England’s Maro Itoje competes in a lineout with Ireland’s James Ryan during the Autumn Nations Cup game at  Twickenham. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

What might simply look like a poor throw is more often than not a deeper system failure

Munster’s Gavin Coombes passes to Craig Casey during their team’s win over Glasgow. Photograph: Inpho

Visitors overcome conditions and a feisty Glasgow side to claim a bonus point

Ireland outhalf Ross Byrne  puts in a cross kick under pressure from England’s  Tom Curry  during the  Autumn Nations Cup match  at Twickenham. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

John O’Sullivan hands out the marks after Ireland's latest defeat at Twickenham

Ireland’s James Lowe scores a debut try against Wales. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Winger showed against Wales the power and work rate that have made him a Leinster star

James Ryan will captain Ireland against England on Saturday. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

24-year-old will take armband at Twickenham in Johnny Sexton’s absence

Leinster’s Dan Leavy and Scott Penny come out onto the pitch before the Pro14 clash with Edinburgh. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

The 26-year-old was impressive against Edinburgh and was named man of the match

Leinster’s Dan Leavy celebrates scoring his team’s fifth try. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland backrow scores a try in his first start since returning from serious injury

Dan Leavy will start for Leinster against Edinburgh on Monday night. Photograph: Robbie Stephenson/Inpho

Ireland backrow makes his first start since returning from injury on Monday night

Gavin Coombes scores one of his three tries against the Ospreys. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

22-year-old number eight shines as province’s young guns put Welsh to the sword

Colm Reilly makes his first start for Connacht this evening against Scarlets. Photograph:  Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Coach Andy Friend says province well primed for Pro14 clash with Scarlets

Johann van Graan: “A lot of younger players are getting opportunities.” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Welsh side are familiar opponents for Munster

 Leinster’s Harry Byrne in action against the Ospreys. Photograph:  ©INPHO/Robbie Stephenson

Movement of young players between provinces will increase in the future

Ulster players celebrate at the final whistle after their Pro14 win over Glasgow Warriors. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

John Cooney was impressive on a night when the home side looked dangerous

Ian Madigan during the warm-up to the Pro14 match against Cardiff Blues at  Cardiff Arms Park in Wales on November 2nd. Photograph: Rogan Thompson/Inpho

Dan McFarland aiming for more fluid attacking as they take on Glasgow Warriors

Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock comes up against Josh Thomas of Ospreys during their Pro14 encounter. Photo: Robbie Stephenson/Inpho

Home side went over for an early try but that was as good as it got as visitors upped the gears

What will the Ireland team be for the opening fixture in the 2021 Six Nations?  File photograph: Inpho

Future proof: our rugby writers pick their Ireland team for the 2021 tournament

Leinster’s Ross Molony will win his 100th cap for the province. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

The 26-year-old made his debut in 2015 and has excelled in province’s last two games

  Antoine Dupont:  the French scrumhalf offloaded 13 times, more than the Scottish, Irish and Italian halfbacks combined. He also made 245 metres – Conor Murray made 79 – comfortably ahead of his rivals. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty

Dupont and Ntamack proved the most effective halfback pairing in the Six Nations

Scott Penny scores his Leinster’s third try during the Guinness Pro 14 match against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Champions make it 23rd straight win in the competition as they end Glasgow home run

Leinster’s Cian Kelleher returns to action for their Pro14 clash with Glasgow. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Cian Kelleher returns following a hamstring injury with Jimmy O’Brien at fullback

Ulster’s Billy Burns will captain the team in their game against Cardiff. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland squad members Stuart McCloskey and John Cooney are also included in squad

Johnny Sexton has said Ireland weren’t ruthless enough as they were beaten by France in Paris. Photograph: Dave Winter/Inpho

Outhalf says Ireland weren’t ruthless enough as they missed out on the title in France

Robbie Henshaw crosses the line for Ireland against France. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

John O’Sullivan hands out the marks after Andy Farrell’s side are beaten in Paris

French scrumhalf Antoine Dupont during a training session ahead of the Six Nations game agaibst Ireland. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images

John O’Sullivan looks through Fabien Galthie’s starting XV ahead of Saturday's showdown

Cian Healy will make his 100th Irish cap against France on Saturday. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images

John O’Sullivan with the lowdown on Andy Farrell’s starting XV for Paris

Paul O’Connell: ‘If Ireland can go to Paris, for the first time ever score four tries, get a bonus point and win the game it would give everyone [the] belief to kick on and stick at what they’re doing’

Former international says France will present opportunities and we must take them

Conor Murray celebrates after scoring Ireland’s third try during the game against New Zealand at Soldier Field in Chicago in November 2016. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Andy Farrell’s side look like they’ll need a bonus point win in Paris – it will be hard work

Cian Healy makes a break against Australia on his debut at Croke Park in 2009. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

As he prepares for his 100th cap for Ireland the prop admits it took time to buckle down

JJ Hanrahan scores Munster’s fifth try  during the Guinness Pro 14 game against Cardiff Blues  at Thomond Park. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Johann van Graan might have a few issues with porous home defence against Cardiff

Peter O’Mahony produces a stunning offload to release Bundee Aki (not pictured) against Italy. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Flanker produced a moment of magic with an offload during his cameo against Italy

Ulster’s Marcus Rea with brother Matty.  Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Connacht braced for a tough test in Edinburgh

Leinster’s Dan Leavy in action against Zebre during their Pro14 clash at the RDS. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster player made his first appearance in 18 months after a long rehabilitation

Dan Leavy in action on his Leinster return against Zebre during the Guinness Pro 14 game against Zebre at the RDS. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

International flanker plays half an hour in nine-try rout at the RDS

Andrew Porter will start at tighthead against Italy in Saturday’s Six Nations game against Italy. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Tighthead prop will make the fifth start of his international career against Italy

Dan Leavy is in line to play his first game of rugby in 18 months in  Leinster’s Pro 14 clash against Zebre at the RDS on Friday night. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

International flanker has not played in 18 months after suffering knee injury

Dan Leavy has been named on the Leinster bench for Friday’s clash with Zebre. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ireland flanker is named on the bench for Pro14 clash after nearly 18 months out

Tennis clubs in the Republic of Ireland have been instructed to close under Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Tennis Ireland receives official communication from Government ordering closure

‘They want to be pushed, they’re driven to succeed,’ says head coach Adam Griggs

Members play tennis at Greystones tennis club on the day clubs reopened in May. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Tennis Ireland statement on Wednesday night detailed their interpretation of Level 5

Ireland’s CJ Stander during training ahead of the Six Nations meeting with Italy. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland player says interpretation of new breakdown laws has helped his game

Italy’s Martin Castrogiovanni in action against Ireland in 2015. Photo: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

Former tighthead prop believes Italy need to stick with a philosophy and stop changing

Leinster and Ireland will be without Jordan Larmour over the coming weeks. File photograph: Inpho

James Lowe to remain with Ireland squad as Kearney, Tracy and Byrne return to Leinster

Donnacha Ryan and Simon Zebo could lift the Champions Cup for Racing 92 this weekend. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Zebo and Ryan could become the latest Irish players to taste success away from home

Simon Zebo will line out at fullback for the Champions Cup final on Saturday. Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Former Munster teammate Donnacha Ryan has been named on the bench

Johnny Sexton has returned to Ireland training ahead of the rescheduled Six Nations meeting with Italy. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Andy Farrell also spoke about the qualities of uncapped trio Keenan, Daly and Connors

Garry Ringrose in action for Ireland during the Six Nations game against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in February. Photograph: Tom Honan

While Farrell only used 26 players in first three games he introduced some fresh faces

Jordan Larmour and Garry Ringrose in action during Leinster’s Guinness Pro 14 game against Benetton at  Stadio Comunale di Monigo in Treviso. Photograph: Elena Barbini/Inpho

Leinster back to undergo surgery this week after dislocating shoulder in Italy

Connacht will be without their outhalf Jack Carty when he joins the Irish squad for the remainder of the Six Nations. Photograph: Inpho

Connacht preparing for games without their Irish outhalf by giving Fitzgerald minutes

Cardiff’s Hallam Amos celebrates after scoring a try against Connacht. Photograph: Inpho

Visitors lost Finlay Bealham and Dave Heffernan to injuries in the first 20 minutes

Leinster’s James Lowe runs in a try against Benetton on Saturday afternoon. Photograph: Inpho

They’ll be pleased with the result more than the performance against Benetton

 Leinster’s Ross Byrne starts at outhalf for the match against Benetton. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Province without Johnny Sexton, Andrew Porter and Ronan Kelleher for Benetton clash

Ulster scrumhalf John Cooney was left out of Andy Farrell’s Ireland squad. File photograph: Inpho

Duo named in Ulster team to play Ospreys after being left out of the Ireland squad

Robin Soderling of Sweden salutes the fans after beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open in 2009. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Tension between the two players only mounted after stunning afternoon in Paris

Munster’s Ben Healy prepares for the final kick of the game in the Pro 14 game against Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets. Photograph: Ryan Hiscott/Inpho

Opportunities at No 10 can be limited but many have been tried out elsewhere on the park

Shane Lowry: looking forward to a tournament in which he has traditionally excelled.  Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA

Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell to join British Open champion at Wentworth

Leona Maguire admits the highlight of her season was her top-five finish at the ISPS Handa Vic Open. Photograph: Jack Thomas/Getty Images

On the day . . . Twitter Twaddle . . . World of Mouth . . . In Number . . . What’s in the bag . . .

Bundee Aki will again lead the way for Connacht this season. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Andy Friend has made some interesting selections ahead of season opener

Ulster’s Sam Carter is tackled by Dewaldt Duvenage of Benetton during the Guinness Pro 14 game at the  Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Italian side came back from 14 points down to take the lead just after half-time

Stewart Moore comes into midfield for Ulster to replace the injured Stuart McCloskey. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Stewart Moore’s inclusion at centre gives side a second playmaker in Pro14 opener

Hugo Keenan has been named at fullback in Leinster’s side to take on the Dragons at the RDS on Friday night. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Jordan Larmour to start on the wing with Hugo Keenan named at fullback

Niall Scannell takes a lineout throw during the “A” Interprovincial at Thomond Park in Limerick between Munster A and Connacht Eagles. Photograph: James Crombie/INPHO

Munster and Connacht turn to ‘A’ interprovincials to give players game time

Charlesland Golf Club will close in December.

Owning family said the ‘uncertain outlook for golf’ is behind decision to shut its doors

The Scottish Open gets underway at North Berwick this week. Photograph: Getty

Scottish Open has a bigger purse than Irish Open but many big names remain stateside

Thaiand’s Jazz Janewattananond in his final day orange. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Remembering Europe’s Ryder Cup win in 2002, Lowry looking forward to a break

England goalkeeper Bert Williams after Joe Gaetjens’ first half goal. File photograph: Getty Images

1950 Soccer World Cup: USA 1 England 0 - shock victory for team of minnows

Saracens’ Jamie George and Vincent Koch celebrate winning a scrum penalty against Leinster in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final at the  Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

It wasn’t just the points scored but the pressure released at key times in the game

Cheslin Kolbe beats Jacob Stockdale to score for Toulouse against Ulster. Photograph: Fred Scheiber/Getty/AFP

Cheslin Kolbe dazzles as Dan McFarland’s injury-ravaged side are put to the sword

Ulster’s James Hume scores his side’s first try in the Guinness Pro 14 final against  Leinster at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Young centre has turned plenty of heads with his performances in the Ulster midfield

Saracens’ Billy Vunipola is tackled by Jack Conan of Leinster during last year’s Champions Cup Final at St James’ Park in Newcastle. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The two number eights are dynamic ball carriers with a nose for the tryline

Ulster players salute their fans after victory over Toulouse at the Stade Ernest Wallon during the 2015 Champions Cup pool stages. Photograph: Pascal Pavani/Inpho/Presseye

Province’s away quarter-final form is poor but 2015 pool win offers some hope

The initial prognosis was that Iain Henderson would be out for eight to 10 weeks when Ulster confirmed the news in early August. File photograph: Inpho

Dan McFarland explains decision to start Alby Mathewson instead of John Cooney

Rob Herring and Rónan Kelleher during an Ireland training session at Abbotstown. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

As well as Pro 14 glory, the two hookers will be looking to impress Andy Farrell in final

Graeme Souness thinks Jürgen Klopp needs to dip into the transfer market to build up his squad. Photograph:  Owen Humphreys/AFP via Getty Images

Former club skipper urges Jürgen Klopp to bolster squad depth during transfer window

Leinster hooker Rónan Kelleher has scored nine tries in his side’s 24-game unbeaten run, this effort coming against the Ospreys last October. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Leo Cullen’s side have scored five or more tries in 12 of the 24 games of the run

Zico  of Brazil is tightly marked by Italy’s  Claudio Gentile  during the second-round match of the 1982 World Cup at Estadi de Sarrià in Barcelona. Photograph: Allsport

Brazilian football changed after the defeat to Italy at the 1982 World Cup in Spain

 Leinster’s Jordan Larmour catches a high ball in the first half. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster will hope to have Ireland fullback available for Pro14 final after assured display

The midfield battle between Munster’s Chris Farrell with Garry Ringrose will be key on Friday night. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The two Ireland internationals have impressed since rugby’s return

Referee Frank Murphy shows Munster’s Peter O’Mahony a yellow card during the Guinness Pro 14 game against Connacht at the  Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The Munster v Connacht match featured 21 infringements and led to three yellow cards

Ulster’s James Hume looks on following Scott Penny’s try for Leinster. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

McFarland questions why Cooney’s try was disallowed as Leavy takes part in warm-up

Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock in action during his team’s Pro14 win over Ulster. Photograph: Inpho

Aviva Stadium victory was Leinster’s 23rd consecutive win going back to last season

Tadhg Beirne returns from injury to partner Fineen Wycherley in the Munster  secondrow for the game against Connacht on Sunday. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Tadhg Beirne returns from injury to partner Fineen Wycherley in the secondrow

Jacob Stockdale is relishing the opportunity to play fullback with Ulster. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster fullback part of a completely changed line-up for Aviva contest

Staff clean down the flag posts at the Aviva Stadium ahead of the Guinness Pro 14 game between Leinster and Munster. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

It would be naive to think that the sport could operate in a bubble of immunity from the virus

Ulster’s Marty Moore is tackled by Munster’s CJ Stander during the Guinness Pro 14 game in  Thomond Park last November. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Former Leinster tighthead still looking to add to his 10 Ireland caps

Munster’s Peter O’Mahony wins a lineout ball in their Guinness Pro14 match against Leinster at  Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Munster were faultless at the lineout but set-piece reaped rewards for the winners

Martina Hingis of Switzerland cries as her mother and coach Melanie stands at her side after the final defeat to  Steffi Graf. Photograph:  Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images

Swiss miss saw her dream of taking down Steffi Graf in the 1999 final fall apart in Paris

Munster’s RG Snyman will undergo surgery on his knee injury. Photograph: Inpho

Jean Kleyn sustained a neck ligament issue in the defeat to Leinster on Saturday

Ronan Kelleher is tackled by Tommy O’Donnell during Leinster’s win over Munster. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Robin McBryde admits champions elect need to tighten up their set-piece ahead of Ulster

RG Snyman ices his knee during Munster’s defeat to Leinster. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster confirm Johnny Sexton, Cian Healy and Josh van der Flier will be fit for Ulster

Shane Lowry plays a shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the World Golf Championship-FedEx St Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind Memphis, Tennessee. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy hit back on Friday with a round of 66 to move to under par for the week

Sam Horsfield putts on the ninth green during day two of the Hero Open at Marriott Forest of Arden in Birmingham, England. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

The 27-year-old was the only one of the Irish contingent to make the cut

Rory McIlroy plays a shot on the 10th hole during the first round of the World Golf Championship-FedEx St Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Defending champion Brooks Koepka powers to first round lead; Lowry and McDowell in 15th

  Co Down’s Cormac Sharvin carded 70 on the opening day of the Hero Open. Photograph: Getty Images

Spain dominates on opening day of tournament, taking the top three places

Principality Stadium in Cardiff. There are few if any better places in the world to enjoy a big rugby match. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The famous ground in Cardiff is a fitting place of worship for more than Welsh rugby fans

 Shane Lowry has missed three cuts in five events since the resumption of action on the PGA Tour. He will be in action at this week’s WGC event in Tennessee. Photograph: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell all in action at WGC event in Tennessee

A trackman is seen as Justin Thomas  plays a shot on the range during a practice round prior to the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club  in Southampton, New York. Photograph: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Paratore up to speed. . . On this Day . . . Word of Mouth . . . Twitter Twaddle . . . What’s in the Bag

Niall Saunders in action during the 2016 World Rugby Under-20 Championship semi-final. File photograph: Inpho

An insight into Alain Rolland, Top 14 nears return and Crusaders’ home run ends

Former Leinster player Noel Reid has joined Agen on a two-year deal. Photograph:  Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Less money and opportunity on offer as coronavirus impact becomes clearer

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