say Zane Kirchner contract talks are at an advanced stage. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Isa Nacewa return in player/coach capacity is ‘miles off’ say province

Generally speaking Conor Murray’s box-kicking was wonderfully accurate and it was an area of the game in which Ireland generated huge currency in possession terms.

A fine 19-9 victory with just enough ‘work-ons’ to occupy Joe Schmidt and his management team over the next fortnight.

 Billy Vunipola makes a break at the Aviva Stadium. James Crombie/Inpho

John O’Sullivan assesses the English performances at the Aviva Stadium

Rob Kearney: A couple of loose kicks aside he was the personification of calm collection under the high ball and that infuses confidence in those around you. Rating: 7

How Ireland’s players rated in today’s 19-9 win over England

Leinster’s Luke Fitzgerald would love to make the match squad against England on Sunday. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Switching between centre and wing doesn’t faze Ireland star getting back to his best

Bath’s director of rugby Mike ford talks to his son George, the outhalf of that club and England. George will have a pivotal position as kicker when England come to Dublin for the Six Nations game on Sunday. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty.

The son of Ireland’s former backs coach is back in Dublin as outhalf

Hooker Damien Varley made 121 appearances for Munster and won three caps for Ireland during his career. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Gordon D’Arcy, Eoin Reddan and Zane Kirchner ready to return for Leinster

Ulster outhalf Ian Humphreys says province are determined to win the block of four matches during the Six Nations. Photograph: Darren Griffiths/Presseye/Inpho

Ian Humphreys targets run of wins to build momentum for top-four place

 Johnny Sexton temporarily leaves the field with a blood injury against France in the Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Eric Luke

England’s Mike Brown will not resume training this week but hopes he can play against Ireland

Jonathan Joseph scores a try for England against Italy. The centre crossed over twice in a man-of-the-match performance. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The 23-year-old Bath player is hoping that number 13 isn’t unlucky for him

Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip stands for the National Anthem against France. He was substituted after 60 minutes with a back injury. Photograph:  James Crombie/ Inpho

Ireland number eight could be back in time for Six Nations game against Wales in Cardiff

Leinster’s Richardt Strauss goes off with a suspected head injury against the Dragons. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Former Ireland scrumhalf Peter Stringer will leave Bath at the end of the season

Pascal Papé has been cited for his knee to the back of Jamie Heaslip during Ireland’s 18-11 Six Nations win over France at the Aviva. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Secondrow was sinbinned for kneeing Ireland number eight in the back during Six Nations tie

Ireland’s Mike Ross holds on to the shorts of French winger Teddy Thomas to make a vital tackle during the Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Midfield excellence in defending against French power runners proved key

 Nathan White: back in the Connacht line-up for the visit to Scarlets. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Pat Lam’s side eager to protect their top six status against their closest pursuers

Ian Keatley and Keith Earls have been named in Munster’s team for tomorrow night’s game against Cardiff Blues. (Photograph: INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

Anthony Foley names a strong side for visit of Cardiff Blues at newly refurbished Musgrave Park

Ireland’s Oisín Heffernan: “It’s about confronting them up front, at scrum and lineout, and not giving them the space to play; getting up in their faces.”Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

But prop Oisín Heffernan looking forward to the challenge at Dubarry Park

Garry Ringrose prepares for the French challenge. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

‘There’s so much strength in depth in the squad, your previous experience doesn’t really matter’ says Ringrose

Ireland’s Tommy Bowe was frustrated against Italy on Saturday last. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

Ulster man had a frustrating game against Italy comprised of chasing box-kicks and punts

Marty Moore (L) is in line to make his seventh Ireland appearance from the bench against France on Saturday. (Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

23-year-old Leinster tighthead has ousted Mike Ross in Leinster team but likely to start on bench

Outhalf  Ian Keatley solid after a nervy start in Rome.  Photograph:  Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

John O’Sullivan sees plenty of positives after a 26-3 win for Joe Schmidt’s side in Rome

Leinster centre Garry Ringrose is one of the talented backs in the Ireland under-20 team to play Italy. Photograph: Inpho.

Anticipation mounts as coach Nigel Carolan unleashes talented side in championship opener

  Jérôme Garcès, who sent off Jared Payne in last year’s Heineken Cup, will referee Ireland’s match with Scotland. Photograph: Darren Kidd/INPHO/Presseye

Each decision now prompts a debate but greater consistency is required in Six Nations

But what are the chances of the French players having to wear name tags to training?

Italy head coach Jacques Brunel.

Jacques Brunel has broadened Italy’s playing patterns to make them a more rounded team but he hasn’t quite solved the halfback con(...)

Scotland coach Vern Cotter.

Vern Cotter’s done a decent job since taking over before the November Test series last year.

Anscombe is one of 11 players selected by Warren Gatland  born outside of Wales.

There is very much a welcome for the 23-year-old outhalf in the hillsides and valleys

England head coach Stuart Lancaster.

First match up against Wales at the Millennium stadium is a massive momentum moment

Coach Joe Schmidt and his management team have passed every test to date despite Ireland’s lengthy injury list. Photo: Dan Sheridan

There’s a massive challenge for Schmidt and his management team but they’ve passed virtually every test

Tommy Bowe will take his place on the right wing for Ireland’s opening game against Italy at the Stadio OIimpico in Rome. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The Ireland wing has missed the last two Six Nations campaigns

 Jamie Heaslip has been playing with a shoulder problem he picked up against Ulster. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Jonathan Sexton and Cian Healy may be available for Ireland’s game against France

Scrumhalf Nick McCarthy was chosen by his teammates to lead the side this year

John O’Sullivan finds a wholly professional regime under head coach Nigel Carolan

Thierry Dusautoir of France and Philippe Saint Andre pose with the Six Nations trophy at the Hurlingham club in London. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

French coach looking forward to the World Cup when he will have uninterrupted access to his players in preparation terms

Captains for Six Nations, clockwise from top: Paul O’Connell, Chris Robshaw, Thierry Dusautoir, Greig Laidlaw, Sam Warburton and Sergio Parisse. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Overriding objective to show improvement ahead of World Cup, says Ireland coach

Keith Earls hands off Sale Sharks’ Luke McLean to run in the first of eight second-half tries for Munster. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Foley’s side score eight second-half tries in a strange afternoon at Thomond Park

Munster’s Dave Foley is tackled by  Mark Jennings of Sale during the Champions Cup match at Thomond Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Dave Foley damages wrist and Keith Earls taken off as a precaution

Simon Zebo scored twice in a man of the match performance as Munster thrashed Sale Sharks 65 10 at Thomond Park. (Photograph: INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

Simon Zebo man of the match as Foley’s side run in nine tries against hapless second-string Sharks

Mils Muliaina, confronted here by Phil Burleigh of Edinburgh, will captain Connacht against La Rochelle. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Pat Lam’s team can progress to Challenge Cup quarter-finals with a victory in France

French referee Jerome Garces during the Heineken Cup clash between Leinster and Northampton at the Aviva Stadium in 2013. Garces will also referee Saturday’s pivotal match against Wasps. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Irish province are familiar with style of Saturday’s French referee Jerome Garces

Ulster centre Stuart olding has been ruled out of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign. (Photograph: INPHO/Presseye/Franck Pennant)

Centre suffered significant ligament damage during record defeat away to Toulon

Leinster will not register Sean O’Brien or Cian Healy for Saturday’s trip to play London Wasps. (Photograph: INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

Ireland internationals have made good progress but won’t be risked in final pool game

Exeter’s scrum dominance provides unwelcome lift-off for Connacht’s Rodney Ah You at the Sportsground. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

The hosts scored four tries but the English side’s strength up front told in the end

Matt Healy scored two tries for Connacht against Exeter but it was not enough and now the province’s Challenge Cup hopes hang by a thread. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

‘The thing that killed us was the turnovers’, says coach

Castres interntaional outhalf and captain Rémi Talès who at the end of this season will join the exodus of key players from the club. Photograph: Remy Gabalda/AFP/Getty Images

It’s been miserable season for French side after disintregration of title-winning team

It’s hard to escape the notion that Madigan isn’t fully trusted to manage a game while Gopperth’s place-kicking can be a little bit ropey at times and so both are accommodated. It’s seems a trifle unfair to both players. Photograph: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Failure to secure a bonus-point victory will make topping their pool very difficult

 Gareth Steenson of Exeter Chiefs:  “Connacht have been going incredibly well this season and they’ll want to make up for last week’s disappointing loss by producing a high-quality performance.” Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Pole position in the pool at stake for both teams in Sportsground showdown

Connacht duo Quinn Roux and Ultan Dillane have both signed new two-year deals at the Sportsground. (Photograph: INPHO/James Crombie)

Secondrow giants sign contracts keeping them at the Sportsground until 2017

Castleknock’s James McGee is through to the second round of Australian Open qualifying. (Photograph: Inpho/ Donall Farmer)

Castleknock man through to second round after beating Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos

Leinster’s Zane Kirchner sustained a small fracture in his shin during win over Ulster at RDS. Photograph: Billy Stickland / Inpho

Decision on Jamie Heaslip for Castres game due later in the week after captain returned to full training

Ulster’s Dan Tuohy will miss the Six Nations after thumb surgery. Photograph: James Crombie / Inpho

Luke Marshall observing return to play protocols after suffering another concussion

Cian Healy has been training for several weeks but has yet to engage in full-contact rugby. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland prop will not play part in Leinster’s final two pool games in Champions Cup

Jerry Sexton  embraces teammate Greg Bateman  after  Exeter Chiefs’ LV= Cup win over   Gloucester at Sandy Park. Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

The secondrow made his debut against Gloucester having spent time in France

JJ Hanrahan: “I am very fortunate to have represented this club and team but I need to do what is best for me and avail of the next opportunity.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Kerry-born outhalf joins the Saints in a deal said to be worth €190,000 a season

Leinster prop Jack McGrath:  suspension for stamping on Ulster hooker Rory Best during  Guinness Pro12 match at the RDS. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Prop set to miss Pro12 clash against Cardiff and pivotal Champions Cup pool matches against Castres

JJ Hanrahan will leave Munster at the end of the season to join Northampton Saints. (Photograph: INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

Former young player of the year turns down Thomond deal and will leave at the end of the season

Munster have announced fly half Ian Keatley has signed a new two year deal with the province, keeping him at Thomond Park until 2017. (Photograph: INPHO/James Crombie)

Fly half one of four players to commit future to province while Jimmy Gopperth is set to leave Leinster

Cian Healy during Leinster training at UCD on Monday. The initial prognosis for the Leinster, Ireland and Lions prop was that he would be sidelined for four to five months following hamstring surgery. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leinster prop could figure in province’s final two Champions Cup pool games

Fergus McFadden: “Nothing is set in stone yet. I love Leinster; it’s a great club, been great to me .”  Photograph: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Winger is focused on regaining his club place after returning from injury against Ulster

Rory McIlroy holds up the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the PGA Championship  at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky. It was his second Major win of the year. Photo: John Locher/AP

Memorable year for World No 1 golfer included two Major victories

Neil Doak brings his Ulster side to Swansea where Ospreys are unbeaten in seven games. Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

Ulster last lost match in Swansea three seasons ago but Ospreys are in form

Johnny Sexton receives attention against Australia at the Aviva Stadium in November. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Outhalf suffering headaches and will miss at least first two matches of Six Nations

JJ Hanrahan: will be under the spotlight when league leaders Munster take on Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Opportunity knocks for JJ Hanrahan who starts in his favoured position of outhalf

Leinster’s Noel Reid was awarded the man of the match award against Connacht on Friday night. Phootgraph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

A Noel Reid inspired performance led Leinster to a 21-11 win at the RDS

Connacht’s Kieran Marmion breaks free to score his sides opening try against Leinster at the Showgrounds last September. Photo: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Victory for Connacht at the RDS would yield the province’s first league double over Leinster

Leinster’s Kevin McLaughlin makes a welcome return for the province against Connacht at the RDS tonight. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

‘Leinster come to this match with a huge amount of positivity’

Dave Kilcoyne is set the miss the start of the Six Nations Championship as a result of the knee injury he suffered  against Clermont Auvergne at Thomond Park. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland prop diagnosed with knee problem that will require up to eight weeks rehabilitation

Luke Marshall  runs with the ball during the RBS Six Nations match against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in February. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

The centre’s return was the only positive to come from the Scarlets defeat

New Zealand outhalf Dan Carter is being lined up as a possible replacement for Johnny Sexton at Racing Metro. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

New Zealand outhalf could join Paris club following next year’s World Cup

Garry Ringrose scores a try for Leinster ‘A’ against Plymouth Albion in their 59-26 British & Irish Cup victory at Donnybrook. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Munster ‘A’ also book place in British and Irish Cup quarter-final draw

Jamie Heaslip clenches his fist on the full time whistle as Leinster see off Harlequins 14-13 at the Aviva Stadium

Matt O’Connor’s charges get their European campaign back on track with hard fought victory at the Aviva

“You need to say the right things. You don’t need to get too carried away, we’re all hurting. Nobody wanted to lose at home last Saturday,” says Munster coach Anthony Foley of his side’s loss to Clermont Auvergne at Thomond Park. Photograph: Getty

Clermont present tough task but the province need to win to keep hopes alive

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