Joe Schmidt will announce his team for the Australia tour today. Photograph: Inpho

Tadhg Beirne and John Cooney among those likely to be selected for Australia tour

Munster’s Simon Zebo is tackled by  Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock as  Tadgh Furlong closes in during Saturday’s  Guinness Pro14 semi-final at the RDS.  Photograph: Donall Farmer/PA

Encouraging display, albeit in defeat, to Leinster shows van Graan’s side not far away

Leinster  scrum coach John Fogarty at a press conference ahead of his side’s Pro14 final against Scarlets. Photograph:  Gary Carr/Inpho

Scrum coach stresses importance of first 20 minutes against Scarlets in Pro14 final

Leinster’s James Lowe offloads to Jack Conan to set up the province’s ir first try against Munster at the RDS, Dublin, on Saturday. Photograph: motgan treacy/inpho

Leo Cullen’s side profit from superior skillset and accuracy of their passing

Craig Gilroy scores a try for Ulster during the province’s Guinness Pro14 European Champions Cup playoff match against Ospreys at  Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Late trademark intercept try by Jacob Stockdale puts paid to an Ospreys’ comeback

Leinster’s Jack Conan scores the opening try in the Guinness Pro 14 semi-final against Munster at the  RDS. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ding-dong battle at the RDS is decided by a single point at the final whistle

Luke McGrath: starts at outhalf for Leinster in the absence of Johnny Sexton. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Leo Cullen makes six changes from last week’s line-up as they host motivated old foes

“To come home from winning a final and be able to play Munster in front of our home crowd at the RDS is something that not many teams get a chance to do.”

Australian is well travelled but has made himself right at home with Leinster

“He (Sexton) went to run yesterday and thought it wasn’t 100 per cent and we made the call.”

Robbie Henshaw should be fit for Ireland’s upcoming tour of Australia

Keith Earls with his Irish Players’ Player of the Year 2018 award at the Zurich Irish Rugby Awards. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Munster and Ireland winger has played superbly for both province and country

Leinster’s Jack Conan: “It was a moment of relief, and then it sinks in that we’ve done something that we’ve been talking about for the last few years.” Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Leinster player says Saturday will be ‘tarnished a bit’ if team does not finish on a high

Johnny Sexton celebrates Ireland’s win over the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joe Schmidt’s side will face Italy at Soldier Field - the scene of their All Blacks victory

Spanish players protest to Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu   after losing to Belgium in March. Photograph: EPA

World Rugby sanction Romania, Spain and Belgium for using ineligible players

The triumphant Leinster team in Bilbao. There is no club or province in the world achieving what Leinster are doing. Photograph: Getty Images

Thousands of people can feel proud of their contribution to Leinster’s triumph

Isa Nacewa: “He’s got two games left. Two games and that’s it. So there’s still a huge hunger in someone like Isa to get on the field this weekend and get a result.” Photograph: Getty Images

Robbie Henshaw ruled out of Saturday’s game against Munster due to knee injury

Robbie Henshaw suffered a knee injury in Leinster’s Champions Cup final win. Photo: Gabriel Buoys/Getty Images

Leinster player suffered a knee injury during Saturday’s Champions Cup final win in Bilbao

Rémi Talés fails to score a last-minute drop goal for Racing 92 in the Champions Cup final against Leinster. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

McGrath says being forced to grind out victory in Champions Cup made it extra special

Leinster prop Cian Healy celebrates his fourth European  Champions Cup victory at San Mames Stadium in Bilbao. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Prop who is one of four Leinster players to win fourth Champions Cup eyes further glory

The Leinster squad celebrate in the dressingroom following their victory against Racing in the Champions Cup final    at the San Mames Stadium in Bilbao, Spain. Photograph: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Leo Cullen praises his side after ‘ugly’ win over Racing 92 in Champions Cup decider

 Cian Healy  is swallowed up by the Racing 92 defence. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

“We had to go through some pain watching it. It was tough, but credit for the players”

 Leinster’s Isa Nacewa kicks the winning penalty. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Isa Nacewa signs off in style in his final European appearance for the province

Johnny Sexton at Leinster’s captain’s run at San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao on Friday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

It will be a tight final against Racing, but province can prove they are Europe's best

Isa Nacewa slips the tackle from Richard Wigglesworth of Saracens during the Champions Cup quarter-final at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Victory today would see back become one of most successful players in European rugby

Isa Nacewa during the captain’s run ahead of Leinster’s Champions Cup final clash with Racing 92. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

As Isa Nacewa bids farewell, Gerry Thornley ranks the province’s best overseas players

Leinster’s Tadgh Furlong: “Don’t get too carried away by the highs,  but don’t get too carried away by the lows either.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Tight-head says representing Wexford on the Leinster team means a massive amount

Racing 92’s  Juan Imhoff  runs with the ball during the French Top 14 rugby union match between Racing 92 and SU Agen, at La Rabine Stadium in Vannes, western France, last Saturday. Photograph: Fred Tanneau/AFP/Getty Images

Parisians are in good shape as they prepare to face Leinster in Sunday’s finals in Bilbao

Incoming Ulster coach Dan McFarland looks to be a good fit for the province. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Dan McFarland looks a good fit for Ulster but the rebuilding job is a daunting proposition

Munster’s Simon Zebo with his son Jacob and daughter Sofia after  his final hope appearance for the province in the victory over Edinburgh  at Thomond park. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

European hangover still evident, but van Graan’s side do enough to pip Edinburgh

Munster’s Jean Kleyn is tackled by Edinburgh’s Jaco van der Walt during the semi-final qualifier at Thomond Park. Kleyn is an injury concern for the semi-final against Leinster. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

‘We are going to Dublin to play the best team in Europe’ says coach van Graan

Simon Zebo leaves the pitch after Munster’s win over Edinburgh. Photograph: Inpho

Simon Zebo says farewell to Thomond Park with a trademark piece of individualistic skill

Keith Earls goes over for a try for Munster in their Pro14 semi-final qualifier win over Edinburgh. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Home side were pushed all the way by a determined Edinburgh but got over the line

JJ Hanrahan: it’s the most significant chance he’s been afforded at outhalf in his Munster career to date. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Hosts have physicality to meet Edinburgh head on plus greater variety in attack

A dejected Conor Murray leaves the pitch after the European  Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Racing 92 at  Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Success in Pro14 would go some way to ease pain of Champions Cup semi-final loss

Cork Constitution’s Shane Daly at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday: “It was great to win here last year and it’s an unbelievable feeling winning a league because it’s so hard to win.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Centre is hoping they’ll retain their crown against Lansdowne at the Aviva on Sunday

Mike Ruddock: “It’s going to come down to a massive effort again on Sunday against an excellent team who know how to win.” Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Lansdowne aiming to complete an excellent season by claiming Ulster Bank League title

President Michael D Higgins walks out to greet the Ireland team, staff and partners at  Áras an Uachtaráin on Wednesday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Irish squad’s ‘truly monumental achievement’ recognised at Phoenix Park reception

Sale have distanced themselves from reports that they were in the process of signing Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

English club deny speculation that Ulster duo were about to sign deals

Kieran Keane: will be leaving Connacht after just one year as coach. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Negotiations between the two parties expected to be finalised soon as New Zealander departs

Reports suggest that Stuart Olding may also join the English club after Ulster release

Departing Connacht head coach Kieran Keane:  In his own quirky way, he clearly cared passionately about the province. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Kiwi coach’s premature departure comes just as it seems his methods would bear fruit

Connacht coach Kieran Keane will leave his post with immediate effect. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

New Zealander has been in charge at the Sportsground for just one season

Connacht’s Tom Farrell with Joey Carbery of Leinster at the Sportsground. Photograph: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

John Muldoon gets a proper send-off as the province register historic victory over rivals

Racing 92’s scrum-half and placekicker Maxime Machenaud will miss the  European Champions Cup final against Leinster due to injury. Photograph: Inpho

Placekicker ruptured knee ligaments on Saturday and will miss Bilbao showdown

Connacht’s John Muldoon celebrates team-mate Kieran Marmion’s try at the Guinness PRO14 against Leinster at the Sportsground in Galway. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Captain’s 327th and last game for province ends with stunning 47-10 win over Leinster

Connacht captain John Muldoon celebrates Kieran Marmion’s try during the Guinness Pro 14 game against Leinster at the Sportsground in Galway. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Skipper enjoys fond farewell from Sportsground crowd on memorable day

John Muldoon celebrating after leading Connacht to their greatest day in that 2016 Pro12 final win over Leinster at Murrayfield. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Veteran bows out after 17 stellar years and 327 competitive appearances for province

John Muldoon with the Connacht Rugby squad training at the Sportsground in Galway on Tuesday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Pro14 preview: Captain’s final game for province will provide a poignant season finale

The Guinness Pro14 final will be in the Aviva Stadium on May 26th. Photograph: gary carr/inpho

Leinster look to have already sealed a home semi-final but mathematically still need a point

Simon Zebo: in 38 minutes he  had more touches on the ball than Andrew Conway and Keith Earls each had in 80 minutes. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Semi-finals require experience in the back three – as Leinster learned last season

Racing assistant coach Chris Masoe: “It’s good to be underdog but we’ve got to a lot of analysis in the next three weeks,” Photograph: David Rogers/Inpho

Assistant coach Masoe praises the important contribution of the former Munster stalwart

Conor Murray shows his dejection after Munster’s  European  Champions Cup semi-final defeat to  Racing 92  at the Stade Chaban-Delmas in Bordeaux. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Coach says province ran out of time to undo the damage of Racing’s blistering first quarter

Munster’s Peter O’Mahony at Stade Chaban-Delmas in Bordeaux: “I am very proud of the way the lads showed up in the second half . . . but it was too much and too late.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Munster captain Peter O’Mahony admits his side lost early momentum to Racing

Racing 92 winger Teddy Thomas  passes the ball to his captain Maxime Machenaud to score their third  try in the Champions Cup semi-final at the Stade  Chaban-Delmasin Bordeaux. Photograph: Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images

Munster flourish comes too late as French side set up final date with Leinster

 Conor Murray practices his goal-kicking in Bordeaux. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘It’s really hot out there . . . that will definitely be a challenge’

 Conor Murray: winning a European Cup with Munster would be a real highlight in an already memorable career. Photograph: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile via Getty Images

World-class Ireland and Lions scrumhalf is simply pivotal to what Munster are about

Tadhg Furlong and Cian Healy during Leinster’s captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium yesterday. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ireland blueprint could suit Cullen’s men as they seek to overcome potent Scarlets

Billy Holland: will be making his 14th European start in a row when he lines up against Racing 92 in Bordeaux. Photograh: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

For so long in the shadows, Holland now a regular starter for Van Graan’s side

Leinster’s Luke McGrath is expected to miss the Champions Cup semi-final against Scarlets due to a knee injury. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Keith Earls in line to make unexpected return for Munster’s clash with Racing

Munster’s Andrew Conway celebrates after the quarter-final victory over Toulon at Thomond Park.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Munster eager to reward travelling fans by booking a place in Champions Cup final

Munster Head Coach Johann van Graan said his team can take a lot from their tour of South Africa. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Johann van Graan says that a lot of good came from the two weeks down south

Munster’s Keith Earls is back in training ahead of their Champions Cup semi-final clash with Racing. Photo: an Sheridan/Inpho

Jack O’Donoghue and Dan Goggin being assessed for respective ankle and knee knocks

Munster hosted Saracens in Dublin and Clermont were at home to Leinster in Lyon in last year’s Champion Cup semi-finals, when more than 91,000 attended the two games. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

They turn up in big numbers, as this weekend’s Champions Cup semi-finals will show

 Rugby players Paddy Jackson (left) and Stuart Olding have had their contracts revoked by Ulster Rugby and the IRFU. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Rugby contracts revoked: Apologies are all very well, but crude WhatsApp messages will follow players wherever they go

Wayne Pivac: “We have got a pretty good environment here now and a pretty good culture. The players enjoy coming to work and enjoy each other’s company.”  Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Pivac has added defensive solidity and nous to a side with an impressive running game

Protesters demonstrate outside the home of Ulster Rugby at Kingspan stadium in Belfast on Friday. The demonstration, entitled Stamp out Misogyny at Ulster Rugby, was organised at the first Ulster home game since the acquittal of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding following a rape trial. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Gilroy suspended until April 26th after internal review into players’ conduct

Ulster’s Darren Cave is tackled by Dan Evans of Ospreys during their Pro14 clash at Kingspan Stadium. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

It was an emotionally charged night in Belfast with protests outside the ground

Ulster’s Darren Cave has signed a contract extension keeping him with the province until the summer of 2019. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Jono Gibbes rings changes up front for potentially crucial clash with Pro14’s form side

Cardiff Blues’ Alex Cuthbert in action against the Toyota Cheetahs at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein. The Welsh side endured a nightmare 55-hour journey to South Africa. Photograph: Frikkie Kapp/Inpho/BackPagePix

Travel problems and the issue of using neutral officials will need to be looked at

  Munster’s Dan Goggin scores a try at Outeniqua Park despite the efforts of Michael Makase of the Southern Kings. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster in pole position as Leo Cullen's team bid to ensure a home semi-final

Max Deegan crosses  to score one of his two tries against Zebre. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Prodigious number eight happy to see peers make Ireland breakthrough ahead of him

Bryan Byrne scores Leinster’s seventh try in the Guinness Pro 14 game against Zebre at the RDS. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Leo Cullen’s side on course for home semi as production line continues to uncover gems

Leinster’s Vakh Abdaladze is tackled by  Roberto Tenga of Zebre during the Guinness Pro 14 game at the RDS. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Blue conveyor belt continues as Gavin Mullin becomes 53rd player used this season

The 2013 Heineken Cup final. TMO decisions have become an increasingly familiar feature of the modern game. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Analysis of video replays has ensured many more correct decisions than wrong ones

Leinster celebrate James Lowe’s try against Saracens. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Munster request an allocation of 8,000 tickets for trip to Bordeaux on April 22nd

Leinster players celebrate Dan Leavy’s try against Saracens in the European Champions Cup victory at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

But provinces’ respective semi-final records show nothing can be taken for granted

Dan Leavy touches town to score a crucial try against Saracens in the quarter-final at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Impressive flanker says it’s time for Leinster to ‘step up’ and conquer Europe once again

Munster’s Andrew Conway celebrates his try: he finished his first game since January, having only returned to full training last week Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Conor Murray and Andrew Conway score tries with Munster six points adrift of Toulon

Dan Leavy carries to score during Leinster’s win over Saracens. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Leinster and Munster have vanquished past champions but there’s plenty of work to do

Leinster’s Isa Nacewa celebrates after his team’s game on Sunday against Saracens, at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photograph: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

The 35-year-old praises Saracens following ‘tough’ Champions Cup encounter

Munster’s Andrew Conway celebrates the try that gave Munster the win at Thomond Park. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire.

Stunning late Andrew Conway try seals place in Champions Cup semi-finals for Munster

Simon Zebo: returns from injury for what will be his  farewell European game for Munster at Thomond Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Province’s collective effort may need to add to more than the individual parts to foil French giants

Munster’s Rhys Marshall scores a try despite the efforts of Luke Hamilton of Leicester Tigers. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘It doesn’t get much bigger than a home game against Toulon’ says New Zealand-born hooker

Peter O’Mahony: “All the ones you have lost in Europe they all hurt for a long, long time.” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Munster captain and his side braced for a focused Toulon’s visit to Thomond Park

Munster’s Ian Keatley talks to the media ahead of their Champions Cup clash with Toulon. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

‘It is kinda hard to explain until you have really experienced it,’ Munster man says

Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell, those uber competitive international rivals and two-time Lions team-mates, will both be making their 60th appearances in the competition. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Playing at home is a massive advantage as Leinster, Munster and Connacht go forth

Munster’s Rory Scannell is observing return to play protocols ahead of the European Champions Cup  quarter-final against Toulon. Photograph: Dan Sheridan

Simon Zebo, Andrew Conway and Rory Scannell all doubts for Thomond Park tie

Munster squad training in UL  on Monday. Phototgraph: ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

On paper the odds appear stacked against Munster - until Thomond Park factor kicks in

“He (Zebo) will return to the training field this week but it’s still touch and go whether he will play.”

Toulon will travel to Thomond Park on the back of 49-0 win over Clermont

Conor Murray leads the Ireland team in a lap of honour at Twickenham after the victory over England. Photograph: Getty Images

Gerry Thornley talks to those involved on and off the pitch and in the stands of a never to be forgotten weekend

Crowning glory:  Ireland  celebrate with the  Six Nations trophy and the Triple Crown  after the victory over England at Twickenham Stadium. Photograph:  Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Test series win in Southern Hemisphere a natural next target for Schmidt’s squad

Nine Irish players have been included in our team of the tournament. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

After a Six Nations that will go down in the annals of history, Gerry Thornley selects his XV

The Ireland team celebrate with the NatWest Six Nations trophy and the Triple Crown trophy after their match against England at Twickenham. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Grand Slam win puts the final stamp of greatness on this world-class Ireland squad

CJ Stander scores Ireland’s second try in the NatWest Six Nations Championship match against England at Twickenham. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Grand Slam victory a tribute to a resilient squad that was willing to work for each other

Ireland rugby team’s Jonathan Sexton and Rory Best with the Six Nations trophy and the Triple Crown. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/©INPHO

Snow and a cancelled homecoming party fail to dampen the spirits of the Irish squad

Johnny Sexton and Rory Best arrive home to Ireland with the  Six Nations trophy and the Triple Crown.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland have cemented their status as world number two team, but they’re not sated yet

 Ireland’s Jacob Stockdale makes history with Ireland’s third  try at Twickenham. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

History made as Joe Schmidt’s Green Machine secure Grand Slam at Twickenham

Ireland celebrate at the full-time whistle  after defeating England  at Twickenham Stadium on February 27, 2010. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Ahead of today’s showdown, we look at Ireland’s nine Six Nations games at the stadium

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt at the Ireland squad  Captain’s Run at Twickenham on Friday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

This could be one of the three best days in the history of Irish rugby – or simply the best

Rory Best: “We expect them to do what they have been doing and that is producing big performances, they’ve done it over the last couple of years and we expect nothing less.”

“It’s not just the playing group, it’s the coaches, the management, everyone strives for perfection”

Ultan Dillane and Tadhg Furlong during a maul at Ireland’s training session at Carton House. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Henderson the only change to starting Ireland XV as Jones opts for radical surgery

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