Leone Nakarawa of Glasgow Warriors celebrates as his team beats Munster in Pro12 clash last week. photograph: dan sheridan/inpho

Alan Quinlan believes players let what had happened the previous week interfere with preparations

Referee Jerome Garces shows Jared Payne a red card after just four minutes of the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Saracens at Ravenhill. Photo: Darren Kidd/Inpho

Ulster paid a bigger price than they should have for something that was clearly an accident

 Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor speaks to his Leinster players before last Saturday’s  RaboDirect Pro12 victory over Munster at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

This still feels like the tail end of the Joe Schmidt era but one big result will change that

Rob Penney (left) will want to end his tenure on a winning note before handing over to Munster favourite Anthony “Axel” Foley. Photograph: Inpho

Foley in tricky situation but winning, starting on Saturday, would make things easier

Irish players celebrate at the final whistle after clinching the Six Nations Championship with victory over France at the  Stade de France in  Paris. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Only six of these players have won a Six Nations before – and one of those is retiring

 Pascal Pape and Hugo Bonneval argue after yet another French pass has gone astray during the Six Nations game against Wales in Cardiff. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Even in the professional era, the simplest motivation in sport is when no one believes in you

Italy’s Giovambattista Venditti scores his side’s try during the 22-15 victory over Ireland in Rome last year. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

But it’s not enough anymore just to be disciplined and wait for the Italians to hand you the game

Ireland’s Johnathan Sexton watches on as England scrumhalf Danny Care celebrates after scoring his side’s only try at Twickenham.

Ireland’s tactical approach played into the hands of a well-prepared England side

Ireland assistant coach Richie Murphy, forwards coach John Plumtree, assistant coach Les Kiss and head coach Joe Schmidt during training at Carton House yesterday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

A crushing defeat at Twickenham in 2012 marked the start of a new era for Irish rugby

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Rabo Pro 12

Team P W D L F A BP Pts
Leinster 20 15 1 4 517 319 12 74
Ulster 20 14 0 6 431 270 9 65
Glasgow 19 15 0 4 355 259 4 64
Munster 19 14 0 5 434 285 7 63
Ospreys 19 11 1 7 479 328 10 56
Scarlets 19 9 1 9 361 383 7 45
Edinburgh 18 7 0 11 325 393 7 35
Connacht 19 6 0 13 313 410 10 34
Cardiff 19 6 1 12 371 483 7 33
Dragons 19 6 1 12 339 419 5 31
Treviso 20 5 1 14 341 533 7 29
Zebre 19 3 2 14 291 465 5 21

Pool One

Team P W D L F A BP Pts
Leinster 6 5 0 1 152 66 2 22
Northampton 6 4 0 2 107 104 1 17
Castres 6 2 0 4 78 104 1 9
Ospreys 6 1 0 5 75 138 1 5

Pool Two

Team P W D L F A BP Pts
Toulon 6 5 0 1 170 104 4 24
Cardiff 6 3 0 3 119 148 2 14
Exeter 6 2 0 4 118 123 4 12
Glasgow 6 2 0 4 98 130 3 11

Pool Three

Team P W D L F A BP Pts
Toulouse 6 5 0 1 143 63 3 23
Saracens 6 4 0 2 217 74 4 20
Connacht 6 3 0 3 101 147 1 13
Zebre 6 0 0 6 33 210 0 0

Pool Four

Team P W D L F A BP Pts
Clermont 6 5 0 1 139 69 4 24
Harlequins 6 3 0 3 126 103 4 16
Scarlets 6 2 1 3 122 150 1 11
Racing Metro 6 1 1 4 66 131 1 7

Pool Five

Team P W D L F A BP Pts
Ulster 6 6 0 0 179 62 2 26
Leicester 6 4 0 2 159 112 5 21
Montpellier 6 2 0 4 121 124 3 11
Treviso 6 0 0 6 41 202 0 0

Pool Six

Team P W D L F A BP Pts
Munster 6 5 0 1 161 77 3 23
Gloucester 6 3 0 3 113 114 2 14
Edinburgh 6 3 0 3 104 141 0 12
Perpignan 6 1 0 5 112 158 3 7