Leinster in action against Montpellier in the Champions Cup last year. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Mick Dawson hoping side can benefit soon from proposed €30m upgrade to RDS

South Africa’s Jesse Kriel celebrates victory over New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday. Photograph:  Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images

Ireland will now have a more daunting task ahead to reach first-ever World Cup semi-final

Joe Schmidt’s Ireland are second favourites a year out from the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

With a settled team and squad, Schmidt’s men are justifiable second favourites one year out

Japanese fans  during the international  match between Japan and Australia  at Nissan Stadium  in Yokohama in November 2017. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Supporting Ireland in Japan won’t be cheap with packages going up to over €20k

Jack Conan after Leinster’s narrow defeat to the Scarlets. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ireland backrow says province lacked a killer instinct as they were beaten narrowly in Wales

 Dominic Ryan: his story  underlines that doctors and match officials are right to err on the side of caution in demanding players undergo  HIAs. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Former rugby player illustrated how terrifying concussion and brain trauma can be

Stuart Lancaster: “I go hard on them, because I think it’s about winning,”. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Leinster strengthened for Dragons’ clash by imminent return of international stars

Dominic Ryan: forced to end his rugby career due to the impact of concussion. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

‘Concussion is a hot topic at the moment within rugby circles,’ says Leinster backrow forward

Leinster prop Jack McGrath has picked up a knee injury. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Leinster hopeful prop will be fit for Munster derby and opening Champions Cup match

Tadhg Beirne: Munster’s new signing is in line to make his debut against Glasgow Warriors. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Glasgow proved tough opposition last season on their artificial Scotstoun surface

Jordi Murphy: will make his Ulster debut in the back row against Edinburgh at Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

New coach McFarland will be keen to see his side prevail in advance of games in South Africa

Fergus McFadden: “I’ve had lots of setbacks in lots of different ways. I’ve learned to deal with them and leave them at the door here or on the pitch when they happen.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Leinster back hoping to leave injury woes behind and focus on Pro14 tasks ahead

Devin Toner, James Ryan and their Leinster team-mates training this week ahead of their away game to Scarlets. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Veteran secondrower had an exceptional season last year, losing just one game in 30

Leinster backs coach Felipe Contepomi with Jordan Larmour during squad training in Donnybrook on Monday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Devin Toner and Jack Conan among those in line for a call to arms this weekend

 Munster’s Joey Carbery on his debut for the province against the Cheetahs last weekend: his move from Leinster  has provoked more angst, interest and excitement than most. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Youngster’s debut was a tasty vignette of what he might bring to van Graan’s province

Josh van der Flier is back in full Leinster training and available for selection against the Scarlets. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Ireland flanker has been out of action since injuring knee in Six Nations win in France

Connacht coach Andy Friend: More by coincidence than design, he has never managed to stay longer than three years in one job. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Know the game, coach the individual is the mantra of the province's new man in charge

 Connacht’s Tom Farrell makes a break against Wasps in a preseason friendly at Dubarry Park, Athlone, Co Westmeath, earlier this month. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inho

In-form centre was one of the province’s highest performers every week last season

The TG4 pitchside studio with Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill, Ronan Loughney and Eoghan O Neachtain. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

In total TG4 will have 28 live games, including the final, for free-to-air coverage

Jack Carty in action against Wasps during the pre-season friendly at Dubarry Park, Athlone.  Photograph: James crombie/James Crombie

Early home games against Glasgow, Scarlets and Leinster could set tone for the season

New Leinster captain Sene Naoupu in action for Ireland

Two provinces have dominated Women’s Interprovincial Championship since its inception in 2001, with Munster winning 13 titles to L(...)

New Leinster backs coach Felipe Contepomi speaks at a press conference. Photo: Laszlo Geczo /Inpho

New coach says he doesn’t feel pressure and sees biggest role as developing players

Leinster outhalf Ross Byrne has returned to full training this week. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Joe Tomane, Noel Reid and Ross Byrne all back training this week ahead of Cardiff trip

Mike Haley. Reports from pre-season suggest he can help fill the void left by Simon Zebo’s departure. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Rivals lining up to try and wrest crown from favourites and standard-bearers Leinster

Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony and Tadhg Beirne celebrate   after beating Australia in the third Test at Allianz Stadium, Sydney in June. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Former player not sure if Schmidt’s side will go into the World Cup unbeaten

Barry Daly:  recognised as the championship’s top try scorer for last season after scoring a dozen tries in just 11 starts and four appearances off the bench. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Cullen claims coach’s award while five of the province’s players chosen on ‘dream team’

 SRU chief operating officer Dominic McKay: he conceded  that filling a 60,000 capacity will represent “a challenge”. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dominic McKay says opportunity to host final at Glasgow's Celtic Park too good to turn down

 Ireland’s Bundee Aki  celebrating with  Johnny Sexton and Jordi Murphy after they won  the third test match against  Australia  in Sydney. Photograph:  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Ireland have proved they're worthy of ranking as second only to the All Blacks

 The Ireland team sing the national anthem during the third Test at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney. Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Gerry Thornley rates every Irish player following their historic series win in Australia

 Ireland players celebrating after  CJ Stander  scores a try against Australia.   Photograph: Craig Golding/Reuters

As energy levels dipped, it was remarkable how Ireland won the last 25 minutes 3-0

Jordan Larmour  celebrating Ireland’s victory in   the third  test match against  Australia. Photograph: Matt King/Getty Images

‘We knew how good it would be to come back from 1-0 down. That was kind of driving us’

The Ireland players, with head coach Joe Schmidt in the back row, and staff celebrate in the dressing room after Saturday’s win over Australia sealed a first series victory against the Wallabies since 1979. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joe Schmidt admits emulating success next season will be tough but doesn’t rule it out

Ireland’s  Tadhg Furlong evades the tackle of  Australia’s Izack Rodda during the third Test in Sydney. Photograph:   Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

‘Tough, tough to watch that, they just kept coming wave after wave’

Israel Folau takes out Peter O’Mahony in Sydney, earning himself a yellow card. Photograph: Stuart Walmsley/Photosport/Inpho

Schmidt’s history boys weather second half storm to take rip-roaring Sydney decider

Niall Scannell during the captain’s run at Allianz Stadium, Sydney ahead of the third Test. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Wallabies will be keen to reproduce emotional intensity and physicality of first Test

Ireland flanker Keith Gleeson in action against Australia in 2006. Gleeson believes the Wallabies are dangerous but Ireland will prevail in the final  Test.  Photograph:     Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ex-Leinster player reared in Sydney says rooting for Ireland over Wallabies a no-brainer

City commuters go about their business despite the heavy rain in Sydney earlier this week. Photograph: EPA

Former coach Jones delivered a withering critique of the state of the game Down Under

Sean Cronin has picked up a quad injury ahead of Saturday’s Test in Sydney. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Peter O’Mahony is confident of performing in the number seven shirt for his 50th test

The Ireland players speak in a huddle during training on Thursday. Photograph: Getty Images

Re-jigged Ireland side can cap remarkable season with series win Down Under

 Michael Cheika: “There’s a couple of things that we can amend and improve to get us in front.” Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

No-one hates losing more than the current Australia and former Leinster coach

Ireland have named Jack Conan at number eight and Peter O’Mahony at openside flanker. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Peter O’Mahony’s move to the number seven jersey makes room for Jack Conan at eight

Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell is believed to be the IRFU’s Plan B  if Ulster position is not filled by the start of the season. Photograph: Inpho

McFarland may not be arrive until midway through the campaign as he's still under contract

Gerbrandt Grobler: joined Munster last summer but his past history and presence in Irish rugby prompted an outcry in January. Photograph: Inpho

Former Munster player was banned for taking drostanolone while injured in 2014

IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora at a media briefing in Sydney ahead of Ireland’s final Test match against Australia. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

David Nucifora wary of parochialism but says players need to be repatriated for depth

Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby: “To win a Test series in the southern hemisphere is a difficult thing to do. We know, we found that out in South Africa”. Photograph:   Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Forwards coach expects ‘pretty special 80 minutes’ for Australia Test series decider

  Robbie Henshaw   is tackled by Lukhan Tui   and Kurtley Beale of the Wallabies during Ireland’s victory   at AAMI Park on   in Melbourne. Photograph:  Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Leinster back confident Ireland’s 39-year wait to win series in Australia is over

Australia lock Adam Coleman  nurses a swollen cheek after clashing with teammate Israel  Folau during the second Test defeat to Ireland  at AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia. Photograph: Getty Images

Australian assistant coach confident enforcer Adam Coleman will be fit to start

Dave Kilcoyne has joined the Ireland squad ahead of the final Test against Australia this Saturday. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Munster loose-head was travelling in Australia and now may play a part on Saturday

Tadhg Beirne celebrates with mother Brenda, father Gerry and sisters Jennifer, Alannah and Caoimhe after winning his first Ireland cap in the victory over Australia during the second Test at AAMI Park, Melbourne. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Kildare man thrilled to make his Ireland debut in thrilling Test victory over Australia

David Nucifora: “He [Schmidt] is his own man, and he could very well surprise us all at the last minute and say that he wants to stay on for another term.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

David Nucifora says Kiwi's successor when he does go will like come from current staff

  Stuart Olding (left) and Paddy Jackson: “For the immediate future, there’s no thought that they will be considered. They are playing overseas so at the moment if you’re playing overseas, you’re not considered.”

‘I don’t think anything is ever forever, who knows what could happen ’ says IRFU official

Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray wins a high ball during the second Test against Australia at AAMI Park, Melbourne. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland scrumhalf says Schmidt’s side driven by hungry to win a series against Australia

Andrew Conway scores Ireland’s first try during the second Testa at AAMI Park, Melbourne. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Noticeable increase in intensity and physicality proves too much for Australia

Tadhg Furlong scores Ireland’s second try as he stretches for the line during the second Test at the   AAMI Park, Melbourne. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘If we can pull this one off, it will be a little bit special for this group’ says Schmidt

 Will Genia suffered a broken arm in Melbourne. Photograph:  Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika claims Will Genia was the victim of ‘king hit’ in Melbourne

Ireland’s Keith Earls challenges for the ball with Australia’s Israel Folau and Marika Koroibete during the second Test at AAMI Park in Melbourne. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland coach holding fire ahead of showdown in Sydney next Saturday

Tadgh Furlong scores Ireland’s crucial second half try against the Wallabies. Photograph: Daniel Pockett/Getty

Tadhg Furlong’s second half try proves crucial as tourists set up pivotal Sydney decider

Action from the Melbourne Demons versus Collingwood Magpies AFL match which attracted over 83,000 to the Melbourne Cricket Ground/ Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Melbourne has claims to be one of the great sports capitals but the native game is No 1

Niall Scannell: “Getting into the team is the easy part, I haven’t done anything yet. This is the chance to actually go and grab it.”  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Munster man determined to grab his opportunity and stake a claim in World Cup year

Johnny Sexton practices his goal-kicking during the Captain’s Run. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Gerry Thornley: Joe Schmidt’s side won’t lack for motivation in Melbourne

Peter O’Mahony talks to his Irish teammates during Friday’s captain’s run at AAMI Park in Melbourne. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Irish captain on Ireland’s revenge, Dan Leavy’s return and David Pocock

Johnny Sexton: “He throws himself into the front line, and he is 93kg and he makes sure that if people are coming down his channel, they know he is there,” says Joe Schmidt. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Pivotal second test will either seal a series win for the Wallabies or set up a series decider

Cian Healy during training at Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Irish prop determined to put to rights last week’s difficult day in the scrum coalface

Australia coach Michael Cheika speaks to his players during a training session, ahead of their second Test match against Ireland. Photo: William West/Getty Images

Former Irish lock said David Pocock was a cancer on the game and Cheika has responded

Ireland’s Johnny Sexton goes through his stretching exercises during training in Melbourne ahead of their Test match against Australia. Photo: William West/Getty Images

Leinster kicker has retaken his place at number 10 for the second clash in Melbourne

David Pocock: “Both teams know they can get better. The run Ireland have had, they’re going to be a lot better this weekend and we know that, we are also going to have to step up.” Photograph:  Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Zimbabwe-born star’s sabbatical has not affected his ability to impress at highest level

 Tadhg Furlong: “Individually we have to turn up more than we did at the weekend.” Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Defeat to Australia last week proved a bitter pill – although it was his first loss in 24 games

Andy Farrell: “These boys are gung-ho to play a Test match and draw a series, make it level at the weekend. There’s no excuses there.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Defence coach says a number of areas have been targeted for significant improvement

Johnny Sexton: “We didn’t hit the standards that we want to and the coaches demand, and let’s do that this week and see where it gets us.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Outhalf calls for an improved display from Ireland to really test Australia’s mettle

Johnny Sexton is expected to return to the Irish XV this weekend. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

This was his first time on the bench since replacing Ronan O’Gara in 2011 World Cup

The Irish team have been feeling the pain of defeat this week. Photograph: Getty Images

‘They understand why, as individuals and collectively, certain things happened’

CJ Stander  breaks the line during the first Test against Australia  at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. However  a try failed to materialise as it was deemed he hadn’t successfully grounded the ball. Photograph: Dave Hunt/EPA

Munster stalwart convinced tourists will prove a different proposition next weekend

Joey Carbery in action against Australia at the  Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Experience gleaned against Wallabies in first test will prove beneficial to development of outhalf

Rob Kearney passes as he is tackled during the international Test match against between the Australian Wallabies  on Saturday. Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

‘There is lots of us to work on this week. We will bounce back, pick ourselves up’

Ireland’s CJ Stander looks dejected after the team’s defeat to Australia at the Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joe Schmidt says applying more pressure on ‘inspired’ Wallabies will be key in second Test

Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw is tackled by Will Genia and Marika Koroibete of Australia at the Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Wallabies’ ability to swiftly attack wide off turnovers helps secure victory in first Test

Australia flanker  David Pocock  tackles Ireland hooker Rob Herring  during the first Test at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Photograph: Dave Hunt/EPA

Australian flanker shows he still has tons to offer after 18-month international sabbatical

Schmidt and Michael Cheika both praise Joey Carbery’s performance

Australia players celebrate David Pocock’s try. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Irish record of 12 successive wins brought to a halt by an 11th successive defeat to Australia

Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek during training. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Former All Black resumes role as Ireland scrum coach – and press officer – ahead of World Cup

The Ireland Rugby Captain’s Run at Suncorp Stadium on Friday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Wallabies must compete for coverage while Irish diaspora bring steady, solid support

Joey Carbery practices his kicking during Ireland’s captain’s run ahead of the first test with Australia. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Visitors supremacy is a sign of how they have come but hosts will be determined to hit back

Peter O’Mahony and Tadhg Beirne during a training session at Royal Pines resort, Gold Coast, Queensland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘It’s a very proud moment for me and all my family and stuff, so it’s a huge moment’

Joey Carbery will start at outhalf for Ireland against Australia in  Queensland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joey Carbery faces biggest challenge of career and strength of bench could prove crucial

Australia coach Michael Cheika: ‘This squad has 11 members of the World Cup squad left, one third, which is about exactly where I thought we would be.’ Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Australian coach bullish about side’s future as they build towards next World Cup

Michael Cheika, Wallabies head coach, has named his team for Saturday’s match at Suncorp Stadium. Photograph: Jono Searle/Getty Images

The recently acquired Crusaders backrower Pete Samu could make his debut from bench

 Joey Carbery has been named at outhalf for Ireland’s opening Test in Australia. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Joe Schmidt names his Irish team for Saturday’s 11am (Irish time) kick-off in Brisbane

Bundee Aki at Tuesday’s Ireland Rugby press conference, Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Huge family support for centre on Australia tour – but getting tickets for them all will be tough

As his name would suggest, Bernard Foley has Irish roots: “My ancestry goes a long way back.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Cheika is said to encourage inclusivity and a tight-knit team, despite recent controversies

Tolu Latu looks set to start the first Test between Ireland and Australia on Saturday. Photograph: Matt King/Getty Images

Cheika says previously out of favour hooker has ‘been excellent since he’s been in camp’

A view of the Ireland team training. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland have quietly settled into their training base ahead of series with Australia

Conor Murray at the Ireland Rugby press conference in Queensland on Tuesday. Ireland play the first of three test matches against Australia on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Munster back reveals that players have already given Carbery a new nickname: Rog

James Ryan says the Irish squad have been enjoying their time in Australia so far. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘Some went to the water park, which was good craic. Another group went jet-skiing’

Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek during Monday’s press conference at Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland have a fully fit 32-man squad to pick from for first test against the Wallabies

Tommy Bowe: Scored  30 tries in just 69 caps, he is currently second only to Brian  O’Driscoll in Ireland’s list of all-time leading try scorers.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Heaslip, Bowe and Trimble among those to bow out after hugely successful careers

Peter O’Mahony out jet skiing during the Ireland squad's down day in Brisbane. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Experienced Australia scrumhalf says Schmidt’s side’s record demands respect

Australia’s Will Genia has confirmed he is fit for the opening Test against Ireland. Photograph: Michael Dodge/Getty

Australia scrum half believes discipline will be key for his side in opening Brisbane Test

Ross Byrne: has made great strides during the past season with Leinster where he enjoyed ample game time at outhalf. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leinster outhalf to vie with Carbery for role of understudy to Sexton on Australia tour

Joe Schmidt: ‘We want to make sure this tour is another building block for what comes in the future.’ Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Schmidt knows a series win for Ireland would be a major landmark on road to Japan

Joey Carbery (second right) with Jack McGrath and  Andrew Conway at an Ireland squad session at Carton House yesterday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Mick Dawson says Leinster are ‘extremely disappointed to be losing Joey’

More articles