Robbie Henshaw tackles  South Africa winger Makazole Mapimpi during the second Test in Cape Town. Photograph:  Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

John O’Sullivan runs the rule over Warren Gatland’s side after defeat in Cape Town

Ireland’s Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan celebrate winning gold in the lightweight men’s double sculls at Tokyo 2020. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

TV View: George Hamilton finally gets to commentate on an Irish gold medal

Mona McSharry enters the Tokyo Acquatics Centre for the final of the women’s  100m breaststroke. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

From the pool to the pitch in Tokyo the emotions were real and raw

Maro Itoje battles for possession with Faf de Klerk during the first Test. Photograph:  EJ Langner/Gallo Images/Getty Images

John O’Sullivan hands out the marks to Warren Gatland’s men after their first Test win

Ellen Keane during  the announcement  of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Ireland swim team. Photograph:   David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Five-strong team of swimmers will include three first-time Paralympians

Team Ireland have named their first five athletes for the Tokto Paralympics. Photograph: Yonhap/EPA

Colin Judge, Britney Arendse, Pat O’Leary Kerrie Leonard and Phil Eaglesham named

Noel McNamara: ‘The main thing was that I wanted to get back coaching.’ Photograph: Inpho/James Crombie

‘Just getting back on the grass was the main motivation for me’, says former Clongowes man

Ireland captain Alex Kendellen scores a try during the  Under-20 Six Nations Championship match against France at Cardiff Arms Park. Photograph: Andy Watts/Inpho

Inspirational skipper Alex Kendellen gets over for his second try at the death

Connacht’s Cathal Forde has been Ireland’s outstanding back of the Under-20 Six Nations. Photograph: Robbie Stephenson/Inpho

Richie Murphy makes seven changes as both sides bid to secure second place in the table

Ireland players celebrate after the final whistle at the Aviva stadium. Photograph:  Donall Farmer/PA Wire

Captain James Ryan praises crowd for playing their part in big win over the USA

Ireland’s Rónan Kelleher scores one of his four tries during the game against the USA at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

John O’Sullivan hands out the marks on the final day of a long season for Ireland

Ireland’s Alex Kendellen scores a try during the  Under-20 Six Nations Championship match at   Cardiff Arms Park. Photograph: Ryan Hiscott/Inpho

Skipper Alex Kendellen’s two second-half tries cap brilliant performance

Daniel Okeke starts in the Ireland backrow against Italy on Wednesday. File photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Strong Italy team will present a challenge for Ireland after last week’s loss against England

Ireland’s James Ryan catches from a lineout during the win over Japan. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

‘I think that what we learned is Test match rugby is never perfect,’ says captain

Josh van der Flier was the official player of the match in Ireland’s win over Japan. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Getty/AFP

John O’Sullivan runs the rule over Farrell’s side after they hold off tourists in Dublin

 England’s Ewan Richards scores a try despite the efforts of Nathan Doak and Cathal Forde. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Poor discipline and head injuries take their toll for the Irish U-20s

England’s Dan Lancaster at the   Under-20 Six Nations Championship Round 2 game against Scotland at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday June 25th. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Winner in Cardiff will take huge stride towards title that is up to Ireland to defend

Ireland’s Alex Soroka celebrates after forcing a penalty against Scotland. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Player believes his injury-hit side have the technique to beat taller opponents

Peter O’Mahony: “It doesn’t matter who is away with the Lions or who is getting rested, the team picked next Saturday is the Irish national team and that deserves an incredible amount of respect in itself.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Vastly experienced Munster flanker aiming to help Ireland avenge World Cup defeat to Japan

Ireland scrumhalf Nathan Doak celebrates scoring a try during the  Under-20 Six Nations Championship match against Wales at   Cardiff Arms Park. Photograph:  Robbie Stephenson/Inpho

Bonus-point win over hosts Wales in Cardiff sets up mouth-watering tie with England

Nathan Doak will start at scrumhalf for Ireland in the Under-20 Six Nations game against hosts Wales at the Arms Park on Friday night. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Tim Corkery and Nathan Doak combine in new halfback partnership for Friday’s game

German players celebrate after they drew 2-2 with Hungary in Munich. Photo: Lukas Barth-Tuttas/EPA

In the RTÉ studio Damien Duff and Richie Sadlier see hope for Spain after 5-0 win

Tom Daly at Connacht Rugby squad training in the  Sportsground, Galway on June 1st. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Connacht’s player of the year hoping Andy Farrell will name him in Japan and USA games

The facade of the Allianz Arena stadium is illuminated in the rainbow colors of the LGBTQ+ movement. Photo: Tobias Hase/EPA

In the ITV studio Roy Keane was not too impressed with Gilmour, Chilwell and Mount

Austria’s Christoph Baumgartner is helped off the pitch after a clash of heads during their Euro 2020 match against Ukraine. Photo: Mihai Barbu/Pool Photo via AP

Incident involving Christoph Baumgartner comes shortly after Pavard controversy

Ireland’s Alex Soroka celebrates after forcing a penalty against Scotland at Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, Wales. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Richie Murphy’s team hit Scotland for six as they begin defence of Six Nations title

Ireland’s Greg O’Shea, Hugo Lennox, Jack Kelly and Jordan Conroy celebrate qualifying for Tokyo 2020 at the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco on Sunday. Photograph: Manuel Blondeau/Inpho

Irish side defeat France 28-19 in final of World Rugby Olympic Repechage in Monaco

Ireland’s Shane Jennings scores his side’s third try of the game during the Under 20’s Six Nations match at the Cardiff Arms Park. Photograph: Bradley Collyer/PA

Richie Murphy’s team scored 24 unanswered points after the sending off of Harri Morris

James Humphreys of Ireland at the IRFU High Performance Centre, Sport Ireland Campus, Blanchardstown, Dublin. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/©Inpho

Ireland’s injury woes and lack of game time could pose a challenge in the tournament

Ireland will open their Under-20 Six Nations campaign against Scotland at cardiff Arms Park on Saturday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

John O’Sullivan looks at the XV that will start the tournament in Cardiff on Saturday

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two late goals as Portugal beat Hungary 3-0. Photograph: Hugo Delgado/EPA

Goals against Hungary see him move clear of Platini; who’s the fastest at Euro 2020

France’s forward Kylian Mbappe tries to outpace Germany’s Mats Hummels. Photograph: Franck Fife/Getty/AFP

No return to remember for Mats Hummels as Kylian Mbappé’s genius flickers in Munich

 Rory McIlroy crosses the bridge on the 14th hole during  the first round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club  in Dublin, Ohio. Photograph: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Northern Ireland golfer will start second round straight away after delay

Shane Lowry plays a shot on the 15th hole during the first round of The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Collin Morikawa the first round leader in Ohio on a day plagued by weather delays

Seán Scanlon of Rotherham Titans is tackled by Ryan Jones of Bristol during the Greene King IPA Championship Playoff Semi-Final in 2015. Photo: Tony Marshall/Getty Images

32-year-old retired this year after spending most of career in English Championship

 Shane O’Leary  of Canada is tackled by the USA’s Nate Augspurger during a  Rugby World Cup qualifier in Hamilton, Canada in 2017. “I am still keen to play for a few more years and get to a World Cup with Canada with a more prominent role.” Photograph: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Cork-born Canadian international’s latest stop is Rouen Normandie in French ProD2

 Jon Rahm of Spain celebrates with Jack Nicklaus and the trophy after winning  The Memorial Tournament  at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio in July 2020. Photograph:  Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Jon Rahm defends the title that saw him dislodge McIlroy from world number one slot

Michael Visacki reacts on the 16th green during the second round of the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort  in Palm Harbor, Florida. Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Free shots at Memorial; By the numbers; Word of Mouth; On this Day; In the Bag

Pep Guardiola saw his Manchester City side beaten 1-0 in the Champions League final by Chelsea. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

Decision to play without holding midfielder left pundits perplexed

Dermot McElroy finished in a tie for fourth place in the Irish Challenge, worth €11,000. File photograph: Philip Magowan/Inpho

The Ballymena golfer led by a shot on eight under par going into final round

Munster’s Mike Haley was the standout Irish player in the fullback position. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Stats point towards some players more than others but there are more factors than that

Jordan Conroy (R) and Aaron Sexton both impressed for the Ireland Sevens side. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The new captain’s challenge rule has some teething problems in the Rainbow Cup

Connacht players celebrate at the final after beating Munster at Thomond Park. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Commitment to hassle Johann van Graan’s side earns province remarkable victory

Munster’s Craig Casey starts against Connacht. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Rainbow Cup fixtures can provide players with a chance to impress Andy Farrell

Ulster’s Ethan McIlroy has been one of the younger players to grasp his opportunity this season. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

The long-term absence of AIL means chances are at a premium for provincial prospects

Munster’s Mike Haley scores a try during the Guinness Pro 14 Rainbow Cup match against Ulster at  Thomond Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Head coach highlights his side’s defence in wins over Leinster and Ulster

Tadhg Furlong celebrates Ireland’s win over South Africa in the 2012 Junior World Championship. Photograph:  Shaun Roy/Inpho

Four members of squad - including Furlong - have been selected for South Africa tour

Munster’s Andrew Conway scores a try against Ulster in their Rainbow Cup clash. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

A red card for Will Addison removed any lingering doubt about the likely outcome

Jack Conan in action against  Pierre Bourgarit of La Rochelle during the Heineken Champions Cup semi-final. The Lions squad member will start for Leinster at the Sportsground. Photograph: Dave Winter/Inpho

Home side hoping to build upon last-gasp victory over Connacht

Bundee Aki - British and Irish Lions squad pictures for 2021 tour to South Africa. Photograph: Inpho

John O’Sullivan on the Irish players picked by Warren Gatland and what they offer

Patrick ‘Rala’ O’Reilly:   will undertake a fourth tour with the  Lions this summer to South Africa at the tender age of 73.  He has served Terenure, Leinster, Ireland and the Lions  with distinction. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Irish pair important members of the Lions backroom team for the forthcoming tour

Dan Goggin starts for Munster on Friday night against Ulster. File photograph: Inpho

Dan Goggin comes in for Munster with Will Addison among nine changes for Ulster

Ireland prop Tom Court was visiting his parents in Brisbane in 2013 when he was called up as a replacement for the Lions Tour in Australia. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

John O'Sullivan: Recent history shows that squad will number in the 40s by the end

There were further examples this weekend of  French television coverage of matches in European tournaments not showing any ‘worthwhile’ replays of any contentious moments that do not favour the French club. File photograph: Inpho

Pita Ahki shows Connacht what could have been with superb performance for Toulouse

Leinster’s Luke McGrath is tackled by Will Skelton of La Rochelle in their Heineken Champions Cup semi-final match at Stade Marcel-Deflandre on Sunday. Photograph: Dave Winter/Inpho

Leinster were dominated physically by French side, and undermined by mistakes

It is nearly decision time for Warren Gatland. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty

It’s nearly decision time for the Lions coach - who should make the South Africa tour?

Ellis Genge celebrates scoring a crucial try against Ulster. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Province left to rue mistakes as they lose it from behind in Welford Road semi-final

La Rochelle’s Raymond Rhule runs in a try during the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Sale Sharks at the   Stade Marcel Deflandre. Photograph:  Dave Winter/Inpho

A suspect defence saw the winger’s South Africa career stall after seven caps in 2017

Ulster captain Iain Henderson leads his side to Welford Road to take on the Leicester Tigers in Friday night’s Challenge Cup semi-final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ulster looking to complete a hat-trick of wins on the road in England to make Challenge Cup final

Marty Moore will start for Ulster against Leicester Tigers in the Challenge Cup. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

O’Sullivan and Moore return to the team as province look to reach Challenge Cup final

 Grégory Alldritt was playing French third divsion rugby in 2017 before signing for La Rochelle in 2018. Photograph: Manuel Blondeau/Inpho

Backrow duo have played a massive part in getting their sides to the semi-final

Ireland will host Six Nations champions Wales in their opening game of the 2022 Six Nations. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Andy Farrell’s side away to both France and England in traditionally tougher schedule

Connacht’s John Porch and Conor Fitzgerald rush to congratulate Peter Sullivan after he scored a late try to win their Rainbow Cup match against Ulster. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Peter Sullivan’s late acrobatic finish gave the visitors the victory at Ravenhill

Will Addison: the 28-year-old Irish international making his last appearance for Ulster in a Heineken Champions Cup pool match against Bath in  January  2020 in Belfast. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Versatile talent has been out of action for 15 months due to back and calf injuries

Will Addison has been named in Ulster’s squad for Friday night’s Rainbow Cup match against Connacht. File photograph: Inpho

He’s named on the bench for Ulster’s Rainbow Cup match against Connacht

Ulster’s Robert Baloucoune is a rare ‘commodity’ in Irish rugby a bona fide wing with the skill sets to match his top end pace. File photograph: Inpho

Prospect of summer tour to Fiji is looking more promising than perhaps a month ago

James Ryan is moving closer to a return to action after being out with a head injury. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

James Ryan and Caelan Doris moving closer to a return after suffering head injuries

In the upcoming  Rainbow Cup, a player that has been red carded can be replaced after a period of 20 minutes. Photograph:  Ryan Hiscott/Inpho

Captain’s challenge and goal-line dropout will also be brought in from southern hemisphere

Scott Fardy of Leinster tackles Munster’s Gavin Coombes during the  Guinness Pro 14 game at  Thomond Park in January. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Australian forward to end four-year stint at the province

Leinster’s Josh van der Flier scores a try against Lyon during a Heineken Champions Cup game at the RDS  in January 2020. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The Leinster and Ireland openside has always been a quick learner in his career

Tullamore’s Barry Bracken in action  during the Energia All-Ireland League Division 2C match against Bangor at  Spollanstown in February 2020. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Provincial competition on the cards for August before return of All-Ireland leagues

Exeter Chiefs’ Sam Simmonds attempts to evade the tackle from Lyon’s Pierre Louis Barassi during the Heineken Champions Cup match at Sandy Park. Photograph: Simon Galloway/PA Wire

Sam Simmonds may have dropped off England radar but still operates at a very high level

Ulster’s Alan O’Connor is tackled by Jack Kenningham of Harlequins during the European  Challenge Cup round of 16 game at  Twickenham Stoop. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Northampton Saints will be a different proposition to Harlequins in Challenge Cup

 Rob Herring scores Ulster’s fifth try against Harlequins at The Stoop. Photograph: Getty Images

Irish province mark first match in second tier tournament with resounding victory

Jacob Stockdale starts on the wing for Ulster against Harlequins. Photograph: Ryan Hiscott/Inpho

Dan McFarland’s side should have the firepower needed to progress in Challenge Cup

Eben Etzebeth will face Leinster with Toulon on Friday. Photo: Harry Trump/Getty Images

The 29-year-old Springbok with a colourful career comes up against Leinster on Friday

Rugby Stats: Absence of spectators may be a factor in better results for sides playing away

Toulouse’s Sofiane Guitoune is tackled by Montpellier’s  Yacouba Camara  during the the French Top 14 game at the Ernest Wallon Stadium in Toulouse. Photograph:  Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

French international suffered suspected cruciate ligament tear in loss to Montpellier

Gael Fickou has been moved to the wing for the visit of Scotland on Friday night. Photograph: Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA

France have their eyes on the title but Scots will be dangerous foes at Stade de France

 Ireland’s Claire Molloy says North America would provide ‘a point of difference in terms of uniqueness’ for a Lions tour. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland’s Claire Molloy believes touring North America would make most sense

JJ Hanrahan is to join Top14 side Clermont, according to reports in France. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

28-year-old outhalf could be set to swap province for French giants in two-year deal

Move comes after Eir Sport decide not to renew contract for league competition

Munster’s Gavin Coombes scores a try during the Guinness Pro 14 game against Edinburgh at  Murrayfield. Photograph: Craig Watson/Inpho

Coaches face tough decisions with Ireland players returning and heavy schedule

Kieran Campbell has stepped down from his role as Ulster Academy manager and Ireland under-20 coach. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Former Ulster scrumhalf reported to be joining Ealing Trailfinders in the English Championship

Players were happy to switch around with Conor Murray not the only one to take ball from the base of the scrum. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Andy Farrell and his coaching team can take solace from their tactics coming to fruition

Against England, Robbie Henshaw carried with purpose, brought his wings into the game and was imperious in his defensive reads. Photograph: Inpho

He’s a more valuable asset than someone fated to truck up ball into a heavy body count

England’s Luke Cowan-Dickie is tackled by Conor Murray and Josh Van der Flier of Ireland during the Six Nations clash. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster man was one of the players to get his opportunity and take it with both hands

Johnny Sexton and George Ford will both play a key role for their teams on Saturday. File photograph: Getty Images

John O’Sullivan looks at three of the key battles that’ll decide this Six Nations clash

Josh Thomas celebrates scoring his  late try with Ospreys team-mates to secure victory over Leinster in the Pro 14 game at the RDS. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Devin Toner sets appearance record but ends up on the losing side after three late tries

Bundee Aki scores Ireland’s second try against England in their World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham on August 24th, 2019. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Six Nations: Connacht star keen to play part in preventing fifth defeat in row to England

Devin Toner will join Gordon D’Arcy as Leinster’s most-capped player on Friday. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Munster and Ulster have both named youthful lineups for Friday’s Pro14 matches

Andy Farrell will need to select a new centre partnership following the injury to Garry Ringrose. File photograph: Inpho

More ball-in-hand width at higher tempo needed or identity of centres won’t matter

Peter O’Mahony pictured at Munster rugby squad training,  at UL. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Keith Earls says glitch in communication is costing Ireland ahead of England clash

 The Leinster coaching team of (from left) Felipe Contepomi, Stuart Lancaster, Robin McBryde and   Leo Cullen   have all agreed new deals with the province. Photograph:  Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Head coach turned down two-year deal due to ‘personal circumstances’

Round of 16 Champions Cup fixtures also announced on Tuesday

Ireland’s Tadhg Beirne in action during Sunday’s win over Scotland. Photograph: Inpho

‘There were some great elements of the game but others elements where we will look at’

Robbie Henshaw carries during Ireland’s narrow win over Scotland. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty

John O’Sullivan hands out the marks after a hard-fought Six Nations win at Murrayfield

England’s Maro Itoje scores a try to beat France at Twickenham. Photograph: PA

Eddie Jones confident his side can improve again against Ireland next weekend

Devin Toner remains an important part of the Leinster squad. File photograph: Inpho

The 6ft 11in secondrow grew up wanting to fit in but soon learned to be as big as he is

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