Tom Farrell offloads during Connacht’s defeat to Munster. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Joe Schmidt has handed a trio of Connacht backs their first international call-ups

Joey Carbery inspired Munster to a comprehensive win over Gloucester at Kingsholm. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

All four provinces can reach European quarter-finals with victory this weekend

Jacob Stockdale’s brace of tries helped Ulster to a famous win over Racing 92. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

Patrick Madden gets his calculator out to work out the latest pool stage permutations

Danny Cipriani is back in the Gloucester team to face Munster on Friday night. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

It is rare that the maverick English outhalf is ever judged on his rugby alone

The Heineken Cup trophy at St James’ Park, where the final will be held in May. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The story so far and the state of play ahead of this weekend’s crucial round of fixtures

Leroy Sane scores Man City’s winner against Liverpool. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer salutes the travelling Manchester United fans after his side’s 2-0 win away to Newcastle. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

United fans watch on during the 2-1 defeat to Valencia at the Mestalla. Photo: John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images

Gutless football on the pitch had led to grim acceptance of United’s fate in the stands

Mullinalaghta’s Shane Mulligan lifts the trophy after his side’s Leinster club SFC final victory over Kilmacud Crokes. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Jacob Stockdale starts for Ulster against the Scarlets on Friday night. Photograph: Matt Mackey/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Mick McCarthy and John Delaney at the Euro 2020 qualifier draw. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

McCarthy’s side will renew rivalries with Denmark while the Swiss are top seeds

The rescheduled Copa Libertadores final will be held at the Bernabéu. Photograph: Angel Martinez/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Martin O’Neill’s five-year Ireland tenure is over. Photograph: Simon Cooper/PA

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Martin O’Neill during Ireland’s 4-1 defeat to Wales in Cardiff. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

During final 12 months of manager’s tenure Ireland managed just a single friendly win

Robbie Brady celebrates his later winner against Italy in Lille. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

O’Neill’s five-year tenure reached dizzying heights before reaching an ignominious end

Gordon D’Arcy says James Ryan played more like an All Blacks lock than Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock did. Photograph: Garry Carr/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Andrew Porter, Tadhg Furlong and James Ryan celebrate after Ireland’s win over the All Blacks. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Bundee Aki hugs Tadhg Furlong after Ireland’s win over the All Blacks. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Josh van der Flier celebrates Ireland’s win over the All Blacks with Tadhg Furlong and CJ Stander. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Saturday’s famous win over the All Blacks in Dublin will reverberate around the world

Bundee Aki celebrates Ireland’s 16-9 in over New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Joe Schmidt’s ‘ruthless cyborgs’ land the latest blow in modern rugby’s great rivalry

New Zealand players stand dejected at the end of the game. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Little or nothing between the teams in the statistics with Stockdale’s try proving key

“This was always going to be this year’s pinnacle assignment”

  Kieran Read (centre) walks out for the New Zealand captain’s run with Joe Moody  and Waisake Naholo at the Aviva stadium on Friday. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand captain expects physical encounter between world’s top two teams

All Blacks loosehead Karl Tu’inukuafe. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

A look at Steve Hansen’s All Blacks ahead of Saturday night’s Aviva Stadium showdown

Garry Ringrose is back in midfield for Ireland against the All Blacks. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Joe Schmidt’s XV bidding to make history against the visiting All Blacks at the Aviva

 Shane Duffy congratulates Darren Randolph after the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper made a crucial save during the friendly international against Northern Ireland at the Aviva stadium. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Patrick Madden hands out the marks after the friendly draw at the Aviva

Ireland’s frontrow of Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best and Cian Healy. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Joe Schmidt’s side take on the mighty All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday

Bundee Aki celebrates with his fmaily after Ireland’s win over Argentina. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Odsonne Edouard scores Celtic’s winner against RB Leipzig. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Willie Mullins’ Faugheen gets to grips with a pumpkin at Closutton. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Gordon D’Arcy: Johnny Sexton returned from his stint in Paris as a better player. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Groundstaff work on the Wembley pitch at half-time of Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City. Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Barcelona against Real Madrid will be shown on online service Eleven Sports. Photograph:  Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty

Sky Sports have lost Spanish football rights as online service Eleven Sports take over

Danny Welbeck celebrates his winner for Arsenal in Lisbon. Photograph: Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Tottenham skipper Hugo Lloris walks off after being shown a red card in Eindhoven. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Cristiano Ronaldo leaves the Old Trafford pitch after Juve’s 1-0 win over Manchester United. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Enable will travel to America for the Breeders Cup turf. Photograph: Francois Mori/AP

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

James Lowe and Tadhg Furlong celebrate Leinster’s fifth try in their 52-3 rout of Wasps. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Darren Randolph claims the ball during Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Denmark at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Patrick Madden runs the rule over Martin O’Neill’s side after goalless draw at the Aviva

James Lowe starts for Leinster against Wasps, with Joe Tomane on the bench. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Three provinces in action with Leinster up first against Wasps under the Friday night lights

Winx walks in the sea at Altona Beach after her victory in the Turnbull Stakes. Photograph: Vince Caligiuri/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Joey Carbery during Munster’s defeat to his former side Leinster at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Ulster’s Jordi Murphy, Leinster’s Johnny Sexton and Munster’s  Peter O’Mahony. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

European rugby’s heavyweights are ready to dust off their gloves and slug it out once again

Team Europe and captain Thomas Bjorn with the Ryder Cup trophy. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Crowds follow Tiger Woods up the 18th at East Lake. Photograph:  Kevin C. Cox/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor face off in New York. Photograph: Steven Ryan/Getty

Crumlin’s finest is back in the Octagon after two years for the biggest fight in UFC history

Rafael da Silva claps the Lyon end after his side beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Mauro Icardi celebrates his stunning equaliser for Inter Milan against Spurs. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

This year’s All-Ireland SFC medal was Ciarán Kilkenny’s fifth. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Ryan Giggs’s Wales are in Ireland’s group for the Uefa Nations League along with Denmark. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty

Ireland take on Denmark in Dublin on Saturday - but how does the competition work?

Roger Federer with John Millman after his US Open fourth round defeat. Photograph: Eduardo Alvarez Munoz/AFP/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Dublin’s James McCarthy with Sam Maguire. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Joe Tomane will make his full Leinster debut against Cardiff Blues on Friday night. Photograph:  Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Oisin Murphy and Roaring Lion after their victory at York. Photograph: Tim Goode/PA

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Ireland’s Jason Smyth on the way to winning gold in the Men’s T13 200m in Berlin. Photograph: Luc Percival/Sportsfile

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

John Kiely with Liam MacCarthy outside Limerick Colbert railway station. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Limerick manager John Kiely lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Jack Cork scores Burnley’s extra-time winner against Istanbul Basaksehir at Turf Moor. Photograph:  Alex Livesey/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Ellen Keane narrowly missed out on a medal in Dublin on Wednesday night. Photograph: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

ARSENAL: New goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Photo: Getty

With the World Cup over the Premier League is back, check out Patrick Madden's team guides

Tiger Woods practices ahead of the year’s final Major at Bellerive. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte celebrates his side’s win over Donegal. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Ireland’s Roisin Upton scores past Indian goalkeeper Savita during her side’s penalty shootout win. Photograph: Joe Toth/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

John Kiely speaks to his Limerick side after their epic win over Cork. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Kildare’s Paddy Brophy after his side’s defeat to Galway in Newbridge. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

A view of Croke Park during Galway’s Super 8s clash with Kerry. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Paul Pogba celebrates with the World Cup trophy in Moscow. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Kieran Trippier and Harry Kane train ahead of England’s World Cup semi-final clash with Croatia. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

Gareth Southgate’s England take on Croatia in Moscow for a place in Sunday’s final

Jordan Pickford dives to save a Marcus Berg header as England beat Sweden 2-0 in Samara. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

We run the rule over Gareth Southgate’s side after their World Cup quarter-final win

Jesse Lingard trains ahead of England’s World Cup quarter-final clash with Sweden. Photograph: Anatoly Maltsev/EPA

Gareth Southgate’s England bid for a place in the semi-finals before Russia face Croatia

Japan’s  Gaku Shibasaki  challenges Belgium’s  Eden Hazard during the  World Cup round of 16 football match  at the Rostov Arena. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Things are getting serious as Uruguay face France before Brazil play Belgium in Kazan

England captain Harry Kane plays darts as his side prepare for their lat-16 clash with Colombia. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

The round of 16 concludes with Gareth Southgate’s England facing Colombia

Paul Pogba’s France take on Argentina on Saturday. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty

France’s mouthwatering clash with Argentina signals the start of the knockout stages

Xherdan Shaqiri can inspire Switzerland into the last-16 of the World Cup. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty

Brazil and Germany are both looking to secure their progression into the knockouts

Antoine Griezmann’s France take on Denmark on Tuesday. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP

Lionel Messi’s Argentina must beat Nigeria as Denmark face France in Moscow

Toni Kroos’s late free-kick has transformed Germany’s World Cup hopes. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty

The final round of group fixtures approach - who needs what to need to qualify for last-16?

Isco will be key as Spain look to top Group B with victory over Morocco on Monday. Photograph: Diego Azubel/EPA

Russia face Uruguay while Iran look to secure shock qualification against Portugal

Brazil full-back Marcelo. Photograph: Buda Mendes/Getty

Brazil are up against Costa Rica after their opening draw while Nigeria face Iceland

Luka Modric will be key for Croatia against Argentina on Thursday night. Photograph: Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty

Croatia and Luka Modric can leave Argentina on the brink with France also in action

A postage stamp with the image of Poland captain Robert Lewandowski. Photograph: Leszek Szymanski/EPA

The opening round of group games conclude before hosts Russia are up against Egypt

  Neymar has been in good form during Brazil’s warm-up games. Photograph: EPA

Favourites Brazil and defending champions Germany get their campaigns up and running

Nigeria Alex Iwobi poses with fans. Photograph: Pius Utomi Ekei/AFP/Getty

Where to watch, when to watch and who to support as the 21st Coupe de Monde begins

England’s Marcus Rashford in action against Holland. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty

Differing expectations for Belgium and England but both are set for the knockout stages

The 2018 World Cup could prove to be Lionel Messi’s defining tournament. Photograph:  Agustin Marcarian/Getty

Messi needs to carry Argentina while Super Eagles Nigeria could spring a surprise

Kylian Mbappe is a likely starter for France. Photograph:  Aurelien Meunier/Getty

Christian Eriksen can ensure Denmark follow France into the knockout stages

Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Portugal in Russia. Photograph: Harold Cunningham/Getty

Spain and Portugal likely to progress at the expense of unlucky Morocco and Iran

Rory McIlroy shot a second round of 70 in the Memorial Tournament. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty

Lowry also makes the weekend as weather stalls Tiger Woods’ second round charge

Roberto Martinez and assistant Thierry Henry look on during a Belgium training session. Photograph: Bruno Fahy/AFP

Martinez responds to mattressgate saying 23-man party yet to be decided

Cristiano Ronaldo will be featuring in his fourth World Cup this summer. Photograph: Robert Hradil/Getty

Cristiano Ronaldo remains the main man but keep an eye on Rúben Neves in Russia

Carlos Quieroz took over with Iran in 2011. Photograph:  Amin M. Jamali/Getty

Carlos Quieroz’ well-organised side are top dogs in Asia but the draw has not been kind

Australia’s new head coach Bert van Marwijk. Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty

Bert van Marwijk takes Socceroos to Russia following Ange Postecoglou’s resignation

Christian Eriksen can carry Denmark into the last-16 in Russia. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty

Åge Hareide’s side reliant on Spurs star but have developed other strings to their bow

Morocco manage Herve Renard. Photograph: Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty

Herve Renard’s side qualified without conceding but look to be short on firepower

Iceland boss Heimir Hallgrimsson. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty

Heimir Hallgrímsson’s side represent the smallest nation to appear at the World Cup

Antoine Griezmann will lead the line for France in Russia. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty

Didier Deschamps has a wealth of riches at his disposal but they need to gel in Russia

Jefferson Farfan will carry the hopes of Peru along with captain Paulo Guerrero. Photograph: Steven Ryan/Getty

Los Incas talisman and captain Paulo Guerrero cleared to play in Russia

Naim Sliti will carry a lot of Tunisia’s attacking threat. Photograph: Salah Habibi/AFP/Getty

Eagles of Carthage likely to find goals hard to come by on their return to the World Cup

Alex Iwobi in action for Nigeria against Argentina. Photograph: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty

Gernot Rohr has put his faith in youth and his vibrant side can reach the knockouts

Argentina’s World Cup hopes will hinge on Lionel Messi. Photograph: Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty

La Albiceleste are top-heavy and dysfunctional but hold the ultimate trump card

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