Garry Ringrose of Leinster is tackled by Northampton Saints’ Connor Tupai  and Tom Wood during last week’s  Champions Cup Round clash at Franklin’s Gardens. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

Centre expects Northampton to produce a big response after last week’s home setback

Robin McBryde: “I was ready for a new challenge. I’ve had great times but I needed something fresh as well.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Former Wales international hooker was part of Welsh coaching team for 13 years

Johnny Sexton tries to tackle Matt Proctor during the Champions Cup clash between Leinster and Northampton Saints. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Leinster outhalf will miss return clash against Northampton this weekend

Jordan Conroy scored five tries for Ireland sevens against Scotland. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Anthony Eddy’s Ireland finish 12th in their maiden World Series appearance in Dubai

Niall Saunders: “I set my goal at being the number nine at Harlequins and that is something that I want to achieve.” Photograph:  Henry Browne/Getty Images

Harlequins scrumhalf has not let a debilitating medical condition derail his chosen career

Munster’s Ben Healy,  last year’s Ireland U-20s outhalf, in action in the Guinness PRO14 against Edinburgh. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Academy system by its very nature imperfect and can only accommodate so many

Leinster’s Jordan Larmour in action against Lyon dueing the Heineken Champions Cup  game at the  Stade de Gerland. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Larmour has switched between wing and fullback in his 12 European appearances

Felipe Contepomi: “We know the challenge we’re heading into. I think it’s the in-form team of the Premiership, one of the most competitive leagues in Europe and the world.” Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Young players putting more and more pressure on established names in Cullen’s squad

Fergus McFadden came through the victory over the Glasgow Warriors with a clean bill of health.

Leo Cullen’s side have no new injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s match

Connacht’s Bundee Aki has signed a new IRFU contract for three years. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

New Zealand-born centre has been with Connacht since joining in 2014

Munster’s JJ Hanrahan against Racing 92 in the Champions Cup, round two, match at Thomond Park, Limerick. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Munster’s attacking rhythm has altered in many areas this season including the lineout

Ulster fullback Will Addison has received a four-week suspension for this tackle on Clermont Auvergne secondrow Paul Jedrasiak  in last weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup at Kingspan stadium. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Fullback cited for dangerous tackle on Clermont Auvergne’s Paul Jedrasiak

Welsh referee Dan Jones will take charge of the Heineken Champions Cup game between Leinster and Northampton at the Aviva stadium on Saturday, December 14th. Photograph: Photograph: Frikkie Kapp/Inpho

French referees to take charge of six of the eight fixtures involving Irish sides

Ulster’s Will Addison has been cited for a tackle during the province’s win over Clermont Auvergne. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Secondrow Paul Jedrasiak was forced off after incident in first-half of province’s win

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland was delighted with his side’s performance in their Heineken Champions Cup victory over Clermont Auvergne. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Ulster coach pleased with energy and fire which his side brought from first whistle

John Cooney celebrates scoring a try during Ulster’s Heineken Champions Cup game against Clermont Auvergne at Kingspan stadium in Belfast. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

John Cooney’s wonderful piece of opportunism proves highlight of the night

Marcell Coetzee: his  performance against Bath exemplified his quality and importance to Ulster.   Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

The French side ooze quality but Ulster have had their measure before in Belfast

Clermont’s Fijian flanker Peceli Yato  scores a try against Harlequins last week during the European Champions Cup clash at  Stade Marcel Michelin.   Photograph: Thierry Zoccolan/AFP/Getty Images

French club’s title credentials will be seriously examined by Ulster in Belfast

Josh van der Flier’s status as an Ireland international guaranteed nothing on his return to the province. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Van der Flier glad to be back in blue after disappointment of World Cup departure

Leinster fullback Hugo Keenan was a valued member of the Ireland Sevens team, particularly in 2017 and 2018. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland’s investment in code has seen stars emerge in the full-sided game

Robbie Henshaw: “The struggle with injury is part of the game and every player has to deal with it, but hopefully a little bit of luck is on my side for the next few months.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leinster centre wants to put injury woes behind him and has Lyon in his sights

Players clash on the pitch late in the European Champions Cup  clash  between Northampton Saints and Lyon at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton. Photograph Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty

Cullen’s side braced for a tough assignment against French Top 14 leaders

Robbie Henshaw emerged from Leinster’s win over Benetton unscathed. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland centre came on during the second half of Champions Cup win over Benetton

Jeremy Loughman carries for Munster during their win over the Ospreys. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Man of the match was Munster coach’s first signing after arriving at Thomond Park

Munster celebrate as replacement prop James Cronin goes over for a try to secure the bonus point against Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Cronin’s dramatic try ensures deserved reward for visitors’ dominance of spirited Ospreys

Munster’s Peter O’Mahony wins a high ball ahead of Hanno Dirksen of Ospreys during the Heineken Champions Cup match at the  Liberty stadium in  Swansea. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Captain and coach see issues despite bonus-point win over Ospreys

Munster celebrate James Cronin’s try to secure a bonus-point win over Ospreys at the Liberty stadium in Swansea. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

James Cronin’s try with the last play of the match seals the deal in Swansea

Connacht’s Kieran Marmion: he  has been linked with a move to Saracens.  Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Andy Friend brings in Stephen Fitzgerald at fullback, with Adeolokun introduced on the right wing, and Porch switching to the left

Leinster’s Cian Kelleher will start in their Pro14 clash with Zebre on Saturday. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Leo Cullen has made several changes as his side look to maintain unbeaten start

Jed Holloway: will make his Munster debut against Ospreys at Musgrave Park. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Former Australian underage international one of five changes in team that lost to Cheetahs

Will Addison: starts at fullback for Ulster against Cardiff Blues at the Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Return of Irish international one of five changes to team for visit of Cardiff Blues

 Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony arriving at Dublin Airport on Tuesday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland flanker admits side did not perform to standard that was needed at World Cup

Joe Schmidt signs Jennifer Malone’s shirt  as the Irish rugby team arrive back into Dublin Airport. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Departing coach admits he hasn’t taken a full day off in the six and half years

Leo Cullen: “Everyone assumes that we [Leinster] won’t be as bad as we were four years ago. What’s to say otherwise?” Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Coach eager to avoid prolonged World Cup hangover that marred 2015 campaign

Ireland stand for Ireland’s Call ahead of the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inphi

Few members of Schmidt’s side enhanced reputations in disappointing campaign

Jack Conan will miss the 2020 Six Nations after Leinster confirmed he will be out for up to six months. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster confirm number eight will be out for ‘up to six months’ after surgery on ankle

Leona Maguire at Castleknock Golf Club on Wednesday: ‘Every day I’ll be practising for eight or nine hours, focusing on all aspects of my game.’ Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Cavan woman’s ascent from amateur world No1 to professional is unparalleled

New Zealand’s Kieran Read offloads despite the attempts of  Ireland’s Josh van der Flier and Tadhg Furlong to prevent him. Photograph: Andrew Cornaga/Inpho

A substandard performance pockmarked by rank kicking, handling errors and poor execution

Ardie Savea is tackled by Iain Henderson during New Zealand’s win over Ireland. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty

John O’Sullivan runs the rule over the world champions as they rout Joe Schmidt’s side

Leinster’s Anna Doyle is tackled by Munster’s Ciara Scanlon during the women’s Interprovincial at  Irish Independent Park, Cork. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo

After winning her first senior Ireland cap, talented teenager is aiming to push on

Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton impressed in his team’s bonus point win against Samoa at the Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium. Photograph: Getty Images

Ireland now have some big selection calls to make ahead of their quarter-final

Leinster’s Jamison Gibson-Park, supported by Hugo Keenan, touches down to score a try despite the attentions of Edinburgh’s Nic Groom during the Guinness Pro 14 game at the  RDS. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Leo Cullen’s side score four second-half tries to see off Edinburgh challenge

Dave Kearney of Leinster scores one of his hat-trick of tries against Benetton at Treviso on September 28th. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

Dave Kearney returns to starting team on Friday night, with Scott Fardy captaining

 Munster’s Jeremy Loughman in action against the Dragons last month at Thomond Park. Photograph:  Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Van Graan makes five changes to squad as province seek to keep unbeaten run intact

Connacht’s  John Porch in action for Australia during a Sevens Rugby tournament in Canada last year. Porch has been included in Connacht’s squad for their clash with Dragons. Photograph:  Inpho/Photosport/Icon Sportswire

Friend says side must be clinical in attack and defence on top form to prevail in Wales

Man of the match Rhys Ruddock carries at Igor Galinovskiy. Photograph:  Mike Hewitt/Getty

Joe Schmidt’s side remain too narrow in attack but utilised the boot well in Kobe

Cork Constitution secondrow Evan Mintern during the All-Ireland League Division 1A Final against Clontarf at the   Aviva Stadium back in May. Photograph:  Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Former Ireland U20 secondrow is looking forward to the Cork club’s AIL title defence

Rob Herring in training. ‘One of the things I’ve noticed is that where we are now and where we were last season is chalk and cheese,’ he says.

Summer signings McGrath and Carter bolster province for Ospreys encounter

Leinster’s Adam Byrne is looking forward to the new pro14 and Champions Cup campaigns. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

The 25-year-old winger has worked on mindfulness during his latest injury absence

Ireland’s CJ Stander runs at Scotland’s Sean Maitland during the Rugby World Cup Pool A game in Yokohama. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland take a lot of credit against a Scotland side way off the pace required in opener

Jerry Flannery pictured with Rassie Erasmus during his time as Munster director of rugby. Photograph:   Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland could face the Springboks in a World Cup quarter-final

Ulster coach Dan McFarland worked with the Scotland forwards under Gregor Townsend. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ulster coach and former Scotland assistant knows Scots need to measure up at set-piece

Australian captain John Eales talks to South African referee Andre Watson after receiving a yellow card during the Rugby World Cup 1999 final against France at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Photograph: William West/AFP/Getty

Captain Eales warned referee he would act if French foul play was not addressed

Marc Ellis escapes Tsutomu Matsuda during the pool stage game between Japan and New Zealand at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Photograph:  Phil Cole/Getty

New Zealand beat Japan by 128 points in 1995 Rugby World Cup with the outhalf starring

 Jannie De Beer of South Africa kicks the fourth of his five drop goals against England in the 1999 World Cup quarter-final  at the Stade de France in Paris. South Africa won 44-21. Photograph:  Dave Rogers/Allsport

Springboks’ second-choice outhalf stood up to the plate to dash England’s hopes

The Ireland team huddle as they listen to the Rose of Tralee in 1987. Photograph: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Before Ireland’s Call, the Rose of Tralee took up the mantle of Irish rugby song

“We are the lucky ones because we get a towel . . . so we’re at least allowed to dab it down a bit”

Diego Ormaechea of Uruguay in action during the Rugby World Cup match against Spain played in Galashiels, Scotland. Uruguay won the game 27-15. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Allsport

Uruguay’s Diego Ormaechea was oldest player in Rugby World Cup history in 1999

Ger Carmody (centre) looks on at a fixture against the All Blacks during the British & Irish Lions Tour To New Zealand in 2017. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ger Carmody is man making sure the logistics for Ireland’s visit to Japan run smoothly

Japan players celebrate their surprise victory in the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Japan in Brighton. Photograph:  Charlie Crowhurst/Getty

Japan beat South Africa in 2015 in the biggest shock in Rugby World Cup history

Flyhalf Stephen Donald of the All Blacks kicks a penalty in 2011  Rugby World Cup Final  between France and New Zealand in Auckland. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty

New Zealand win the 2011 Rugby World Cup thanks to penalty scored by back-up outhalf

Gordon Hamilton celebrating  try that nearly gave Ireland victory against Australia. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Ireland were minutes away from a Rugby World Cup semi-final in 1991

Sonny Bill Williams of New Zealand gives his winning medal to young fan Charlie Lines following the 2015 Rugby World Cup final. Photograph: Paul Gilham/Getty

Star’s act of generosity got worldwide attention after Rugby World Cup final win

Gary Halpin gives a two fingered salute after Ireland scored a try against New Zealand. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Prop enjoyed moment of glory in Ireland’s 43-19 defeat to New Zealand

Ireland’s Jacob Stockdale celebrates scoring the opening try during the friendly win over Wales in Cardiff. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Former Ireland player says a player like Cheslin Kolbe can cause big problems

Ireland’s Jordan Larmour charges at Wales’s Hadleigh Parkes and Jonathan Davies during the  World Cup warm-up at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland player tells of sitting beside his phone all day hoping he did not get a call

Rob Kearney contests a high ball with George North at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

After a positive result in final warm-up match, John O'Sullivan breaks down what we learned

Ireland  captain Rory Best receives a standing ovation as he leaves the field. Photograph: Tom Honan

‘It is obviously incredibly special. This place has given me some wonderful memories’

England’s Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje, and Ireland’s Devin Toner in their pre-World Cup friendly at Twickenham on August 24th. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Even more of a surprise is that Ireland has a bigger strike rate when Toner is not playing

James Ryan takes a lineout ball. Photograph; Dan Sheridan

Will Addison and Andrew Conway make persuasive cases for inclusion in World Cup squad

The impressive Will Addison is tackled by Jarrod Evans in Cardiff. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

John O’Sullivan looks at the winners and losers as Joe Schmidt’s side win in Cardiff

Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony during training at Carton House, Kildare, ahead of their Test match against Wales. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Munster captain insists there is ‘no panic’ after Ireland's record defeat to England

James Ryan is beaten to a lineout by Alun Wyn Jones during Ireland’s Six Nations clash with Wales in Cardiff. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster man hasn’t made an appearance this season but will face Wales on Saturday

John Ryan: ‘We’re not a team that gets absolutely hammered by any team in the world. We can put it up to anyone.’ Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

The Munster prop is likely to be handed a starting jersey against Wales on Saturday

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt during a squad session at Carton House, Co Kildare. On Sunday he will sit down with his assistant coaches to pick a 31-man squad for Japan. Photgraph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland coach dismisses conjecture about Rory Best’s captaincy as ‘external noise’

Ireland outhalf Johnny Sexton holds his thumb during a training session at Carton House on Tuesday morning.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland coach confirms outhalf just ‘a little bit stiff and sore’ after setback in training

The Italian Grand Prix is one of the oldest races on the circuit. Photo: Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Flights, tickets and accommodation details for one of Formula One’s oldest races

Robbie Henshaw models the new Ireland Rugby World Cup jersey. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Perception is that Irish rugby jerseys would outsell any other sport over this year

Bryan Fogel’s 2018 Oscar-winning documentary about Russia’s Olympic doping program.

Story of Russia’s Olympic doping program plays like a legal thriller

Owen Farrell gets to grips with Ireland captain Rory Best after a George Kruis try at Twickenham. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Alan Quinlan’s wishlist unanswered with England scarily pragmatic about their win

Dan Leavy at Vodafone’s “Ireland’s Ball” launch event in Ukiyo-e. ““The physical side, the pain’s nothing. All the chat’s about the World Cup and that’s pretty hard to deal with sometimes.”

Leinster flanker making good progress from the knee injury which dashed his World Cup dream

Seán O’Brien with the Pro 14 trophy after Leinster’s victory over Glasgow Warriors at Celtic Park  back in May. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

‘We have a responsibility to uphold ourselves to the highest possible standards’

 Leinster Women head coach Ben Armstrong during training. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ben Armstrong’s side will play directly after their male counterparts at Donnybrook

James Lowe underwent surgery following last season’s Pro14 final against the Glasgow Warriors. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Leinster sees a number of injured players return including Penny, Daly and Byrne

James Lowe is hopeful of being back in action in time for Leinster’s first Pro 14 game at the end of September. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Winger underwent shoulder reconstruction following Pro 14 final

Namibia and head coach Phil Davies celebrate their Africa Gold Cup victory after beating Kenya in 2018. Photograph: APO Group/Getty

Tournament’s lowest-ranked side are set for their sixth-consecutive appearance

Scotland’s Stuart Hogg will be key to their hopes in Japan. Photograph: Ian Rutherford/PA

Gregor Townsend’s side can take it to anyone but look potentially lightweight up front

Samoa’s Ahsee Tuala in action for Northampton Saints.Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty

Pacific Islanders will present a physical threat but lack quality of previous sides

Russia’s players line-up before a European Rugby Championship match against Belgium in Sochi in February 2019. Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty

Bears to appear at their second World Cup after qualification rivals were docked points

Sergio Parisse is appearing in his fifth Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

The Azzurri have been lumped with a tough group but can continue steady progression

Japan captain Michael Leitch. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty

Tournament hosts will be hoping for a repeat of their famous win over Springboks in 2015

Jacob Stockdale scored a brace of tries in Ireland’s RWC warm-up win over Wales in Cardiff. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Joe Schmidt will be hoping injuries are kind and his side can regain some form in Japan

Canada celebrate securing the final place in Japan after victory over Hong Kong. Photograph: Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty

Victory over Hong Kong secured a RWC place with Namibia match looking finely poised

Brian O’Driscoll and Jamie Carragher    launch Sports Extra on Sky on Wednesday.  Photograph: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Former Ireland captain praises golfer for ‘climbing his Everest’ in the British Open

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in his first full season in charge at Old Trafford. Photograph: Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images

Getting there, tickets and accommodation: all you need to know for this season opener

There has been a fall off in golfers taking individual lessons, with more taking part in group lessons.

Three club professionals talk about the massive changes in their trade over the past decade

Shane Lowry with his caddy Brian Martin. “Bo has been incredible the last year. He’s brought a new lease of life to me. He is so thrilled. He was unbelievable today.” Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Brian ‘Bo’ Martin ‘was great at keeping me in the moment today. He’s been great for me’

Shane Lowry at Royal Portrush Golf Club. His three-round total of 197 is the lowest  in the history of the British Open.  Photograph: Matt Mackey/Inpho

He spreadeagled a field of quality with a blemish-free round of eight birdies and 10 pars

British Open Champion Shane Lowry of Ireland celebrates with family and friends on the 18th green at Portrush. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

The Irishman’s final round at Portrush on Sunday as he won the British Open title

Rory McIlroy slautes the crowd after his second round 65 at Portrush. Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA

Home favourite takes it all in as he falls one stroke short of the cut despite a defiant 65

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