All Black centre Ma’a Nonu will bring up a century of caps against Tonga. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw sits out match against Tonga with hip injury

George North, seen here lifting Israel Folau while playing for the Lions against Australia in 2013, has been moved to centre by Wales coach Warren Gatland. Photograph: Matt King/Getty Images.

Welsh coach cuts cloth according to means ahead of bout with Australia

Australia’s outhalf Bernard Foley scores a try against England. Photograph: Andrew Winning/Livepic

Drew Mitchell says former Leinster coach has got Wallabies committed to the cause

Peter O’Mahony’s brilliant try-saving tackle on Italy’s Josh Furno proved vital in Sunday’s Pool D encounter at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph:  Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Players will feel the pain both physically and and in Joe Schmidt’s analyses

The collective moment of madness that cost England dear as Owen Farrell (left) and Sam Burgess fell Australia’s Matt Giteau and Michael Hooper, leading to Farrell’s yellow card. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Impressive Australia always in control as midfield axis frailties cost hosts dearly

 Michael Cheika addresses his charges before Australia’s game against England at Twickenham. Photo:  Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Australia coach not getting carried away by his side’s superb win over England

Rory Best was one of the few good performers for Ireland in their World Cup Pool D clash with Italy. Photo: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

The Ulsterman was one of the few good performers for Ireland

England were beaten by Australia - thanks largely to a dominant performance by the visitor’s pack. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Hosts got back to within a single score late on but the Wallabies proved worthy winners

Italy’s  Tommaso Allan of Italy looks to release the backs during the  World Cup Pool D match against France  at Twickenham Stadium. Photo:  David Rogers/Getty Images

Traditional national game based upon a strong pack is undergoing a transformation

Owen Farrell has retained  his place at outhalf ahead of Bath’s George Ford. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Stuart Lancaster’s team desperate for result but Australia pose massive challenge

Blood runs down the face of South Africa’s lock Victor Matfield during the Pool B match against  Samoa. The forward will missthe Scotland match with a knee injury. Photograph: AFP Photo

Scotland accused of fielding weakened team with an eye on final pool match against Samoa

Wesley Fofana scores the first try for France during the Rugby World Cup Pool D encounter at stadium MK in Milton Keynes. Photograph:  Eddie Keogh/Reuters/Livepic

Joe Schmidt will be encouraged by French vulnerability in cracking encounter

 Wesley Fofana  runs with a ball next to captain Thierry Dusautoir during a France training session at Stadium MK in Milton Keynes. Photograph: Getty

Thierry Dusautoir insists Canada game is not just ‘dress rehearsal’ for Ireland match

Italy’s outhalf and place-kicker Tommaso Allan. Photograph: Matt Lewis/Getty Images)

Jacques Brunel has placed faith in 22-year-old nephew of former Scottish hooker

Sergio Parisse has joined up with the Italy squad ahead of Sunday’s clash with Ireland at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph: PA

Azzurri talisman had been in France receiving treatment for a calf injury

France’s Mathieu Bastareaud with fellow centre Alexandre Dumoulin. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

France centre admits not everyone at home has faith in Philippe Saint-André’s side

Rob Kearney may have suffered a gluteal strain in scoring a try (above) against Romania. Photograph: Paul Gilham/Getty Images.

Rob Kearney a doubt for match against Italy, with Rob Henshaw likely to return

 Keith Earls and Simon Zebo were two of Ireland’s standout performers in their 44-10 win over Romania at Wembley. Photograph: Reuters

John O’Sullivan looks at five talking points from Ireland’s 44-10 win over Romania

Simon Zebo  gets away from Romania’s Viorel Lucaci during Ireland’s 44-10 win in their Rugby World Cup pool match at Wembley. Photo: David Davies/ PA

Tommy Bowe, Keith Earls and Simon Zebo all impressed in Ireland’s 44-10 win

 Romania’s Welsh head coach Lynn Howells looks on prior to their  Pool D openingmatch against France  at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Gerry Images

Former Wales assistant has the practicality and clarity to guide Romania through the World Cup

Acting Italy captain Leonardo Ghiraldini believes it will be tough to beat Canada. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

Sergio Parisse not ready to return but waits on wings for Ireland

Tomas Francis starts for Wales against England on Saturday night despite having just three international caps. Photograph: Getty

23-year-old prop heads into Twickenham showdown with just three caps to his name

Wales captain Sam Warburton retains his place at openside flanker despite the strong form of Justin Tipuric. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images.

Wales coach says they were within rules to use extended squad players

A group of Wales’ back-up players reportedly took part in training with the squad. Photograph: Getty Images

Those who do not make the final 31-man World Cup squad cannot join the group

Wesley Fofana twists to score France’s fourth try during their 38-11 win over Romania at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Getty

Philippe Saint-André’s side run in five tries to make it two from two despite poor display

France centre Wesley Fofana during a team training session at the Olympic Stadium in London on  the eve of their  World Cup match against Romania. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP

Wesley Fofana, Gael Fickou in centre provides France with attacking edge

Japan captain Michael Leitch speaks to reporters  ahead of the Scotland game. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

Eddie Jones’s side may struggle to replicate display that brought win over Springboks

Flanker Sam Cane will captain New Zealand for the first time in Thursday’s World Cup clash against minnows Namibia. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

Sam Cane will become the All Blacks’ 67th captain at the Olympic Stadium on Thursday

Japan head coach Eddie Jones and Kosei Ono celebrate after victory over South Africa in Pool B of the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Japan ready for a short turnaround against Scotland, says Eddie Jones

Ian Madigan: “It was very satisfying to see the stuff we have been working on over the last three of four weeks come to fruition.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Joe Schmidt will be pleased at how quickly his replacement outhalf adapted to the game

Jared Payne’s ability to make the right decision makes him such a vital part of Ireland under Joe Schmidt. Photograph:  Michael Steele/Getty Images

John O’Sullivan breaks down a promising start for Joe Schmidt’s side in Cardiff

Coach Philippe Saint André has entrusted the running of the game to Freddie Michalak (above), a player who exemplifies the team: gifted but flawed. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Victory many not prove pretty, but French are long past caring what others think

Fiji scrumhalf Nikola Matawalu drops the ball agonisingly short of the line after a blistering run down the right wing. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Stuart Lancaster’s side get off to winning start against Fiji at Twickenham

The New Zealand All Blacks during a gym session at Lensbury ahead of their World Cup opener. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Tony Woodcock will equal former Jason Leonard’s world record of 104 caps at prop

England coach Stuart Lancaster looks on during his players’ Captain’s Run on the eve of the opening World Cup  match against Fiji at Twickenham. Photograph: Getty.

Weight of expectation sits easily on shoulders of Stuart Lancaster’s side ahead of opener

Leinster’s Jack Conan with Josh Turnbull of Cardiff. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Irish province struggled their way through first home Pro12 game of the new season

Tyler Bleyendaal  is set to start for Munster against the Ospreys. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Welsh outfit to honour former player All Black Jerry Collins, who died in car crash

Garry Ringrose usually plays at outside centre but will get a run on the right wing. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Leo Cullen’s side determined to register first victory of season at home to Cardiff Blues

Stuart McCloskey is tackled by Ospreys’ Lloyd Evans and Gareth Delve during last week’s Pro12 clash. Photo: Darren Kidd/INPHO

Neil Doak’s sides have got their Pro12 campaign off to a flyer

The Webb Ellis Cup with a 2015 rugby ball ahead of this month’s tournament. Photograph: Dave Rogers/Getty Images)

Everything’s covered here - from the exploits of Diego Luis Albanese to Zinzan Brooke

Ireland fans celebrate victory after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland. Photograph: Sandra Mu/Getty Images

From Canada in 1987 to Italy four years ago - John O’Sullivan rolls back the years

An Ireland fan looks dejected during the IRB RWC Quarter Final match between Ireland and Wales at Wellington Regional Stadium in 2011. Photograph: Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images

We’ve had the highs but John O’Sullivan remembers the lows too - from 1987 to 2011

Dublin-born Alan MacGinty of the USA Eagles is tackled by Australia’s Sam Carter: “With each game my confidence has grown.” Photograph: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Former Blackrock student Alan MacGinty hopes to win sixth cap in World Cup opener

The  Millennium Stadium in  Cardiff where Ireland will meet Canada on September 19th, France on October 11th and either New Zealand or Argentina on the weekend of October 17th/18th should Joe Schmidt’s side reach the quarter-finals. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire.

Ireland rugby fans facing huge hotel bills in Cardiff for France match and potential quarter-finals

Lansdowne head coach Mike Ruddock: doesn’t believe the loss of Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to injury will have a massive impact on Wales’ chances at the World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Lansdowne coach must rebuild side that has lost six of last season’s starting pack

Canada’s lock Jamie Cudmore:  “That’s a key thing, keeping rugby’s ethics. You play hard, you shake hands – there’s a good level of respect.” Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Secondrow set to renew acquaintance with old sparring partner Paul O’Connell

Richard Strauss takes part in the Ireland open training session at the RDS. Photograph:   Billy Stickland/Inpho

‘The first time I played for Ireland was a very proud moment for me. I don’t think that’s going to change’

England loosehead prop Joe Marler is forced out of the scrum during the World Cup warm-up game against Ireland at Twickenham. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Set piece was excellent but Joe Schmidt’s men have work to do in other areas

Ireland winger Dave Kearney catches a high ball under pressure from England’s  Anthony Watson during the World Cup warm-up at Twickenham. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Leinster winger shines but Ulster star’s struggles continue at Twickenham

Lesinter’s Isaac Boss returns from Ireland duty to line out for Leo Cullen’s side in their opening Pro12 match against Leinster tomorrow night. Photo: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Leo Cullen calls upon five returning Ireland squad members, including Isaac Boss

Leinster’s Kevin McLaughlin: “Every opportunity I get now to play I’m going to be unbelievably hungry.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Province’s interim captain raring to go having overcome his injury nightmare

Tadhg Furlong has been named in ireland’s 31-man squad after making his debut against wales at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Photo: James Crombie/INPHO

Andrew Trimble and Marty Moore are two of the players unlucky to miss out

Ireland’s Jordi Murphy gets on the front foot against Wales. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Jordi Murphy unhappy with the way Justin Tipuric invaded heart of Irish ruck

Iain Henderson in action against Wales at the Aviva Stadium. “We gave Wales three silly penalties, three shots at goal and they took them.” Photograph: Reuters

Ulster forward’s athleticism was on show in powerful performance against Wales

Ireland’s Iain Henderson in action in the World Cup warm-up match against Wales at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:   Cathal McNaughton/Action Images via Reuters/Livepic

Frustration for Paul O’Connell on final international appearance in Ireland

Ireland’s Michael Bent is tackled by Scotland’s Grant Gilchrist during the World Cup warm-up match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photo Niall Carson/PA

Michael Bent and Gordon D’Arcy among those in action for Leinster against Moseley

Ireland’s Tommy Bowe will be hoping for an eyecatching performance against Edinburgh.

World Cup hopefuls to get run out against Edinburgh in pre-season friendly this Friday evening

18-year-old Bill Johnston will make his first start at Musgrave Park on Friday night. Photo: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Munster take on London Irish on Friday in their final pre-season match before Pro12

Michael Bent will line out for Leinster on Friday night alongside Gordon D’Arcy. Photograph: Inpho

Joe Schmidt will watch footage of matches before picking World Cup squad on Monday

Phil MacKenzie, who was impressive in the recent World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup, has been named in Canada’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Kieran Crowley’s squad contains 18 players who have never played at a World Cup

Romania’s  Ovidiu Tonita will feature in his fourth Rugby World Cup next month.

Romania will play in Pool D alongside Ireland, France, Italy and Canada

Munster head coach Anthony Foley at launch of the Guinness Pro12 in London. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Irish teams in action in fortnight with the build up less than ideal for coaches

Connacht captain John Muldoon and head coach Pat Lam at the launch of the Guinness Pro12. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

John Muldoon believes province have squad depth to thrive in Pro12 this season

Anhtony Foley believes last year’s pro 12 final defeat will make Munster stronger this time out. Photograph: Inpho

Foley’s side lost to Glasgow last term but coach believes defeat can galvanise squad

Sean O’Brien is brought down by the Scottish defence at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

John O’Sullivan assesses the Irish performances following Ireland’s edgy win over Scotland

The New Zealand All Blacks perform the Haka to South Africa’s Springboks before their Rugby Championship match at the Emirates Airline Park Stadium in Johannesburg. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Israel Dagg raps the pre-flight safety briefing to the accompanying track Men In Black

Prop Michael Bent: “Some times were tougher than others but I always stayed positive and kept pushing hard to get back.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

New Zealand-born prop knows Scotland game may be last chance to get place in squad

Prop Dave Kilcoyne is in line to start Ireland’s second World Cup warm-up game against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Inpho

Munster prop set to start at the Aviva as questions continue over Cian Healy’s fitness

Andrew Trimble has been ruled out of Ireland’s World Cup warm-up game against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Inpho

Marty Moore and Luke Fitzgerald available after recovering from shoulder injuries

2015 Rugby World Cup Warm-Up Match, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales vs Ireland. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The BBC and RTÉ similarly covered first pre-Rugby World Cup match

The Ospreys’ Tyler Ardron will captain Canada at the World Cup. Photograph: Getty

Kieran Crowley selects 35-man party after Ireland’s Pool D opponents come fifth in PNC

Irish golfer Paul Dunne is in action on Wednesday at the European Amateur championships. Photograph: EPA

Robin Dawson and Jack Hume are best of the Irish at seven under in Slovakia

Keith Earls: “I haven’t played in a Test in two years and if I get my chance I’ll be taking it. It can be your last.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Versatile Munster star back in the Ireland frame following a succession of setbacks

Jordi Murphy in action during an Ireland squad training session at Carton House on Tuesday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Backrow says squad knows that World Cup places are up for grabs in ‘warm-up’ games

Cian Healy is tackled by  Michael Bent during Ireland training at Carton House on Tuesday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Luke Fitzgerald, Seán Cronin and Marty Moore to miss Wales game

Listening to Peter Alliss commentate called to mind the suggestion that it resembled watching an episode of Catchphrase. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

Women’s British Open left poor old Peter Alliss badly exposed

USA player John McEnroe and non-playing captain Arthur Ashe prepare to take on Ireland at the RDS in the Davis Cup World Group game in 1983. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho.

Ahead of Ireland playing South Africa a revamp for the ‘World Cup’ of Tennis is a necessity for its survival

IToulon-bound Paul O’Connell in action at Ireland rugby squad training at the Sportsground in Galway. Photograph: Dan Sheridan

Ireland secondrow was ready to retire from game before Toulon came in with offer

Ireland fullback Rob Kearney at a press conference in 2013 with former Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ireland fullback admits province lost a little bit of identity during O’Connor’s tenure

Seán O’Brien, Paul O’Connell and Rob Kearney wearing Ireland’s alternate World Cup jersey. Photograph:   Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Toulon-bound player outlines his change of heart about move to French superpower

Tommy Bowe believes the Ireland team have learned from the 2013 defeat to New Zealand Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Ulster and Ireland wing looks to World Cup warm up matches to make case for selection

Gavin Moynihan and partmer Jack Hume fought back tio win their match at the European Amateur team Championship at Halmstad, Sweden. Photograph: Getty

Gavin Moynihan and Jack Hume recover to win European Amateur quarters in Sweden

The Irish team celebrate winning the RBS Six Nations in 2014. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

RTÉ, BBC and ITV aim to buy rights to Six Nations Championship from 2018

“The moments when I missed it (playing) most was when they (Ireland) won the (2015) Six Nations,” says Andrew Trimble. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho.

Injury and the recovery process have not stifled Ireland winger’s desire for the game

Jack Hume’s 68 at the European Amateur Men’s Team Championships in  Halmstad, Sweden has helped Ireland into third place, one shot behind France and Denmark after the opening 18 holes of qualifying. Photo: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Ireland currently lie one shot behind joint leaders France and Denmark

Welsh referee Nigel Owens will take charge of Ireland’s key World Cup pool game against France in Cardiff. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland’s opener against Canada will see New Zealand’s Glen Jackson in charge

 Cormac Sharvin is one of four Irish players eligible for the  US Amateur Golf Championship at Olympia Fields Golf Club in Chicago next month. Photograph: Tony Marshall/R&A via Getty Images

Cormac Sharvin, Gary Hurley, Jack Hume and Gavin Moynihan could all line at Olympia Fields

Paul Dunne will tee it up at next month’s Open Championship at St Andrew’s after qualifying at Woburn. Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

The 22-year-old finished first after 36 holes of qualifying at Woburn

RTÉ is “reasonably optimistic” of negotiating a solution that will allow it to continue its coverage of the Olympics from 2018 onwards. Photo: Valery Hache/Getty Images

IOC to receive €1.3 billion for the sale of the rights to Discovery Communications

Rory Best and Paul O’Connell at an open training session in Belfast earlier this year. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland will hold three open training sessions around the country in build-up to World Cup

Ian Keatley: left out of Ireland’s 45-man training panel for the World Cup.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

No place either for disappointed Ulster pair Luke Marshall and Robbie Diack

Ireland training sessions will be open to supporters. Photograph: Inpho

Ticketed sessions will be based at Carton House and the Galway Sportsground

 Isa Nacewa: “Leinster was the one club I wanted to play for and when the opportunity arose I just jumped at it.” Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty

Popular figure eager to resume his playing career with the province

New Toulouse coach Ugo Mola and new sporting director  Ugo Mola. Photo:  Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty Images

Guy Noves’s departure to France job sees new management and coaching combination

Connacht head coach Pat Lam is targeting success in the Challenge Cup as a route into the European Champions Cup. Photograph: Kevin Barnes/Inpho

Pat Lam’s side drawn against Russian opposition in pool one of Challenge Cup

Toulon’s Bryan Habana scores a try against Leinster in the Champions Cup semi-final last season. The clubs will meet in the group stage this time out. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ulster and Munster given tricky Champions Cup draws but shortest straw for Leinster

Leinster will face Toulon in Pool 5 of the 2015/16 Champions Cup. Photograph: Getty

Munster to play Top 14 champions Stade Français while Ulster get Saracens and Toulose

Ireland’s provinces in the Champions Cup draw will be hoping to avoid three-in-a-row champions Toulon. Photograph: Getty

The draw within a draw so important for both European rugby tournaments

 James McCarthy of Ireland and Scott Brown of Scotland during the draw at the Aviva stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

There was plenty more where that come from on the RTÉ soccer panel after Scotland draw

Emerging Ireland outhalf JJ Hanrahan runs at the Italian defence during the World Rugby Tbilisi Cup at the  Avchala Stadium. Photo: Inpho/GRU

JJ Hanrahan sets up three first-half tries against Italy in Tbilisi

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