Ireland captain Paul O’Connell holds up the Six  Nations trophy alongside his team-mates. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Change mindset from conservatism to entrepreneurial adventure

“Ireland could not cross the line against Wales, even with a maul. We needed referee Wayne Barnes for that. Ireland’s attack was impotent.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Joe Schmidt needs to instil a solid attacking structure to win the really important games

Devon Toner is the most improved player in the Irish team. His defensive work against an intelligent Welsh lineout will once again be crucial.  Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

I want Ireland to win and be successful but I find their style of play uninspiring

Joe Schmidt has cast off the attacking philosophy of his coaching “apprenticeship” and is adopting a pragmatic “forensic accounting” game plan. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty

The laws are being manipulated so running rugby is penalised and a kicking game is rewarded

England’s set-piece must be targeted and a high-tempo running game employed

Jared Payne and Peter O’Mahony of Ireland with Mathieu Bastareaud of France:  Ireland made no line breaks, scored no tries but still won the game at the Aviva Stadium last week. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland won ugly against France because the game’s laws favour that kind of negative play

Players push in a scrum during the Six Nations  match between Italy and Ireland at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Ireland should win with France a shadow of the great creative power they once were

Seán O’Brien emerges at Stadio Olimpico in Rome for the captain’s run. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Seán O’Brien will help with the forwards’ ball carrying but he cannot be alone

“Ireland played great footy and deserved to win (last November), but the kicking was way too much. That’s not how we play. The mindset is a massive difference.”

Six Nations drama largely exists outside Australian paradigm

Tevita Kuridrani of Australia escapes France’s Yoann Huget during their Test match at the Stade de France, Paris on November 15th. Photograph: Reuters.

Australia’s lack of game management may see Joe Schmidt’s side home

Guinness Autumn International, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 8/11/2014 Ireland vs South Africa Springboks Ireland’s Devin Toner, Paul O’Connell and Rhys Ruddock with Bismarck du Plessis of South Africa SpringboksMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Reaction to win against Springboks a little over the top considering how poor Irish attack was

South Africa forced New Zealand to produce a staggering 252 tackles in their recent Rugby Championship match in Johannesburg. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Image

Matt Williams believes Heyneke Meyer has added flair to physicality and it is a masterstroke

French rugby not in a great current state but one lapse in concentration and they remain capable of stealing a match

The English pack clear a ruck against Ireland during last year’s Six Nations clash. “Ireland will need to dominate the English pack with their mauling which was simply glorious against Wales.” Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

The Irish scrum has been superb thus far and must attack the English set-piece with real venom

Andrew Coombs and Peter O’Mahony of Ireland grapple for the ball in the lineout during last season’s RBS Six Nations Championship fixture. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Home side must display character and true grit if they are to slay this impressive dragon

Joe Schmidt talks to his team in November. This Ireland team must find a measure of consistency. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Now is the time to end the team’s swings from excellence to mediocrity

Gordon D’Arcy is greatly underestimated in Irish rugby. It is only when he is absent that people see his real value. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

If the Irish pack are the same soft proposition in tomorrow’s game, they will be torn apart

I am a ‘Quade doubter’ but I have to admit, I have been mightily impressed by Cooper’s performances since his return. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Australia may beat Ireland but their big task is saving the game at home

Getting the message across: Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt speaks to his players at the Captain’s Run at the Aviva Stadium yesterday.

The new coach can’t expect to produce a magic bullet straight away

 Jamie Roberts of the Lions is mobbed by team-mates Conor Murray and George North  after scoring the Lions’ fourth try against Australia during the third and final Test at the  ANZ Stadium  in Sydney, Australia. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images)

Tour has been an outstanding success in every way

The Lions’ front row in action against Australia last week in Melbourne.The Lions’ scrum is not interested in giving the ball to the backline. Phtograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Dropping of O’Driscoll a huge mistake

Australian Wallabies captain James Horwill  and prop Sekope Kepu show how much victory meant against  the British and Irish Lions . Photograph:  William West/AFP/Getty Images

The visitors did nothing in an attacking sense, helping Australia to a massive win

 Robbie Deans, coach of the Wallabies shakes hands with Israel Folau  after losing the First Test against the British & Irish Lions at Suncorp Stadium  in Brisbane, Australia. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

One missed kick marked the thin line between failure and success

Bran O’Driscoll offers a potent threat in the Lions’ backline. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

History shows the Wallabies are always capable of rising to the biggest challenge

While Quade Cooper did play the gain line exceptionally well against the Lions but he did not manage the game well and I do not expect him to be added to the Wallaby squad. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images.

The Lions finally came face to face with the style I hope they can get from the Wallabies

Justin Harrison clashes with the Lions’ Austin Healey in 2001. A fired-up Harrison would go on to make a lineout steal that decided the series. Photograph: Getty

There is desperation in Wallaby hearts. Desperate people become reckless and dangerous

Tom Waterhouse and his wife Hoda Vakili

The tale of a self-made multimillionaire, the matriarch of a racehorse training dynasty, her controversial bookmaker son, an all-t(...)

Will Genia of the Reds, likely Wallaby scrumhalf against the Lions. Photograph: Getty Images

While the game continues to flourish around the globe, in Australia it is struggling and in need of some help

Christian Warner of the NSW Waratahs evades the tackle of Ross West the Queensland Reds during the National Ricoh Championship game at Ballymore, Brisbane, Australia in 1999. We decided that the boys needed to do a few rounds of sparing as part of the pre-season. Photograph: Getty Images

Somehow Rory found the will to get to his feet and take his stance. He looked his opponent in the eye and said, “Come on you basta(...)

Nathan Hines and  Ronan O’Gara at the end of the Heineken Cup semi-final. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Munster outhalf showed that class really is permanent

 Joe Schmidt will find the international environment very different from the supportive atmosphere of Leinster. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Coaching is about perception not substance

Boston firefighter James Plourde carries an injured girl away from the scene after  the Boston Marathon bombing. Photograph: Ken McGagh/AP Photo/MetroWest Daily News

The Boston Marathon bombs had been packed with metal fragments and placed close to the ground

The game used to be for all body shapes, the IRB can bring that back

Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock. Photograph: Lorraine O'Sullivan/Inpho

We need an extensive review into the systems that recruit and develop the next generation of players

The hasty recruitment of Michael Bent from New Zealand sums up Ireland’s problems at tighthead prop. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

It’s time to hold review into the systems and processes in the elite player pathway to the national team

Italians to pose a major test for Kidney’s men

Now is the time for all Irish supporters to do what we expect every Irish player to do, writes Matt Williams

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ANALYSIS: I suspect there will be a moment tomorrow when a wily old Cork man with a trusty boot will save the day

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RUGBY ANALYST: But any slacking, and mentally-strong England will gain the revenge they have quietly craved

As Warren Gatland said, Australia is a great place to tour

What do Ollie Campbell, Jackie Kyle, David Humphries, Tony Ward and Paul Dean have in common? They were all great outhalves

And then there were none. No Irish born provincial head coach in the country

ON RUGBY: An athlete needs to have a recovery plan to be in peak physical and mental condition

When two evenly-matched teams clash, the winning edge is found within the team that is the more desperate to win.

French Notes To fully develop their potential, Connacht must get a much better deal from the IRFU

ANALYSIS: Clermont is the major city of the Massif Central – the French region is shaped like a giant handmade lump of dark …

ANALYSIS: I doubted a woman could enter the ‘pointy end’ of rugby with credibility. I was wrong

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French Notes We are allowing administrators, coaches and players to perform well below acceptable standards and get away with…

FRENCH NOTES: It’s looking good in the early days of the new Saint-André French empire

US president Barack Obama said yesterday his historic trip to Burma was not an “endorsement” of the country’s reformist government(...)

FRENCH NOTES: The Leinster number 8 has benefited from strong role models

FRENCH NOTES: It’s right to spend time in the provinces before donning the green jersey

FRENCH NOTES : Their negotiating tactics have left little room for manoeuvre – if the ERC calls their bluff they are in real…

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THE SUSPECT: THE MAN suspected of the US’s worst shooting rampage since the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007 is understood …

RODNEY KING, whose savage beating at the hands of Los Angeles police officers led to widespread rioting in the city in 1992, …

Ulster are simply not as good as Leinster and must employ innovative strategies to win

FRENCH NOTES: The IRB has a set of workable laws, however they are not being implemented because of the system of officiating…

FRENCH NOTES: In the words of “the dissident,” the IRFU are unjust in denying Irish players the opportunity to play international(...)

FRENCH NOTES: Every bad refereeing decision, every injury, is out of your control. You can only control your reaction

FRENCH NOTES : We are deluding ourselves if we believe winning the Heineken Cup means the Irish national team will have success…

FRENCH NOTES: From the bottom of the Magners League in 2008 to the top tier of the European game, Ulster’s progress has been…

FRENCH NOTES : Our rugby analyst tries to engage the Taoiseach’s help in urging the IRFU to change tack and fully participate…

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