Ireland  fans at the Rugby World Cup game against Australia at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand  in 2011. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Thousands of Ireland fans are expected to travel to the Land of the Rising Sun

Can Roger Federer win a ninth Wimbledon title? Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/ Getty Images

Getting to London is straightforward but be prepared to join a few queues

 Cyclists taking part in the  Ring of Kerry cycle.  Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Charity cycles an ideal way to help stay fit over the summer months

Ireland’s Ryan Baird celebrates his try with Charlie Ryan and Josh Wycherley in their defeat to New Zealand in the World Rugby U20 Championship. Photograph: Pablo Gasparini/Inpho

Slow start against New Zealand let Ireland down, but plenty of positives from campaign

Ireland’s Ryan Baird celebrates his try with Josh Wycherley during the  World Rugby U20 Championship seventh-place playoff against New Zealand  in  Rosario. Photograph:  Pablo Gasparini/Inpho

Noel McNamara’s side mount comeback from 26-0 down before running out of steam

Ireland’s Brian Deeny in action in the U20 Championship. He   replaces number eight Azur Allison for their final game. Photograph: Pablo Gasparini/Inpho

McNamara makes seven changes for final assignment at U-20 World Championship

Ireland’s David Ryan is tackled during the World Junior Championship match against England. Photo: Pablo Gasparini/Inpho

Noel McNamara’s side will now face New Zealand to determine seeding for next time

Head coach Noel McNamara addresses the Ireland squad after the victory over Italy in Santa Fe, Argentina. Photograph: Pablo Gasparini/Inpho

Both teams much-changed from the sides that started the original pool clash

Ireland head coach Noel McNamara addresses the squad  after the victory over Italy in Santa Fe. Photograph: Pablo Gasparini/Inpho

Congested fixture schedule in Argentina meaning injuries are mounting up

Ireland’s Rob Russell scores a try against Italy. Photograph: Pablo Gasparini/Inpho

Noel McNamara’s side face England in fifth to eighth place semi-final next Monday

Ronan O’Gara is to join La Rochelle as head coach. Photograph: Andrew Cornaga/Inpho

42-year-old leaves coaching role with Canterbury Crusaders to join Top14 outfit

Ireland’s Ryan Baird who received a red card for a high tackle against Australia, has avoided a suspension. Photograph: Pablo Gasparini/Inpho

Team need bonus-point victory to have chance of making last four at World Championship

Ryan Baird has escaped suspension following his red card against Australia. Photograph: Pablo Gasparini/Inpho

Stewart Moore and John Hodnett head home but Ryan Baird has escaped suspension

Ireland U-20 players celebrate the victory over England  in Santa Fe, Argentina. Photograph:  Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images

Coach McNamara makes two enforced changes for the clash with Australia

Irish rugby captain, Rory Best, takes the Emerald Warriors through their final training session ahead of Europe’s biggest LGBT+ inclusive rugby tournament which takes place in Dublin this weekend. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Biennial LGBT+ tournament takes place this weekend at Dublin City University

 Jake Flannery of Ireland celebrates with his teammates after their win over England Under-20s. Photograph: Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images

Grand Slam champions win their opening game of the Junior World Championship

Ireland U-20 players celebrate Cormac Foley’s try against England during the Six Nations victory  in Cork. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Despite some injury woes, McNamara’s Six Nations winners remain in confident mood

Ted Hill:   made his full England debut against Japan in the November internationals.  Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Holders France once again strong contenders to win their group and reach semi-final

Ireland’s Craig Casey in action against France’s Arthur Vincent. “We will back ourselves against any team we come up against.” Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Under-20 scrumhalf has been immersed in Munster rugby from his earliest years

Ireland’s Dylan Tierney-Martin and Colm Reilly celebrate the Grand Slam-clinching victory over  Wales in Colwyn Bay, Wales. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Six Nations champions’ hooker looking forward to World Junior Rugby Championships

Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald has stepped down after 20 years. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Longest serving chief executive in Irish rugby has held position at the province since 1999

Martin Moloney will miss the Under-20 World Championships in Argentina due to a knee injury. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Flanker Martin Moloney and secondrow Brian Deeny join long list of absentees

Stuart Hogg: “There are strengths and weaknesses in Leinster’s attack and defence and the same with us.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Departing Glasgow Warrior wants to make sure his team takes home Pro14 trophy

Scott Fardy (right) with Leinster clubmate Cian Healy and Munster’s Conor Murray  (left) at the RDS last weekend. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Leinster’s Australian eager to swap watching hurling for playing rugby in soccer cathedral

Leinster’s Johnny Sexton celebrating after the Pro14 semi-final against Munster at the RDS. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Devin Toner to miss Leinster’s Pro 14 final against Glasgow due to a knee injury

Leinster’s Tadhg Furlong, Sean Cronin and Cian Healy argue as Munster win a scrum penalty in their Guinness Pro14 semi-final at the RDS, Dublin, last Saturday.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Cian Healy, Tadgh Furlong and Sean Cronin combined for opening try against Munster

Leinster backs coach Felipe Contepomi during Monday’s press conference at UCD. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

‘We don’t drop him, we all agree and are in the same boat and Johnny is one of them’

Munster outhalf Bill Johnston is joining Ulster. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

He was on the Ireland team that reached the 2016 U20 World Championship final

 Devin Toner limped off in the Pro14 semi-final on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The Leinster and Ireland secondrow will have a further medical assessment this week

Leinster’s Josh van der Flier in action against Munster in the Pro14 semi-final at the RDS. Photograph:  Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Leinster flanker ‘incredible’ in semi-final win despite it being his first game since surgery

Leinster’s Josh van der Flier and Robbie Henshaw tackle Tadhg Beirne of Munster during the Guinness Pro 14 semi-final at the  RDS. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

‘In terms of a role model for other players to look to and how you manage yourself, he does an amazing job’

Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey with Dave Heffernan of Connacht in their Guinness Pro14 quarter-final match at  Kingspan Stadium, Belfast on May 4th. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Ulster centre has been outstanding, but he needs to convince Joe Schmidt

Ireland’s Scott Penny is among four Grand Slam winners to miss the World Championships. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Harry Byrne, Scott Penny, David Hawkshaw and Conor Phillips out of U-20 World Championships

 Leinster’s Jamison Gibson-Park and Josh van der Flier are available to face Munster at the RDS. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Duo recovered from injury and available to face Munster at the RDS

Leinster’s Jordan Larmour tries to escape the clutches of Billy Vunipola of Saracens during Saturday’s Champions Cup final at St James’ Park. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leinster winger absorbs lessons of loss to Saracens ahead of Munster meeting

Josh van der Flier is expected to be fit for Leinster’s Pro14 clash with Munster. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Jamison-Gibson Park also expected to be ready for Saturday’s Pro14 clash at the RDS

Saracens’ Sean Maitland brings the Heineken Champions Cup into the dressing room after the game. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Leinster can have no complaints after their decision making lets them down

Jonathan Sexton at a Leinster training session in UCD during the week. Photograph: Inpho

In some respects the two competitors are mirror images in terms of qualities

Owen Farrell at St James’ Park ahead of Saturday’s Champions Cup final. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

John O’Sullivan looks at the English Premiership side ahead of Newcastle finale

Joe Rokocoko reckons Leinster will have enogh to see off Saracens in the Champions Cup final. Photo: Dave Winter/Icon Sport

Greening of Saracens part III, Morrow has Saracens in train, numbers game, team talk

Alex Goode has carried the ball more than any other  Saracens player in this year’s  European Champions Cup. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

James Ryan and Maro Itoje lead the way for either side when it comes to the numbers game

Paddy Johns in action for  Saracens  during a  match against  Leicester at Enfield in August 1996. Photograph:  Dave Rogers/Allsport

Sexton’s Wembley wonder show; last of the tickets; Sarries chase record; team talk

Wayne Barnes is one of 12 referees selected to officiate at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. Photo: Getty Images

Wayne Barnes and Nigel Owens are selected for their fourth consecutive tournament

Saracens’ Darragh O’Mahony in action in the English Premiership in  2004. He played 142 times for the club. Photograph:  Warren Little/Getty Images

Munster native Darragh O’Mahony’s proud record with Saracens

Cork Constitution players celebrate after their victory over Clontarf in the final of the All-Ireland League Division 1A at the Aviva stadium. Photograph:   Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Clontarf left to rue a number of missed opportunities in Aviva stadium decider

Enniscorthy RFC celebrate after beating Wicklow to win the Bank of Ireland Provincial Towns Cup. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

The Wexford club will enter senior rugby ranks next year for the first time since 1927

Cork Con outhalf Aidan Moynihan has contributed 144 points this season. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

14 of Trinity’s matchday 23 will take exams on Saturday before heading south

Clontarf’s Michael Courtney is set to line out on the wing for their AIL semi-final clash with Lansdowne. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Home side will have to decide whether to play the match on grass or artificial pitch

Niall Scannell during Munster training. The province can still secure a home semi-final with a bonus point win over Connacht. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Final conference games take place this weekend with playoff spots still up for grabs

Joey Carbery lifts the Ulster Bank League trophy in 2016. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

There’ll be plenty to admire in Dublin and Cork this weekend in end of season playoffs

Leinster’s Seán Cronin leaves the field injured, during his team’s Champions Cup semi-final victory. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Leinster hooker will undergo further assessment to establish the extent of damage

 Shane Lowry and his caddie are caught in a small sand vortex on the fairway of the fifth hole during the final round of the RBC Heritage tournament at Harbour Town Golf Links. Photograph:  Joshua S Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

His double bogey on the 12th proves to be particularly punishing

Munster’s Niall Scannell takes on Edinburgh’s WP Nel during the Heineken Champions Cup quarter final at Murrayfield. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Hooker says province must trust in work they have done to get over the line against Saracens

Billy Vunipola of Saracens breaks with the ball during the Champions Cup semi -final win over Munster  at the Aviva Stadium in  2017 in Dublin. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Province have lost six of seven in which they failed to score first try and were trailing at half-time

Ulster tighthead prop Marty Moore has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Photograph: Craig Watson/Inpho

Jacob Stockdale sustained a hamstring injury in the same game against Edinburgh

Tyler Bleyendaal: “He is a great man, a very good rugby player, he understands the game of rugby and  we are very lucky to have him,” said Munster coach van Graan. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Munster coach and fellow players united in appreciation of the outhalf’s leadership skills

Peter O’Mahony during a Munster squad session at University of Limerick ahead of Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Saracens. Photograph: Inpho

Munster captain believes Johann van Graan has enhanced province’s attacking threat

Joey Carbery during a Munster training session at UL. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Keith Earls and Jean Kleyn are expected to return to training

Munster head coach Johann van Graan and CJ Stander celebrate  their 7-13 Champions Cup victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield.  Photograph:  ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Munster head coach delighted with his team’s victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield

 Munster’s Keith Earls celebrates scoring their first try with teammates in the province’s narrow Champions Cup quarter-final win over Edinburgh in  Murrayfield Stadium, Scotland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Johann van Graan’s side come from behind against Edinburgh to claim hard-fought win

Munster head coach Johann van Graan celebrates the victory  over Edinburgh  at Murrayfield with his son Wyatt. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Head coach thanks Munster support after his side book a third straight semi-final spot

Munster’s Keith Earls celebrates after scoring his try in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final at  Murrayfield. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Brilliant defensive performance backs up opportunist strikes from Ireland winger

Tadhg Beirne: his ability to force turnovers of considerable value  for  Munster. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Other figures add up to a difficult assignment for the visitors at Murrayfield

The Irish players sing the national anthem ahead of the fifth and final Six Nations match against Wales in Colwyn Bay. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Ireland’s Under-20s secured just a second Six Nations Grand Slam in history. This is their story

Club disappointed with appeal ruling but accept they breached ‘material benefit’ rule

Welsh referee Ben Whitehouse took charge of Leinster’s clash with Edinburgh. Photograph: Inpho

It’s important to recognise the role of clubs in Ireland’s Under-20 Grand Slam triumph

Ulster’s Marcell Coetzee in action in their win over Leicester Tigers in the Champions Cup in January. The player returns for Ulster for the first time tonight. Photograph:  Gary Carr/Inpho

Five changes see Dave Shanahan come in at scrumhalf and the return of Marcell Coetzee

 Ronan O’Gara during a training session with the Crusaders in Christchurch, New Zealand. Photograph: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

Media reports in France also claim Paul O’Connell is set to leave Stade Francais

Ireland’s Ultan Dillane takes on France’s  Mathieu Bastareaud during the recent clash at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Coach Friend includes three internationals in squad for important Pro14 test

Dan Leavy: makes his return to Leinster’s starting line-up for his first game since December 22nd. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Flalnker’s fitness a boost for Cullen in advance of Champions Cup quarter-final

Joe Schmidt: Ireland’s head coach has plenty of time still to fine-tune his squad for the next World Cup. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Rugby stats: Squad changes and work done between now and September will be key

St Michael’s Mark Hernan lifts the trophy after they beat Gonzaga to claim the Senior Cup title. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Experienced campaigners too good on the day for opponents appearing in first ever final

Ireland’s Angus Kernohan makes a break during the under-20s Six Nations win over Wales. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Ulster player came off the bench in Colwyn Bay to help Ireland to victory over Wales

Gonzaga College’s Henry Godson, who scored three tries, celebrates the victory over Clongowes Wood College  in the semi-final at  Energia Park, Donnybrook, Dublin. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

St Michael’s remain favourites having overcome both Blackrock and Belvedere

Ireland fan Jennifer Malone celebrates with the players after the victory over Wales secured the  Grand Slam in the Under-20 Six Nations in Colwyn Bay. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Coach praises young Ireland players’ resilience after things went against them

Ireland players celebrate after beating Wales in Colwyn Bay to secure the Grand Slam. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Noel McNamara’s side secure come from behind victory in Colwyn Bay

Ireland Under-20  coach Noel McNamara:. “The boys are aware of the opportunity that’s there. That’s come about by backing themselves. and doing all the right things in the previous rounds.”  Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Hosts Wales have made seven changes and a number of positional switches to the side that lost to Scotland

The Ireland U-20s have already beaten England, Scotland, Italy and France. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

John O’Sullivan profiles the Irish U-20s side who will win the Grand Slam if they beat Wales on Friday night

Rory Best: played in all 51 of Ireland’s matches in the Six Nations from February 4th, 2007 until the second game of the 2017 tournament.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Rugby Statistics: Hooker has been a remarkably consistent figure in his 116 caps to date

Harry Byrne of Ireland kicks a conversion during the win over Italy. Photo: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

There is just one change to the team chasing a Grand Slam for only the second time ever

Liam Turner: “All the coaches are really helpful, so I have come on in leaps and bounds in terms of conditioning and rugby knowledge.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The Ireland Under-20s are determined to finish the year with a Grand Slam

Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton scores from a well-reheased strike play against France in Dublin. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Referee undermines his final warning to French by refusing to follow through on it

Ireland’s wing, Keith Earls,  runs in their fourth try during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and France at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Damien Meyer/AFP

Dominance upfront affords Ireland’s halfbacks opportunity to dictate game

Wales wing George North and Scotland’s Byron McGuigan chase the ball during the Six Nations match at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. Photograph: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

All-conquering Welsh side close in on Grand Slam ahead of weekend Ireland showdown

Felix Lambey was the standout player in a poor French performance. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Felix Lambey’s performance is a silver lining on a bleak day for French rugby in Dublin

Scott Penny celebrates Ireland’s win over France. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Dogged side show their character to wear down visitors and earn a shot at history

Charlie Ryan, the Ireland U-20 captain. “The first game [against England] the atmosphere was the best I have ever played in. It’s only going to get better for this France game.” Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Absence of injured captain Hawkshaw a huge loss for McNamara’s team

Ireland’s only try scorer in the last four matches against the French is scrumhalf Conor Murray (2017). Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images

Rugby statistics: Once a staple of Paris trips, touchdowns are now thin on the ground

Ireland skipper set to miss last two games of U20 Six Nations with knee injury

Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Co, Kildare 22/2/2019Sean CroninMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

CJ Stander, Garry Ringrose and Kieran Marmion return for French visit

Rob Kearney: “We probably were a little bit broken after the English game but I think that’s understandable and you’d expect that.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Veteran fullback admits confidence has been shaken as he calls for big response against France

Robbie Henshaw and Andrew Conway at Ireland’s training base in Carton House. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The Leinster back is recovering from training ground injury slower than expected

France’s Gael Fickou in action during the victory over Scotland. “I know that our fans are also very critical, it’s normal. Their disappointment, I understand it. I share it.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Critics claim France coach’s chopping and changing means he is unsure of his best backline

Ireland Under-20 captain David Hawkshaw taking part in an open training session  against the Ireland senior side at Queen’s University in Belfast. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Centre suffered a knee injury in training for Friday’s game in Cork

 World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont will convene a meeting of stakeholders in Dublin to discuss proposals for a new World Rugby League. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Proposals have drawn widespread criticism from players on grounds of player welfare

Sebastien Bezy in action for Toulouse during the Top 14. Photograph: Sandra Ruhaut/Icon Sport via Getty Images

French head coach Jacques Brunel calls up duo to training squad ahead of Dublin clash

Max Deegan steals a lineout ahead of Walt Steenkamp during Leinster’s win over the Cheetahs. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Pro14 champions rely on individual brilliance to see them through at sodden RDS

Jordi Murphy (above) and John Cooney have been released to play by Ireland coach Joe Schmidt for Ulster’s Pro14 match against Dragons. Photograph: Inpho

Pro14 preview: Sunday, Dragons v Ulster, Rodney Parade (3pm, live on Premier Sports 2)

Rory Scannell will become the youngest player to reach 100 appearances for province. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Pro14 preview: Scarlets v Munster, Parc y Scarlets (5.0, live on TG4, Premier Sports 2)

Tom Farrell and Stephen Fitzgerald with teammates at  Connacht’s squad training session at  Sportsground, Galway. Photograph: James Crisbie/Inpho

Pro14 preview: Connacht v Ospreys, Sportsground (2.45, live on TG4, Premier Sports 1)

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