Wales fullback Liam Williams was the latest player from Warren Gatland’s squad to be ruled out of tournament. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Brett Gosper not alarmed by number of players forced out of World Cup through injury

England’s head coach Stuart Lancaster leaves the   team hotel on Sunday. Photo: Getty Images

England’s premature exit not the end of the world for organisers

Devin Toner celebrates with Iain Henderson after the match.

Ian Madigan, Chris Henry and Iain Henderson make huge contributions

Paul O’Connell tries to get to his feet before being stretchered off.

Ireland captain suffered serious hamstring injury while Sexton, O’Mahony and Earls also helped off

Michael Cheika’s Australia can secure top spot in the pool of death if they beat wales on Saturday. Photograph: Getty

Australia have gone from shambles to people’s favourites in less than a year

Finn Russell returns for Scotland against Samoa as they look for a win which would secure secont place in Pool B. Photograph: PA

Finn Russell returns at St James’ Park as Vern Cotter’s side look to secure second spot

Bryan Habana of South Africa has equalled Jonah Lomu’s record of 15 World Cup tries after scoring a hat-trick against the USA on Wednesday. Photograph: Paul Gilham/Getty Images.

Springboks winger familiar with the hurt of failure but determined not to experience it again

Bryan Habana scored a hat-trick to move level with Jonah Lomu as the World Cup’s all-time leading try scorer as South Africa routed the USA at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Reuters

South Africa run in 10 tries to set up last eight showdown with either Wales or Australia

USA ssistant coach Chris O’Brien:  “It’s the fastest growing sport in the country right now and you are seeing kids starting at six and eight years old.” Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty

Assistant coach Chris O’Brien believes Eagles will soar as game continues to grow stateside

 Wales’s Gareth Davies puts in against Fiji during their World Cup Pool A match at the Millennium Stadium. Wales forward coach Robin McBryde said: “Fiji put England and Australia under pressure but we were under pressure on our own ball (against Fiji) when the hooker was striking.” Photograph: Getty Images

Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde reveals forwards held clear-the-air meeting as to how to play referees

 Owen Farrell leaves the pitch after getting a yellow card against  Australia. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP

More recriminations as assistant coach faces fresh media inquisition on role

Ireland fans outside the Olympic Stadium in London ahead of the World Cup Pool D game  against Italy. Photograph:   James Crombie/Inpho

No time to gloat on England’s departure in this green corner of Leicester Square

“We’re obviously aware of what’s at stake. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work it out,” says England coach Stuart Lancaster of his side’s World Cup clash with Australia. Henry Browne/Reuters

England coach’s lucrative long-term deal with RFU may not survive defeat to Australia

 Centre Jonathan Joseph returns to the England team for the crucial must-win clash against Australia at Twickenham. Photo:  David Rogers/Getty Images

Jonathan Joseph replaces dropped Sam Burgess in the side to face Australia

All Blacks players Keven Mealamu and Waisake Naholo play rugby with a member of the public at the London Eye during an open top bus tour of London. Photograph: Getty.

Lack of continuous presence and vastness of capital city a stumbling block

Luke Fitzgerald: “I find it pretty hard to say that I’m lucky to be here ... I’ve worked very hard.” Photograph: Inpho/Dan Sheridan

Utility player feels years of hard knocks have helped give him mental strength

Australia coach Michael Cheika enjoys a good laugh  during an Australia media session at the Grange Wellington Hotel  in London, United Kingdom. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Australia coach painting hosts as surefire favourites for Saturday

Andy Farrell, the England backs coach: “We need everyone behind us this week. We’re English. Do we want to do well/” Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images.

Coach and captain under pressure as hosts try to regroup for Australia game

Cian Healy charges through the Romania defence. Ireland went on to win 44-10. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

The Ireland captain is satisfied with how team has played against Canada and Romania

The England team arrive at Twickenham for their match against Wales in the RBS Six Nations in March last year. Photograph: David Rogers/RFU/via Getty Images

Stuart Lancaster may have betrayed first sign of stress with changes in backline

 Owen Farrell has been chosen to start at outhalf  ahead of team-mate  George Ford for England against Wales. Photo:  David Rogers/Getty Images

Decision to choose Owen Farrell instead of George Ford at outhalf highly controversial

 Wales backs coach Rob Howley:  “The game at the weekend will be about the top four inches. It’s not the physical. It’s certainly a physical game but it is our mental preparation that has to be spot on.” Photo:  David Jones/Getty Images

Wales attack coach not too concerned about rivals’ potential midfield options

South Africa’s “Chiliboy” Ralepelle is serving a two-year suspension. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Rugby union led sports in percentage of positive drug tests in 2013, say Ukad

Romania’s Welsh head coach Lynn Howells at a training session in London:  “We have to hope our players weather France and are still standing for Ireland.” Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

While Japan overcame South Africa, weaker teams are constantly at a disadvantage

France’s prop Rabah Slimani (C) rides a tackle from Italy’s back row Samuela Vunisa (2L) to score France’s first try during the Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between France and Italy at Twickenham stadium. Photograph: AFP PHOTO / Adrian Dennis

Italian indiscipline ensured the result was never in doubt at Twickenham

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw gets ready to scrum down with his fellow forwards during the Bledisloe Cup match against Australia at Eden Park, Auckland, in August. Photograph:  Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

New Zealand hoping past World Cup mistakes will aid them in quest to make history

An exceedingly English opening ceremony gets Rugby World Cup 2015 under way

France’s head coach Philippe Saint Andre attends a training session at Twickenham  two days before their 2015 Rugby Union World Cup match against Italy. Photo: Franck Fife/Getty Images

Coach wants his team to play with smiles on their faces during World Cup

Munster’s Doug Howlett is tackled by Scott Waldrom of New Zealand in their 2008 match: “I don’t think I felt more alive in a match.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Former All Black Doug Howlett says players are playing for their positions in each game

Doug Howlett says teams prepare for playing the All Blacks as though they were approaching a final. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

‘I’ve found that whoever is playing against the All Blacks play the best game of their life’

Dublin will be the only venue in Europe to host Round Two of the men’s competition, with the other two events going to Trinidad & Tobago and Bangladesh

Hosting World League event continues Ireland’s ambitions to attract top tournaments

Leinster’s Luke McGrath could team up with former St Michael’s College team-mates Cathal Marsh and Ross Byrne for the match against Cardiff. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

‘Mads is a brilliant footballer. I’ve no doubt that if he does step in, he can do a good job’

 John Muldoon will line out for Connacht for the 250th time against Glasgow at Scotstoun. Photograph: Getty Images.

Pat Lam makes one change with John Cooney starting at scrumhalf

Ian Madigan may have to feature at scrum half with Ireland just bringing Eoin Reddan and Conor Murray to the World Cup. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

‘Mad’s is a brilliant footballer. I’ve no doubt that if he does step in he can do a good job’

Billy Walsh (centre) at the European Games in Baku in June. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Irish Sports Council claim their attempts to resolve impasse have been ignored

Cian Healy underwent an operation to his neck at the end of last season and will be keen to get game time ahead of the World Cup. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leo Cullen happy to oblige Joe Schmidt should prop seek to sharpen match fitness

Ulster centre Darren Cave has said the pursuit of a place at the Rugby World Cup took over his life. Photograph: Inpho

Ulsterman admits pursuit of a place in Joe Schmidt’s World Cup squad consumed him

Munster have accepted a request from Donncha O’Callaghan to leave his contract early and join English Premier League side Worcester. Photo: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The secondrow was previously contracted to play with Munster until June 2016

Ireland’s Simon Zebo rides the tackle to break free and score a try. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Fullback believes consistency and individuality pivotal to winning Schmidt’s approval

Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Detailed programme for event must be submitted by February 2017

Ian Madigan in action during an Ireland training session at Carton House on Tuesday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland coach sounded out Ian Madigan over scrumhalf role last season

Cian Healy trains with the Ireland squad at Carton House today. The prop has been cleared to play against England this Saturday. Photo: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Loosehead prop has spent months recovering from an operation on his neck

Girvan Dempsey is currently the interim backs coach for Leinster. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Ireland manager knows opposition will take advantage of any knowledge they can glean

Billy Walsh and Zaur Antia have been named as coaches for the Ireland team to travel to the Feliks Stamm tournament in Poland on September 9th. Photograph: Kostadin Andonov/Inpho

Ireland boxing coach presently on holidays but named as coach for upcoming trip to to Poland

Paul O’Connell enters into the tunnel along with his son Paddy after playing his final Irish international at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:   Ryan Byrne/Inpho

‘It’s nice the reaction I got. But it was embarrassing. We just lost a match.’

Ireland boxing head coach Billy Walsh has been offered a post with the US women’s boxing team. Photograph: Kostadin Andonov/Inpho

ISC ‘extremely disappointed that the proposal was not presented to the IABA board’

Paul O’Connell  leads the Ireland Captain’s Run at  Aviva Stadium ahead of Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match against  Wales. Photograph:  Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland captain’s focus is purely on team's preparations for Rugby World Cup

 Ireland head coach Billy Walsh: has overseen a golden period of success in Irish amateur boxing.  Photograph:  Pat Murphy/Sportsfile

Former Olympic boxing team captain says loss of coach would be ‘disgraceful’

 Ireland head coach Billy Walsh has led his teams to unprecedented succes on the world stage in recent years.

Ireland’s head coach understood to have accepted new job with USA

Jack McGrath could be central to Ireland’s World Cup plans should Cian Healy be deemed unfit to play. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

As Joe Schmidt ponders options before World Cup, Leinster loosehead prop hopes to be one

Ireland’s former olympic medallist John Joe Nevin returned to the ring with a win in the US. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Irish Olympic medallist beats Victor Capaceta inside the distance in Coney Island

 Paddy Jackson: “I just have to focus on playing 10, getting my roles right and trying manage the team around me.”

Lack of versatility not a concern for Ulster’s specialist outhalf

Cian Healy is very unlikely to feature this weekend against Wales. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland prepare for Paul O’Connell’s last home international against Wales

Ireland captain Lucy Mulhall in action during the World Sevens Series Qualifiers at UCD Bowl. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho.

‘Now we’re in the World Series it gives us a chance to compete against the best’

“Kicking is also part of the game I get confidence from. There’s no doubt if I am kicking well it lifts other parts of my game,” says Ireland’s Ian Madigan. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Accuracy from the tee can be the difference between winning and losing a tournament

Jordi Murphy would relish the chance to bury some of his boyhood backrow heroes at the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Leinster’s Spanish born backrow faces stiff competition to make Joe Schmidt’s final 31

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

Lock’s career has been a triumph of learning and building at Leinster and Ireland

Leinster Rugby have this morning confirmed that Leo Cullen has been appointed as head coach on a two year deal. Photograph: Dáire Brennan/Sportsfile

‘Leo’s status as a player is beyond question - an outstanding captain and leader’

Ulster’s Stuart Olding leaves the field after a head injury sustained against Munster at Thomond Park in last season’s Pro12 competition. Photograph: James Crombie

Leinster Rugby and TCD have linked up in two promising brain injury studies

No new injury concerns for the Irish squad after the Scotland victory on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Positive news emanating from camp regarding Andrew Trimble after second warm-up win for Ireland

 “Tiger Woods is Usain Bolt unable to break 11 seconds over 100 metres.”  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Watching Tiger play golf has become a voyeuristic, almost furtive engagement

James McGee is the only player from Ireland competing in the Challenger events, which have larger prize funds of €46,000. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Players likely to remain under radar unless they reach main draw of Grand Slam event

Golfing twins, Leona and Lisa Maguire. “As sisters they will always be close,” says their mother, Breda. “But that doesn’t mean they will always be together.” Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Display at European Ladies Masters further confirmation of world No I amateur’s ability

Katie Taylor has been added to the undercard for Andy Lee’s upcoming fight. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Olympic champion last week responded to Billy Joe Saunders’s sexist comments

Jenny Claffey, who has just launched her career as a tennis pro, wants to be the first Irish woman after Lesley O'Halloran in 1989 to play at Wimbledon. Photograph: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Dublin player has given herself five years to make an impact on the sport

Golf has emerged in the most recent World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) figures as having a significantly higher percentage of Adverse Analytical Findings (AAF) than athletics, cycling, rugby or soccer. Photograph: Getty

Wada also puts sport only behind weightlifting and equestrian for positive tests

Cian Healy underwent disc surgery towards the end of last season. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland frontrow forward said to be struggling for fitness ahead of World Cup

George Gibney has been living in the US for 20 years.

Coach charged in 1993 with sex abuse of young swimmers now lives in Florida

Ireland prop Mike Ross has won 49 international caps since his debut in 2009. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Irish warhorse knows significance of last four warm-up Tests before tournament

A view of the artificial grass court in use at the Irish Open at Fitzwilliam. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Open letter from James Cluskey makes case for more clay courts in Ireland

Doug Howlett believes Joe Schmidt can be Ireland’s trump card at the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Mental strength essential for success in tournament, says former All Black winger

Serena Williams leaves court with the Venus Rosewater Dish after her victory in the women’s singles against Garbine Muguruza. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images.

Wimbledon champion feels she is getting better in her mature years

Novak Djokovic (R) beat Roger Federer in four sets in the men’s final of the Wimbledon Championships Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

World No1 takes his third title at Wimbledon with a dominant display against struggling Federer

Serena Williams  leaves court with the Venus Rosewater Dish after her victory over Garbine Muguruza in the Wimbledon singles final. Photograph:  Julian Finney/Getty Images

No 1 seed now holds all four Grand Slam titles and moves to 21 career majors

Williams has played in 251 Grand Slam matches to Muguruza’s 20. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Garbiñe Murguruza will try to stop American winning sixth title at Wimbledon

Roger Federer of Switzerland serves in his men’s singles semi-final match against Scotland’s Andy Murray at Wimbledon yesterday. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Swiss master crushes Murray to set up repeat of 2014 final against Djokovic

Serena Williams plays a forehand against Maria Sharapova during the women’s singles semi-final at Wimbledon. Photograph: Julian Feeney/Getty Images.

Serena Williams proves only heavyweight in bout between former champions

Roger Federer has won his last three matches against Andy Murray. Photograph:  Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Djokovic ominously moving into top gear after surviving wobble in fourth round

Richard Gasquet celebrates victory over Stan Wawrinka with a well-deserved rest. Photoraph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.

The top three found little resistance, but Frenchman goes to five to beat Swiss opponent

Serena Williams serves during her quarter-final against Victoria Azarenka. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

The American top seed faces a semi-final against old rival Maria Sharapova

Serena Williams celebrates after winning her match against Victoria Azarenka  at  Wimbledon. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Serena Williams survives tough battle and will now face Russian in the semi-finals

Novak Djokovic in action against Kevin Anderson during their resumed fourth round match at Wimbledon: the Serb was relieved to win. Photograph: Seán Dempsey/EPA

Andy Murray could still face Roger Federer in epic semi-final in bottom half of draw

Scotland’s Andy Murray  celebrates after winning his match against Ivo Karlovic of Croatia at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London yesterday. Photograph:  Toby Melville/Reuters

Novak Djokovic comes from two sets down to level before play suspended for night

Sisters Serena and Venus Williams embrace after their fourth-round match at Wimbledon. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

World number one advances to quarter-finals with straight sets win over Venus

Serena and Venus Williams are to meet each other in the fourth round. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Serena and Venus Williams set to play their first Grand Slam match since 2009

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia celebrates match point in her Ladies’ Singles third-round match against Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during day six of Wimbledon on Saturday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Nadal’s Wimbledon conqueror crashes, Serb outsider beats women’s champion

 Australia’s Nick Kyrgios – he feeds off distraction and it seems to make him better. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Australian gets revenge on Raonic and finds little rows around every corner

Serena Williams was pushed to the limit by Heather Watson on Centre Court at Wimbledon. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.

Dramatic evening sees home favourite almost knock out top seed on Centre Court

Heather Watson argues a line call on day one of Wimbledon. Druing the match, she drew a €2,500 fine for a verbal obscenity. Photograph: PA

Competitors at SW19 pay dearly for losing the run of themselves during play

 Caroline Wozniacki celebrates a point against  Denisa Allertova  during their second round match at Wimbledon. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Determined Dane overcomes a second-set wobble against unheralded Allertova

Britain’s Liam Broady took advantage of his wildcard at Wimbledon by winning his first round match against Marinko Matosevic, earning him about €64,000. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Irish tennis players are unlikely to ever benefit from lucrative grand slam wild cards

Maria Sharapova  hits a forehand during her match against Richel Hogenkamp at Wimbledon. Photograph: Henry Browne/Reuters

Russian’s power too much for Dutch outsider after she learns power of patience

Novak Djokovic celebrates beating Jarkko Nieminen in their second-round match at Wimbledon. Photograph:   Dominic Lipinski/PA

Defending champion ready for boisterous Australian crowd when he faces Bernard Tomic

Rafael Nadal of Spain shakes sweat of his head after winning his match against Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci at Wimbledon. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Swiss world number two retains effortless air of cool during straight-sets win over Damir Dzumhur

Britain’s Andy Murray reacts after a point against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin during their men’s singles first round match on day two of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 30, 2015. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE -- AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Federer, Murray and Nadal make short work of opponents on searingly hot day

Eugenie Bouchard in action against Ying-Ying Duan at Wimbledon: the 21-year-old Canadian chose to play injured and lost 7-6(3), 6-4 in the first round. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Canadian’s terrible form continues as she loses in first round to China’s Ying-Ying Duan

Nick Kyrgios enters the court to face Diego Schwartzman in his first round match at Wimbledon yesterday. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Brash Australian found himself in trouble again on day one

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic tries to shoo a bird from the court during his men’s singles first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on day one of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships. Photograph: Glyn Kirk

Defending champion accused of getting tips from coach Boris Becker during matches

Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic won the WTA Eastbourne International tennis tournament in Eastbourne. Photograph: Getty Images

Outsider Bencic won warm-up event, but will the old hands pick up their game?

Novak Djokovic of Serbia during a pratice session prior to the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Number one seed opens play on Centre Court against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber

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