Gerbrandt Grobler: I hope Irish rugby, from the top down, didn’t knowingly sign off on a doper. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Recruitment of convicted drug cheat raises questions for province

Leinster’s Luke McGrath escapes the clutches of Warriors wing Lee Jones during his side’s 55-19 victory at the RDS. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Despite thrashing Glasgow, coach says province has ‘huge amount’ of work to do

Leinster’s Scott Fardy scores a try during his side’s 55-19 triumph against Glasgow. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpo

Leo Cullen’s side are now 13/8 favourites to win tournament for first time in six seasons

Leo Cullen: “When the teams were announced I remember reading comments about how I was disrespecting the competition for picking young players for their first starts in Europe.”  Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Two years ago this week Leinster’s coach gave five players their first European start

James Lowe:  included in the Leinster team to face Glasgow Warriors. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Struggling Glasgow Warriors unlikely to stop Leo Cullen’s in-form side at the RDS

Ireland’s Jenny Murphy has quit international rugby to take up boxing. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Ireland international has temporarily stepped away to pursue a career in the ring

Roscrea are threatening High Court action against the IRFU and Leinster Branch schools committee. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Cistercian College asking for ‘20 month rule’ to be ‘urgently and immediately’ waived

Leinster’s Jordan Larmour would “step you in a phone box”,  according to team-mate Scott Fardy. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leinster player boasts excellent speed but also possesses rare trait: sharp rugby brain

Leinster’s Devin Toner battles for possession against Ulster at the RDS on Saturday evening. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Furlong, Ringrose and Tracy pick up worrying injuries in one-sided affair at the RDS

Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss: “We don’t have a constant dependable style of rugby that we can rely on.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Kiss laments side’s inconsistency but believes they have a chance to respond

Leinster had too much for Ulster at the RDS on Saturday night. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Garry Ringrose and Tadhg Furlong both Leinster injury concerns ahead of Glasgow

Leinster’s Jordan Larmour celebrates scoring a try in their Pro14 win over Ulster. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Leo Cullen’s side will go into Champions Cup fixtures full of confidence after easy win

John Cooney celebrates a successful late conversion for Ulster against Munster  in the recent PRO 14 clash at the Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Eight ex-Leinster men will be on Ulster’s payroll when Murphy and Moore arrive

Bundee Aki: will be a significant absentee from the Connacht line-up at Thomond Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Connacht absentees tilt the balance firmly in favour of Johann van Graan’s team

Josh Murphy: “Josh is very abrasive,” said Leo Cullen, “he gets through a mountain of work and that’s what coaches like.”  Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Leinster’s backrow injury list ensures an opportunity for promising Josh Murphy

 Peter O’Mahony steals  a lineout against England. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

O’Mahony and Sexton heroic as Ireland end old rivals’ long unbeaten Test run

Leinster’s Dan Leavy passes to Luke McGrath which led to Leinster’s crucial try. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ability to grind out win from 17-3 down – and with Sexton injured – shows side’s progress

Johnny Sexton receives treatment after suffering an early head injury against Exeter at the Aviva Stadium.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘It’s a physical game guys. A physical game. These games they do take their toll’

Geordan Murphy: “We let ourselves down on the big stage. We were bullied. We have an opportunity on Sunday to circle the wagons. Let’s see how we get on.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leicester’s assistant coach favourite to take top job at Cardiff Blues next season

Micheál Donoghue with his 2017 Philips Manager Of The Year award at the  InterContinental Hotel in  Dublin. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Galway boss rewarded for ending his county’s long wait for an All-Ireland hurling title

Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster is focusing on the work that must be done after his side’s Champions Cup win over Exeter Chiefs. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Head coach frustrated at conceded try during mammoth Champions Cup win at Exeter

Belvedere College captain Max Kearney lifts the Leinster Schools Senior Cup after they won the title in 2017. Photo: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

The Junior Cup draw sees a mouthwatering first round tie of Blackrock and St Michael’s

Munster’s Sam Arnold is tackled by Leicester’s George Ford during the European  Champions Cup clash at  Thomond Park, Limerick. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Inspirational O’Mahony stresses the need to front up again at Welford Park next week

  Leicester Tigers coach Matt O’Connor  accused French referee Jerome Garces of failing to punish Munster and Conway for their lack of “a duty of care” to the Tongan fullback. Photograph:  Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Coach insinuates Munster player was responsible for Tongan fullback’s injury

Munster skipper  Peter O’Mahony celebrates scoring a try against Leicester  with Rory Scannell, Conor Murray and Alex Wootton. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘I thought both teams pushed the boundaries quite well’

Munster captain  Peter O’Mahony celebrates scoring a try in the Champions Cup game against Leicester at Thomond Park. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Bonus-point win puts van Graan’s side in control of Pool Four after three games

Munster’s Andrew Conway: “Good timing got me in again [to the Ireland team] in November. But that’s what rugby is. You have to take your opportunities when they come.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

It’s been a long and winding road to Munster for the former Blackrock and Leinster prodigy

 Connacht’s Tiernan O’Halloran could move to Munster next summer. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Connacht fullback wanted to replace the Racing 92 bound Simon Zebo

Peter O’Mahony at Munster’s press conference. Your emotion is with the club and getting it right for the weekend, you know what I mean?” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Munster captain and CJ Stander remain flight risks if new IRFU deals cannot be confirmed

Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell at Munster squad training in UL on Monday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland assistant coach is helping province until it finds replacement for Jacques Nienaber

 Peter O’Mahony: “It’s professional sport, it’s a short career, and as I said hopefully it will be done by the New Year one way or the other.” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Munster captain wants improved IRFU offer with one French club offering to double salary

Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony offloads during the Test match against Argentina at the Aviva. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Munster captain set to return against rivals Leicester Tigers for Champions Cup fixture

Chris Farrell and Bundee Aki have grabbed  the opportunity to show just what they are capable of in an Ireland shirt. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

After this November window, competition for starting places is fiercer than ever

Munster head coach Johann van Graan: “For every new beginning in life you have got to fly on your own.” Photograph: Giuseppe Fama/Inpho

Replacing Nienaber and the O’Mahony contract situation early issues for the new coach

CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony could both leave Ireland in the summer as contract negotiations with the IRFU continue to stall. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

There has been no progress on the contract negotiations with the IRFU for either player

Munster’s Johann van Graan is hopeful that his captain Peter O’Mahony will remain with the province. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Chris Farrell to be out for six to eight weeks after injury picked up against Argentina

Jack McGrath at the end of the game against Fiji when he started but was replaced by Cian Healy: Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Shadow Lions prop must battle with Healy and Kilcoyne for a place in Ireland’s front row

Robbie Henshaw  suffered a hamstring injury last Tuesday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Robbie Henshaw and James Ryan ruled out of trip to Italy to face Treviso with injuries

Peter O’Mahony could make the move away from Ireland, putting his international career in jeopardy. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Munster captain has rejected an IRFU offer to remain on a national deal past 2019

Dave Kilcoyne barges through the Argentina defence of Marcos Kremer and Enrique Pieretto on Saturday evening. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

This series all about building a formidable squad for Ireland coach Joe Schmidt

Ireland’s Rob Kearney claims a high ball ahead of  Joaquin Tuculet. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Joe Schmidt’s tactics 'surprised’ Los Pumas says opposite number Daniel Hourcade

Chris Farrell has moved himself into contention for next year’s Six Nations. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey marks Joe Schmidt’s side after their year-ending win over Los Pumas

Brent Pope, Tom McGurk and George Hook at the launch of RTÉ Sport’s comprehensive live coverage of 2008 RBS 6 Nations. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

After losing Six Nations coverage, the days of international rugby on RTÉ are ending

Leinster’s Jordan Larmour leaves Dragons players for dead during their Pro14 clash at the RDS. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Despite 15 players away on international duty the home side powered past the visitors

  Ireland lock James Ryan during his side’s victory against South Africa: the player starts his first Test match on Saturday against Argentina. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Ireland coach says Leinster lock’s work ethic and physique bode well for his future

Jordi Murphy: swaps the green number seven for blue. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leinster’s formidable strength-in-depth will again be in evidence at the RDS

Adam Byrne during an Irish training session at Carton House, Kildare. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Robbie Henshaw misses out due to hamstring injury, he’s replaced by Chris Farrell

Leinster’s Ross   Byrne’s 543 minutes of action includes  seven starts and three runs off the bench. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Club and country commitments complicate matters for the respective coaches

An injured Joey Carbery leaving the field  against Fiji. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘Joey is brave, potentially to a fault, because he takes no heed who is in front of him,’ says Schmidt

Ireland’s Joey Carbery leaves the field in pain with Dr Ciarán Cosgrove after fracturing his left forearm. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Boss Joe Schmidt full of praise for young outhalf after thrilling display against Fiji

Joey Carbery inspired Ireland to a narrow win over Fiji at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Performance against Fiji at the Aviva Stadium shows he needs more chances at outhalf

French rugby president Bernard Laporte  in London on November  15th after France is named to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Photograph:  AFP Photo/Adrian Dennis

Inexperienced Irish bid refused to wade into murky waters and instead played by the rules

Jordi Murphy: “We are just very lucky in Ireland to be blessed with quite a lot of depth in the backrow”

Ireland player to win cap number 18 since his debut at Twickenham in 2014

Joey Carbery will make his first Test start for Ireland in Saturday’s clash with Fiji. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Joey Carbery is one of the players to come in from the team that hammered South Africa

France 2023: Bernard Laporte celebrates after winning the battle to host the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty

Whatever he might say, French rugby’s wily president is an absolute master politician

The host for the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be unveiled on Wednesday. Photograph: Getty Images

The reaction to Rugby World Cup Board’s recommendation of South Africa as host

Ireland and Railway Union prop Lindsay Peat in action during last year’s Six Nations game against Scotland. Photograph:  Craig Watson/Inpho

Dates of three home games were set to clash with league and cup fixtures

The Ireland women’s rugby squad: “We want to do the best we can for the women’s game in Ireland in terms of giving them a profile and an opportunity to engage with the largest possible audience,” said RTÉ’s head of sport Ryle Nugent. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Friday and Saturday night double-headers ruled out for home Six Nations matches

Ireland’s Johnny Sexton  avoids Andries Coetzee during the Ireland v South Africa match at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Record defeat to Ireland shows need to put greater value on being part of a national team

Ireland’s Andrew Conway collects the high ball in the game against South Africa at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Ireland coach delighted with the performance of midfield debutante Bundee Aki

 Ireland’s Jacob Stockdale scores his  late try. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Victorious Ireland are cool, calm and collected against a woeful Springbok side

South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee after the defeat to Ireland at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

South Africa head coach says ‘it is difficult to explain’ record loss to Ireland

John Robbie in action for Ireland. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Former Ireland scrumhalf says tournament would be ‘marvellous’ for adopted nation

Ireland prop Cian Healy starts his first truly substantial Test match since the Six Nations was captured at Stade de France in 2014. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Prop has secured a starting position in Ireland squad after finding his rhythm again

Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw in action during the Ireland training session at Carton House on Thursday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

‘I didn’t think it was very impressive from a media point of view to be honest’

Bundee Aki will make his Ireland debut against South Africa on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Cian Healy starts ahead of Jack McGrath while Keith Earls out through injury

Ronan O’Gara with Jean de Villers during the latter’s solitary season with the province. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Springbok legend would ‘love to see’ likes of O’Connell and O’Gara on province’s ticket

IRFU chief executive  Philip Browne:  he   queried whether Rugby World Cup Ltd examined reasons for the Commonwealth Games being take out of Durban in a “substantive manner”. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

SA Rugby points to lack of serious crime at country’s soccer and cricket World Cups

Ireland’s Rugby World Cup head of bid Kevin Potts pictures with IRFU chief executive Philip Browne back in March after a two-day site visit by the World Rugby Technical Review Group. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Redacted section of controversial review shows Irish bid matched commercial offer and fee

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and  Simon Zebo. “He’s moved to the periphery. But he’s still there . . .,” the Irish coach said this week with regard to Zebo’s situation with the Ireland squad. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Coach has altered thinking of many players, but when he leaves will a mass exodus ensue?

 Bernard Laporte, president of the French Rugby Federation. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

FFR president disregards World Rugby’s endorsement of South Africa

Bernard Laporte: “Some will vote for France despite the recommendation”. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

WR sought assurances, as a positive test in France is considered a criminal offence

The Ireland women’s rugby team were singularly unimpressed by the IRFU announcement of a six-month part-time coach.   Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

IRFU moves to plot a new way forward after six-month part-time coaching plan backfires

Railway Union’s Cliodhna Moloney and Alex White of Old Belvedere in action. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Club wants bylaw on senior status to be amended to include women’s AIL

Women’s club seeking senior status, only granted to clubs with male teams in league

Former women’s development manager at World Rugby Su Carty and Irish rugby player Niamh Briggs. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Union makes no update to ad seeking ‘part-time casual’ head coach despite concerns

A view of a ‘Legacy?’ wristband worn by players during Old Belvedere’s match with Blackrock on Sunday. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Group will make recommendations about strategies for development and growth

 A view of a ‘Legacy?’ wristband worn by players during Old Belvedere’s match with  Blackrock on Sunday. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

RPI were previously only linked to female amateur players on a support basis

Garry Ringrose: hopes he could make the Argentina Test on November 25th are fast receding. Photograph: Inpho

Leinster coach Leo Cullen says Leinster centre will return to action in December

 “Legacy” wristbands:  Players are insistent that the World Cup, hosted in UCD and Belfast, showed the importance of filling the currently vacant position with a highly qualified, full-time professional coach. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

‘Legacy’ wristband campaign aimed at highlighting union’s ‘kick in the teeth’

  Leinster’s Johnny Sexton tackles Sam Johnson of Glasgow Warriors      during the European Rugby Champions Cup game in      Scotstoun Stadium  in Glasgow. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty

Sexton avoids concussion in brutal encounter with four forced off with head injuries

Players from Wasps Ladies show their support for the #Legacy? campaign on Saturday. Photograph: @Waspsladies

Wrist band campaign against IRFU treatment of women’s game goes international

Johnny Sexton celebrates his second half try in Leinster’s bonus point win over Glasgow. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Province run in four tries once again to all but end Warriors’ Champions Cup hopes

Shane Jennings: “Rugby players are very self-critical but we have to learn to be patient, to accept we are not good at what we do [after the game] and just try to get better.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

‘The key was to be part of a winning culture. And then just leave it’ says ex-Leinster man

Johnny Sexton returns to the Leinster XV for the trip to play Glasgow Warriors. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Johnny Sexton back in the saddle as Stuart Hogg returns looking to keep Glasgow alive

“The decision to return the coaching role to a part-time basis follows feedback from coaches the IRFU has spoken with, and a further decision on the nature of this role will be completed post the 2018 Six Nations.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

New candidate will also only be offered a six-month contract

Peter O’Mahony addresses the Munster team huddle at Stade Pierre Fabre in Castres. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Munster relieved in the end to prise two points from the visit to Castres

 Munster’s Peter O’Mahony claims a lineout during rhe European Champions Cup clash against Castres at Stade Pierre Fabre. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Erasmus gives seal of approval to the province’s new head coach Johann van Graan

Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus before their Champions Cup clash with Castres Olympique. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

South African didn’t provide any clarity on the situation despite comments from lawyer

Simon Zebo looks to break during Munster’s Champions Cup draw with Castres. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Province begin Champions Cup campaign with error-strewn draw to forget in France

Anthony Foley at Munster training  at UL on October 13th of last year. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

RTÉ documentary tells the story of the Shannon, Munster and Ireland rugby man

Conor Murray and Peter O’Mahony enjoy a lighthearted moment at Munster squad training in Limerick. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Visit to Castres a tough assignment for several of the newer faces in Erasmus’s side

 Munster’s Rassie Erasmus has an encyclopedic knowledge of Top 14 sides simply because  future role as South Africa’s coach  demands it. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Coach expects hard-hitting contest up front in Munster’s Champions Cup opener in France

South African Johann van Graan has been appointed as the new Munster head coach. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Rassie Erasmus will remain on to facilitate a changeover before leaving in November

Simon Zebo: “Simon looks good to go,” said Erasmus. “I think he will be available this weekend.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

JJ Hanrahan may not make match-day squad for the visit to Castres on Sunday

Stuart Lancaster: “My aim is . . . trying to do the right thing on a daily basis, trying to do the right thing for Leinster, trying to improve the players, to improve the environment.” Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Former RFU director of rugby cites decision to fast-track Sam Burgess as a ‘tipping point’

Dr Micky Collins, executive director at University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre (UPMC): “There is clearly something wrong but we don’t know if concussion is the only variable in some of the scary things we are seeing.”  Photograph: by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Symposium hears US experts take issue with the current model adhered to by IRFU

Munster’s JJ Hanrahan is tackled by Johnny Sexton at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Erasmus: ‘We know who is our number one 10 and we will go with him next week’

Munster’s Peter O’Mahony in action during the Guinness Pro 14 game against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Former international Reggie Corrigan had asked the Munster captain about intensity

“If sub-concussive blows are the problem then there are big implications for the way the game is played. All games.”

Damage was suffered despite every player examined being free of concussion symptom

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