Jonthan Sexton recieves medical treatment after sustaining an injury during the Six Nations match between Scotland and Ireland at Murrayfield. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Concerns raised about Ireland outhalf’s style of play after another injury against Scotland

 Ireland’s Conor Murray in action against Scotland. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Mutual respect is obvious as Martin Johnson and Paul O’Connell means good TV

Ireland’s Chris Farrell  takes on Huw Jones and Sam Johnson of Scotland during the Six Nations clash at Murrayfield. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Power the Munster man offers can be a vital asset for Ireland going forward

Ireland’s Sean O’Brien and Jack Conan with Scotland’s Simon Berghan at  Murrayfield. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Josh van der Flier, for all his blooming talent, is no groundhog. Not of O’Brien’s ilk

Ireland’s Jonny Sexton lies injured against Scotland during the Six Nations match at Murrayfield. Photo: Graham Stuart/PA Wire

Ireland outhalf was withdrawn at half-time after shipping a number of early knocks

Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony gets ready to go past Scotland’s Simon Berghan. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Business as usual for Peter O’Mahony as Ireland flanker stands out in Edinburgh

 Ireland captain Rory Best with his team-mates during the captain’s run at Murrayfield. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Captain Rory Best says visitors will tailor their game plan to account for Storm Erik at Murrayfield

Seán O’Brien talks to Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby during the Captain’s Run at Murrayfield ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations match against Scotland. Photograph:    Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Devin Toner out for two months after undergoing ankle surgery

Ireland’s Alison Miller: she is playing in her  10th Six Nations. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland winger continues her remarkable recovery as Ireland face Scotland at Scotstoun

Jack Conan: “I can carry the ball, I can offload, I think defensively I’ve got a lot better over the last few years and that’s something I hope to bring this weekend, making collision-winning tackles.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Number eight keen to make 12th cap a big performance to remember

Chris Farrell during the Ireland training session at Carton House on Thursday. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster man is the latest Ireland player to fall as Joe Schmidt’s options continue to thin

Peter O’Mahony, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy and Jonathan Sexton at Ireland rugby squad training in Carton House, Co Kildare on Tuesday.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

With injury piling up on injury, Ireland are getting perilously close to their trauma limit

Alison Miller (centre) during Ireland’s Captain’s Run ahead of the England game. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Adam Griggs’s side in need of confidence-boosting victory at Scotstoun

Joe Schmidt: “We were very quiet before the game. I didn’t sense the same energy levels I would have in November when the All Blacks came.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joe Schmidt detected a lack of the usual vibrancy from the group on Saturday

England’s Elliot Daly scores a try after a mistake by Ireland’s Jacob Stockdale during the Six Nations clash at the Aviva Stadium.  Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA

Ample evidence of just what a power game England are capable of producing at the World Cup

CJ Stander of Ireland is tackled by Maro Itoje and George Kruis of England during the Six Nations match at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

No 8 played most of match with suspected fractured cheekbone and eye socket

Garry Ringrose can’t prevent Henry Slade from scoring for England. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey looks at Joe Schmidt’s side after a comprenensive opening defeat

Eddie Jones: “The doctor said, ‘If you recover fully you can coach until you’re 70.’ I might keep him to that”. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Jones must embrace change in a game he had figured out with mathematical precision

Bundee Aki: “He [Tuilagi wasn’t that big back then but very strong, as strong as he is now. I think he rolled over Josh [Matavesi] that day.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland centre looking forward to playing with his former Connacht team mate Henshaw again

Emily Scarratt of England in action against Wales during a Sevens clash. Her midfield duel with Ireland’s Sene Naoupu could prove a highlight of the Women’s Six Nations clash in Donnybrook. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Increasing professionalism of the visitors likely to test home XV to the limit and beyond

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has explained the thinking behind his first team announcement of the 2019 Six Nations. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Irish head coach says he has no intention of prematurely discarding Rob Kearney

Robbie Henshaw starts at fullback for Ireland in their Six Nations opener. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

No place for Rob Kearney or Jack McGrath on the bench for Six Nations opener

Maro Itoje is one of the few England internationals to make the transition from the under-20s to senior grade in a relatively short space of time. Photograph: Getty Images

Glittering success at underage level has yet to reap real dividends for England’s senior side

 Ireland’s Josh van der Flier is expected to be named at openside for the Six Nations opener against England. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Robbie Henshaw to come in at fullback in other tight selection call for Saturday’s game

Ireland captain Ciara Griffin: will be supported by Sene Naoupu and Claire Molloy against a fully   professional England side. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Strong trio will lead Irish team at Donnybrook on Friday at controversial 5pm time

Robbie Henshaw is expected to move from centre to fullback against England this weekend. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster back expected to move to 15 with Bundee Aki likely to get the nod at inside centre

James Lowe scores a try for Leinster against the Scarlets. Photograph: Ben Whitley/Inpho

James Lowe blames size for New Zealand’s alarming drop-off in rugby participation

Bill Johnston: Munster outhalf gets his opportunity to impress against the Dragons at Rodney Parade. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Welsh club have really struggled when facing Irish provinces in recent times

Leinster’s Barry Daly scores a try during the Guinness Pro 14 game at the  RDS. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Leo Cullen says Jack McGrath and Rob Kearney will benefit from game time

Peter O’Mahony and Dan Goggin celebrate Munster’s win over Exeter which secured their place in the Champions Cup knockouts. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Player eligibility will not be a problem this season; dates, times and TV confirmed

Leinster’s Rob Kearney is chased by James Lowe during training ahead of the Pro14 clash with Scarlets. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Pair are being given valuable Leinster game time in the Pro14 ahead of the Six Nations

Ulster’s Darren Cave sent out a very questionable tweet after Ulster’s win. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

With 20 from 20 Joey Carbery has finally filled Ronan O’Gara’s 10 red jersey

Owen Farrell: England outhalf will be on duty for Saracens against Glasgow Warriors. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Scarlets likely to suffer the expected backlash in Paris

A general view of the International Stadium in Yokohama where Ireland will start their Rugby World Cup campaign against Scotland. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Games featuring Ireland, England, New Zealand and Japan will attract the most demand

Jacob Stockdale of Ulster is mobbed by team mates after scoring a try against Racing 92 at Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Ulster winger boasts six tries in Europe this season and 12 in his 14 Ireland caps

Simon Zebo: tweeted about comments directed his way from among the attendance at Kingspan Park. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Overwhelming backing for Irish international’s post-Kingspan Park game tweet

 Jacob Stockdale of Ulster scores his second try against Racing 92 during the Champions Cup clash at the  Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

Ireland winger grabs a couple of crucial tries as Racing are kept at bay in Belfast

Racing’s Simon Zebo arrives at Ravenhill for the Heineken Champions Cup clash with Ulster. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

28-year-old tweeted after the defeat to Ulster about comments heard from the crowd

Ulster’s Will Addison kicks a penalty against Racing  92. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Will Addison did not delay his late penalty and allowed Racing to restart the match

  Jacob Stockdale scores his first try. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Dan McFarland’s side move a step closer to the quarter-finals with win at Kingspan Stadium

Ulster’s Eric O’Sullivan against Benetton.“Over the last 18 months he has been getting stronger and stronger.” Photograph: Elena Barbini/Inpho

The prop is a prime example of the IRFU’s leave-no-player-behind policy

Johnny Sexton has been ruled out of Leinster’s crunch Champions Cup clash with Toulouse. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leinster head into crunch Champions Cup clash with significantly weakened backline

 Cillian Willis in action for  Sale  during the LV= Cup semi-final against  Saracens at  Salford City Stadium in  March, 2013.  Photograph: Paul Thomas/Getty Images

News round-up: Leinster register Conor O’Brien; changes afoot in Munster

Connacht winger Cian Kelleher runs in a try during  the Guinness Pro 14 game against Munster at the  Sportsground. Photograph:  Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Former Academy player looking to push on and win international honours

TG4 putting a microphone on Jerry Flannery was an excellent addition to their Pro14 coverage at the weekend. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Meanwhile, we saw Connacht’s cardinal sins and is there an English rugby civil war coming?

Leinster’s Johnny Sexton clashes with Munster’s Joey Carbery as referee Frank Murphy looks on. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Cullen and Kearney defend Sexton after he admits being ‘too revved up’ against Munster

Leinster’s Ciarán Frawley is a man with a point to prove in the Pro14 encounter against Ulster at the RDS on Saturday. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Starting lineups for this January interpro aren’t full of stars but there’s plenty at stake

Leinster’s James Lowe collides with Munster’s Andrew Conway during the Guinness Pro 14 derby at Thomond Park. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Winger will miss Pro 14 derby with Ulster and visit of Toulouse in Champions Cup

 Johnny Sexton celebrates with Bundee Aki after scoring the match-winning  drop goal. Photograph:  Getty Images

Grand Slam campaign was about to be holed below the waterline until ‘Le Drop’

Johnny Sexton was taken off after 60 minutes of Leinster’s defeat to Munster with his side trailing by six points. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Sexton’s withdrawal gave clash between rivals the feeling of an elite training session

Joey Carbery: Munster will be looking for a big display from the outhalf against his former team-mates. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Munster need to produce a clinical edge in attack to stall the champions’ progress

Josh van der Flier made 16 tackles  against New Zealand and owns a 2-1 win ratio over the world champions. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Leinster flanker missed a lot of game time but returned with a roar against the All Blacks

Munster have a lot to improve on to reach perfection, says coach Johann van Graan. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Province are evolving under the 38-year-old South African but still have a long way to go

Des Cahill talks to Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt after he was named Philips Sports Manager of the Year at an awards ceremony at the InterContinental Hotel in Dublin. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Ireland rugby boss confident that coaching team will continue his legacy

James Ryan takes a lineout at The Rec. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

1,500 Leinster flags stuck outside the turnstiles ahead of province’s win at The Rec

Leinster’s James Ryan gets away from Bath’s Dave Attwood in the   Champions Cup pool one match at The Recreation Ground, Bath. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

Leadership oozes from secondrow who was a standout player in province’s win

Sam Underhill enjoyed a fine game for Bath against Leinster. Photograph: David Davies/PA

Ryan concedes Leinster need to tighten up at the breakdown after narrow win at The Rec

Jordan Larmour races clear to score Leinster’s match-winning try against Bath. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Jordan Larmour’s moment of majesty the difference in gruelling encounter at The Rec

Leo Cullen: “Before most people wake, Leo is working away on what’s best for Leinster Rugby but people don’t see that,” says Isa Nacewa. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Leinster’s head coach overcame a turbulent start to prove his mettle in spectacular style

Leinster’s Jonathan Sexton in training ahead of their Champions Cup meeting with Bath. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Big guns return for the Irish province as they look to keep touch with Toulouse in Pool 1

Dan Leavy will start at number eight for Leinster as they take on Bath at The Rec. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Scott Fardy left out by Leo Cullen in favour of James Lowe and Jamison Gibson-Park

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen speaking to the press ahead of his side’s Champions Cup clash with Bath. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Leinster coach made robust defence of province in wake of O’Driscoll’s comments

 Brian O’Driscoll leaves the field injured in his last match for Leinster, against Glasgow in May 2014. Photograph: Patrick Bolger/Inpho.

‘It almost became like habit’ says former Ireland and Lions captain

Girvan Dempsey has said his position at Bath is secure as the club prepare  a coaching overhaul. Photograph: Bob Bradford/Getty

Club are enduring a poor season in the Premiership but change as afoot at The Rec

Andrew Conway: could face a scrap for a place in the Ireland squad with the likes of Chris Farrell and  Will Addison. Photograph: Tommy dickson/Inpho

Little rest forthcoming for England’s busy international contingent

Leinster’s Caelan Doris goes high to claim a lineout during the comprehensive victory over Dragons at Rodney Parade, Newport. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Inpho

Former Leinster stalwart the ideal man to provide the inside track on champions

Ulster’s Rob Herring: he will play his 150th Ulster game at hooker. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Visitors travel without current starting Wales outhalf Gareth Anscombe

Leinster’s Scott Penny: he made his debut against the Ospreys last week. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Dragons coach Bernard Jackman will have identified real opportunity to catch the champions

Leinster’s Adam Byrne with Joe Schmidt at an Ireland training session at Carton House.  “He didn’t treat me any differently to anyone else.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

‘Joe smashed through all that nonsense’ recalls current scrum coach Fogarty

Joe Schmidt with Brian O’Driscoll after Leinster’s 2011 Heineken Cup final win over Northampton. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Kiwi arrived in Ireland relatively unknown but leaves after shaping a rugby generation

Jordan Larmour during an Ireland training session at Carton House. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Young Leinster star underwent ‘minor’ operation but could return for Champions Cup

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt works with his team before the Guinness Series clash with the USA. Photo: Brian Keane/Inpho

Cheika spills the beans; Johnny Sexton a worthy winner of the biggest of awards

 Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell: “I couldn’t watch the Irish defensive effort [against New Zealand] without lamenting the loss England suffered when Andy Farrell was allowed to slip through the net.”  Photograph: Reuters

‘He is good at organising his team and filling up the space on the park. And he does that really well’

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt at a post-match press conference following the win over the USA. Photograph:  Tommy Dickson/Inpho

New Zealander says he has indicated his decision to IRFU and will announce it on Monday

 Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt with his New Zealand counterpart, Steve Hansen, speaking before the match at the Aviva. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Dan Leavy the latest player to keep injury details private; Toner thriving amid pressure

Peter O’Mahony claims a lineout. He took the game to New Zealand at every turn during the  historic night at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ex-Lions captain soared to banish any lingering disappointment over the 2017 tour

 Bundee Aki and Ian Henderson celebrate at the final whistle of the autumn international against New Zealand at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey looks at five key moments as Ireland claimed first home win over All Blacks

The Ireland team huddle after the All Blacks performed the Haka prior to the Guinness Series Test match at the Aviva stadium. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey runs the rule over Joe Schmidt’s green shirted history-makers

 Ireland   coach Joe Schmidt shakes hands with New Zealand coach Steve Hansen at the Aviva in 2016. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Ireland and All Blacks head coaches both boast hugely successful careers

Kieran Read speaks to the media on Friday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

“I’m sure there is going to be a lot of emotion, a lot of heat out here”

Ireland’s Dan Leavy has been ruled out of Saturday’s Guinness Series meeting with New Zealand. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

IRFU spokesperson defends continuing trend of players not disclosing their injuries

New Zealand  coach Steve Hansen: “He’s pretty good, Joe, at finding a trick or two, so we’ll be expecting one or two coming our way on Saturday.” Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

‘He’s pretty good, Joe, at finding a trick or two, so we’ll be expecting one or two coming our way on Saturday’

Bundee Aki and Kieran Marmion with  Ireland fan Jennifer Malone at Carton House. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Marmion says his Auckland-born Connacht team-mate will be fired up for a special Test

Iain Henderson and Dan Leavy pictured in an Irish team huddle at Carton House. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joe Schmidt makes four changes to the Ireland team that beat Argentina last weekend

Devin Toner made a big impact coming off the replacements bench against the Pumas. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Our writers pick the Irish sides they want to see take on the mighty All Blacks

Jonathan Sexton of Ireland prepares to take a penalty during the Test match wi over Argentina. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Ireland outhalf will come up against fellow player of the year nominee Beauden Barrett

Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton speaks to the press ahead of Saturday’s Guinness Series meeting with New Zealand. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Outside centre suffered injury before Pumas win which rules him out of All Blacks clash

A   television official saw the boot of Courtney Lawes cross the invisible offside line a millisecond before TJ Perenara motioned to kick in the All Blacks' narrow victory over England

Stander says he never witnessed doping problems at Craven Week national trials

Ireland’s Dan Leavy in possession  during the clash against Argentina at the Aviva Stadium. Niall Carson/PA

Leinster flanker may well have played himself into the starting side to face the All Blacks

 New Zealand head  coach Steve Hansen gives  a press conference at   the Crowne Plaza hotel in  Blanchardstown on Sunday. Photograph:  Phil Walter/Getty Images

‘Big players get up. If they think they are right to play, let them play,’ says New Zealand coach

Seán O’Brien broke his arm during Ireland’s win over Argentina in Dublin. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ireland flanker suffers broken arm on return from injury against Argentina

Ieland’s Ronan O’Gara has his face pushed into the ground by Argentina’s Juan Martin Scelzo during the fractious 2007 World Cup clash in Paris. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

For over a decade games between Ireland and Argentina carried a distinct whiff of cordite

Sean O’Brien: “ I get to wear the jersey this week, better make sure I do it justice and do my thing.” Photograph: Billy stickland/Inpho

Grizzled veteran knows every display important in a fiercely competitive environment

Ireland’s Jordan Larmour starts at fullback for the Guinness Series clash with Argentina on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Seán O’Brien starts as Joe Schmidt names same pack that played Argentina last year

England’s Owen Farrell makes a challenge on South Africa’s Andre Esterhuizen during the international Test match at Twickenham. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters

Schmidt’s Larmour and Beirne headache; World Rugby’s gender fail on selection panel

Munster players congratulate Mike Haley on his try during their Pro14 win over Cheetahs. Photo: Frikkie Kapp /Inpho

Johann van Graan’s side made heavy work of getting past the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein

Ireland’s Tadhg Beirne goes over for the third try in their win over Italy at Soldier Field, Chicago. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey runs the rule over Joe Schmidt’s charges after their big win

 All Blacks’ Beauden Barrett   reacts during  the match  against the Springboks at Westpac Stadium on September 15th, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photograph: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

Former Ireland outhalf believes playing field between sides has never been so level

IIreland’s Joey Carbery and Luke McGrath during training ahead of the match against Italy at Soldier Field, Chicago. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Jordan Larmour will continue at fullback for the Soldier Field clash against Italy

Greg McWilliams: “Every coach I come across over here I tell them to forget systems; get your kids passing the ball and learn how to step off both feet. Skills, skills, skills”

Former St Michael's outhalf credits Joe Schmidt's influence on his coaching career

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