Joe Schmidt of Ireland gives out instructions ahead of the Six Nations win over Wales. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Coach said it was similar to Italy game with his side becoming a bit ragged after changes

Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton receives attention during the captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Experienced Wales captain and three-time Lion will be unfazed by Dublin showdown

 Serge Betsen, who was called the  Grim Reaper in his rugby days, says the French  controversy in Scotland is a “learning curve” for Jacques Brunel. Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Legendary flanker Serge Betsen sees signs of hope despite losses and discipline issues

With a 23-2 win against Lokomotiv in the Eurohockey Indoor Club Challenge II, Three Rock Rovers  won’t expect such light resistance from Monkstown. Photograph: Inpho

Men’s hockey league: Lisnagarvey are eight points adrift of leaders Glenanne but have two matches in hand

Garry Ringrose trained with Leinster and Ireland this week. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Leinster centre will start on Friday night ahead of an anticipated Ireland return

France’s Antoine Dupont is led off the field for a head injury assessment  during the Six Nations  match between France and Ireland at the Stade de France. Photograph: Christophe Simon/Getty

Doctor says Dupont’s removal in Six Nations clash could raise questions over medics

Luke McGrath will captain Leinster when they take on Scarlets on Saturday. Photograph: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Scrumhalf knows Joe Schmidt may be watching as the province takes on Scarlets

Jonathan Bell: he is one of four ’Garvey players travelling to Malaysia. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho

Monkstown in danger of playing themselves out of play-offs after thumping by ’Garvey

Off the back of a hat-trick against the Southern Kings and signing an extended Ulster contract Craig Gilroy is one of the “left behind” players who could be trying to catch Joe Schmidt’s eye. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Jono Gibbes makes four changes in advance of Edinburgh clash

Michael Bradley: “The former Ireland  scrumhalf coached Connacht for seven years (2003-2010) before moving initially to Georgia. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Former coach Michael Bradley leads struggling Zebre on visit to the Sportsground

James Lowe: “I’m trying to fit in. To me, we just pick a man and try to smash them,” he says of New Zealand. “Over here, it’s sort of ‘sit off and wait, sit off and wait’. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Exciting winger keen to hone his defensive skills as he settles into Leinster system

Ireland’s Magan Williams is tackled by Sofia Stefan of Italy during their Six Nations clash. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

After last week’s defeat to France Adam Griggs’ side weren’t perfect but got the win

Italy’s Sergio Parisse in action  during the Six Nations match against Ireland  at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Azzurri captain: ‘I think Ireland play much better rugby than England for me’

Munster’s Gerbrandt Grobler during a British and Irish Cup match against Nottingham last year. Photo: Daniel Matthams/Inpho

Convicted doper will line out for Johann van Graan’s side when they take on Zebre in Pro14

Fergus McFadden: will pose a threat in Leinster’s attack  against Edinburgh. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Scottish outfit seeking their eighth successive home win across all competitions

Andrew Browne: returns to the Connacht line-up for the clash against Ospreys at the Sportsground. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Large number of absentees sure to weaken Ospreys’ challenge

Alan O’Connor: will to captain Ulster  for the first time against Southern Kings at Kingspan Stadium.  Photograph: Inpho

Pro14 Preview: Ulster v Southern Kings, Kingspan Stadium 7.35pm (Live BBC NI)

Victory for Glennane over Cork C of I would enhance their European ambitions. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Men’s hockey: Victory over Cork C of I could push Dublin side over 30 points

Carl Frampton is among the fighters linked to MTK Global. Photograph: William Cherry/Inpho

CEO Sandra Vaughan cites ‘witch-hunt’ of some stable fighters as reason for decision

Peter Sherrard has moved from his position in the FAI to be the new CEO of the OCI. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

New chief executive moves into the role from his position as operations director at the FAI

CJ Stander on the charge for Ireland against France’s Anthony Belleau at Stade de France last Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Number eight cites the performance of Dan Leavy off the bench at Stade de France

CJ Stander: “We’ve been in situations before and we learned out of that to take it into the game like this.” Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

Ireland number eight admits going into a ‘deep, dark place’ during dramatic endgame

England’s Owen Farrell has words with Jonathan Sexton in the Aviva Stadium last year. Like Sexton, Farrell demands on the pitch, measures everyone by his own standards. Indoctrinated in needing to be the best in the world, he is a hostage to ambition. Photograph: INPHO

'His development has been exceptional. He’s always had a really high work ethic'

Hockey Ireland chief  Jerome Pels: “We’re very grateful for the support we receive from Sport Ireland.” Photograph: Presseye/Rowland White/Inpho

Overall, senior teams will get extra €50,000 this year to compete in tournaments

 Garry Ringrose knows it will be tough to regain his Ireland place: “There is a long list of guys there and you could put three or four back lines together there that would be worthy of playing in the big games.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster centre dealing well with first injuries his career by following example of elders

Les Kiss has left his role as Ulster director of rugby with immediate effect. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Jono Gibbes to lead coaching team as former Ireland assistant coach steps down

Peter O’Mahony: ‘It’s international rugby and I know how important that is to me. You know how important it is to the French players and the French nation.’ Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Backrower has the angles covered but is aware there could be a backlash coming in Paris

Jack Conan is one of the backrow forwards who have stepped up to take the place of those injured this season. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Jamie Heaslip and Seán O’Brien absent for Paris but replacements mean no reduction in quality

Dejected Ireland players walk off the pitch following their defeat during the RBS Six Nations match between France and Ireland at the Stade de France in February 2016. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Fullback says side’s focus this week will be about the first 20 minutes against Les Bleus

Scotland’s Stuart Hogg celebrates at the final whistle of last year’s Six Nations win over Ireland at Murrayfield. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

‘There is always one team in round one of the Six Nations who doesn’t turn up and unfortunately that was us last year’

 Jessie Barr at the launch of Outdoor Revolution. Ireland’s largest outdoor sports, health and wellness event takes place on March 24th/25th  in the RDS, Dublin.  Photo:Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

An appearance at the 2020 Olympics would soothe pain of missing out on Rio Games

Former Ireland international rugby player Stephen Ferris: “They are the Arsenal of the Premier League. They are the underachievers.”  File photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

Former flanker criticises coaching at province and laments lack of homegrown players

Ireland under-20 players Jonny Stewart, Diarmuid Barron, head coach Noel McNamara, Sean Masterson and Tommy O’Brien. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland under-20 coach will have Paul O’Connell by his side for the Six Nations

Stuart Lancaster: “I would never compromise a team’s defensive cohesion or structure or strength just for a player who has X-factor, a player who can do something in attack but not in defence.” Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Different skillsets have combined to make Larmour a better rugby player, says Lancaster

Pembroke’s Alan Sothern will be a threat to Mossley, with the striker scoring twice last weekend to increase his very impressive 17 goals in 10 IHL games. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Glenanne travel to Queens University while Railway Union face Lisnagarvey

Leinster flanker Josh van der Flier:  “Glasgow are  a really dangerous side.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Flanker excelled against Connacht, making a record 34 tackles and missing none

 Garry Ringrose: recovering following an operation on his ankle. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Furlong should be fit for Leinster’s clash with Glasgow but Seán O’Brien a doubt

Johnny Sexton: “I know the truth and the doctors that work with me know the truth and that’s the main thing.”  Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Insurance issues around concussions raise questions over players’ rights

Sean O’Brien is unlikely to feature for Leinster in the Champions Cup this weekend. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Garry Ringrose’s latest ankle injury setback will keep him sidelined into next month

Leinster’s Joey Carbery: “You can learn from Johnny Sexton and you can always strive and want to beat him.” Photograph: Ryan Wilkisky/Inpho

IRFU head of performance believes the 22-year-old would be well suited to the NFL

Sean O’Brien in action against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.  “I know when I am fit that I can mix it with them all, so that’s what I need to be: fit.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Leinster flanker facing hot competition for starting place as he recovers from hip injury

Munster’s Keith Earls in training in Limerick. The winger has   been laid low in recent days with the bug. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Van Graan bemoans bug spreading through camp ahead of second provincial derby

Home-grown talent Tiernan O’Halloran in action for Connacht against Ulster at the  Sportsground as team-mate Niyi Adeleokun, who was born in Nigeria, looks on. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Influx of talent from other provinces and abroad can only strengthen Irish rugby

Leinster’s Johnny Sexton is to return from the injury he suffered while tackling  Exeter Chief’s Matt Kvesic   in the Champions Cup game at the Aviva Stadium.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Outhalf fit for selection for RDS clash having completed return-to-play protocols

Jonathan Sexton could be back in the Leinster number 10 jersey against Connacht. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Leinster outhalf is back training after missing the St Stephen’s Day win over Munster

Roger Federer poses for photographs as he celebrates winning the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final against Marin Cilic. Photo: Visionhaus/Corbis via Getty Images

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams defied time to shape another year

Katie Taylor catches Anahi Esther Sanchez during their WBA World Lightweight Title fight in  Cardiff. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Bray fighter back on top of the world after win over Anahi Esther Sanchez

Leinster back Jordan Larmour: “Keith Earls is probably another player I’d look up to, I love watching him.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

20-year-old not worried about being left out of Leinster’s Champion’s Cup campaign

Ireland’s Sophie Spence was not included in the squad as the player announced her retirement on Friday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Griggs selects 38 players from 10 clubs as coach looks to put poor World Cup behind him

Ulster’s Darren Cave will earn his 200th cap for the province in their Pro14 clash with Connacht. Photo: Matt Mackey/Inpho

Tiernan O’Halloran comes back into the Connacht side after signing a new contract

Tiernan O’Halloran has signed a  new deal with Connacht. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

The IRFU have confirmed another player to have penned a new deal with the association

Adam Grainger has in the past worked for Sale Sharks,  Saracens and London Wasps. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Grainger takes up role at significant time as national sides prepare for 2018 World Cups

Leinster’s Shane Horgan scores a try in the 30-0 Magner’s League win over Munster in October 2009. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leo Cullen’s side have won four of the last five meetings between the great rivals

Jared Payne: has suffered headaches after training since returning from the British and Irish Lions tour in the summer.   Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland and Ulster centre has not played any rugby since suffering a head injury in June

Scott Fardy: “I wanted to come overseas. I wanted to experience playing European rugby. Ideally . .  with a club playing at the business end.”  Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Like fellow-Aussie Elsom, teak-tough secondrow impressing in Leinster blue

Leinster’s Johnny Sexton leaves the field for a head injury assessment after suffering a knock against Exeter. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Outhalf’s series of head injuries once again a topic of conversation in the sport

Leinster’s Johnny Sexton receives attention during the weekend’s Champions Cup match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: PA

‘Leinster is happy to clarify that he failed HIA 1 and is currently following protocols’

 Exeter’s Gareth Steenson  takes on   Robbie Henshaw   and Cian Healy  of Leinster  at Sandy Park  last week: “This week it will be a different approach from Exeter,” Henshaw says. “They’re coming to play”. Photograph:  Stu Forster/Getty

Leinster centre commands precision as sleeves are rolled up to give forwards a dig out

Katie Taylor arrives home to Dublin Airport after successfully defending her lightweight title  against America’s Jessica McCaskill. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Bray boxer’s next WBA title defence may be against the experienced Argentinean

Irish hockey faces an expensive year with both teams in World Cup action in 2018. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Bríd Drohan-Stewart to help the association fine-tune their current approach

Jamie Heaslip says a return in  the new year would be “nice”. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Leinster number eight hoping for early new year return but knows it’s not a certainty

Taylor and McCaskill in action. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Bray boxer pushed all the way by Jessica McCaskill in York Hall but emerged unscathed

 Katie Taylor in action against  Anahi Sanchez  in her title-winning  WBA Lightweight bout  at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

World champion expected to beat Jessica McCaskill, but must be cautious

 Cian Healy takes on Matt Kvesic of Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park. “I still feel there is a good bit more to come.” Photograph:  Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Leinster prop gives the game his all after surviving a career-defining scare in 2015

Ireland’s Jason Quigley has joined Dominic Ingle. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The unbeaten Irish middleweight will relocate from Los Angeles to Sheffield

Leinster’s James Lowe has been registered for their Champions Cup clash with Exeter. Photo: Elena Barbini/Inpho

Flanker Rhys Ruddock to see specialist after injuring his hamstring in Sandy Park win

WBA lightweight world champion Katie Taylor with challenger Jessica McCaskill at the pre-fight press conference. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Bray boxer will put her lightweight belt on the line for the first time this Wednesday

TV3 unveils  its presentation team and panel for its coverage of the Six Nations 2018: presenter Joe Molloy, Alan Quinlan, Matt Williams, Shane Horgan, Shane Jennings and Ronan O’Gara. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Incoming Crusaders coach says there is something special about being a one-club player

Ronan O’Gara will form part of TV3’s punditry team for the 2018 Six Nations. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

New Zealand-bound Ronan O’Gara among the punditry team for 2018 tournament

Munster’s Keith Earls and Dan Carter of Racing 92 at the European Rugby Champions Cup round 2 at Thomond Park, Limerick in October. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

The Moyross man is too comfortable in a Munster - and Ireland - shirt to give it all away

 Ireland outhalf Joey Carbery, who is an ambassador for Europcar Ireland, suffered the arm break while playing against Fiji last month. Photograph:   Naoise Culhane

Young Ireland outhalf’s involvement in Six Nations in doubt following bad break

OCI president Sarah Keane: “The board is uncomfortable with the situation. I think we’ve already come out and made our sentiments clear about that.” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

International Olympic Committee insisting he is entitled to a place on the national board

Former OCI president Pat Hickey will remain on the board. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

News comes despite the executive committee not wanting Hickey to remain involved

Munster branding featuring  Peter O’Mahony, Simon Zebo and CJ Stander. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Munster duo have every right to prioritise their own future and that of their families

Pita Ahki: he will make his first start at outside centre for  Connacht as they travel to Italy. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Coach Kieran Keane includes new signing Pita Ahki among his starting side

Darren Sweetnam: back in Munster colours following his return from international duty with Ireland.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

New coach Johan van Graan looking for a first home victory in the Pro14

Gary Ringrose:  he has not played in a competitive game since the Irish tour to Japan last summer. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Kiwi James Lowe to play first match for Leinster on left wing since moving from Chiefs

Ireland’s David Harte could pick up the World Goalkeeper of the Year award for a third time in as many years. Photograph: Freddie Parkinson/Inpho

‘This is the third year in a row for me and each year the feeling just increases’

Tommy Bowe scores Ulster’s opening try in the hard-fought victory over Benetton at Kingspan Stadium last week. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Veteran Ulster winger plays at centre tonight in what may be a sign of things to come

In 2018 the men play in the World Cup in India at the end of the year and will have a number of warm up events in preparation for that. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images for FIH

Things must change if Ireland is to qualify a competitive men’s and women’s team for Tokyo Olympics

Backrow Greg Jones will start for Ulster for the first time when they take on Dragons at Rodney Parade. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Home advantage and pride will hardly be enough for Bernard Jackman’s side

Joe Schmidt’s win ratio is at  70 per cent with Ireland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Success against the other top nations is a standout feature of his time in charge

Dragons head coach Bernard Jackman: “I don’t want to go to Munster, Leinster and Ulster and get hammered but I have to take a medium- to long-term plan.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Determined coach says short-term pain is horrible but necessary to build a stronger side

 Ireland’s Rory Best with Santiago Garcia Botta of Argentina: Best has appeared only twice for Ulster  this season  due to a hamstring injury. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Jared Payne continues to suffer headaches since head injury on Lions’ tour in June

Ireland’s Adam Byrne eyes Argentina’s Joaquin Tuculet under the dropping ball. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

‘I just needed to stay focused on the game. It’s been incredible. I can’t wait to reflect on it’

Ireland’s Johnny Sexton shares a joke at the end of the game. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

With three wins from three, Ireland’s glass is half full after November series

Argentina’s Agustin Creevy during training ahead of the Guinness Series clash with Ireland. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

An experienced Pumas side look to spoil Ireland’s November series party in Dublin

Ireland’s Johnny Sexton at training ahead of the Test match with Argentina. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

James Ryan and Adam Byrne are set for debuts in a team made up of 14 changes

Argentina coach   Daniel Hourcade: “The top teams, you only surprise them once. Now it’s harder. That is our challenge.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Clash with Ireland comes at the end of a long, gruelling season for hard-pressed panel

Three Rock Rovers host Cookstown in the cup on Saturday and Cork C of I in the EY Irish Hockey League on Sunday.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Rathfarnham club in mourning following the death of stalwart Dorothea Findlater

Ireland’s Rob Kearney stands dejected at the end of their quarter-final defeat to Argentina at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Irish fullback says World Cup quarter final can be learned from but not focused on

 Warren Gatland says he has spoken to Sean O’Brien about his comments about the Lions tour. Photograph: Harry Trump/Getty Images

The Tullow backrow questioned Gatland’s preparation leading into the first Lions Test

Ireland’s Ian Keatley kicks a penalty in their Guinness Series win over Fiji.  Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

‘I remember saying to myself that this is probably the last time I will play for Ireland’

Ireland’s CJ Stander acts as scrum half during their Test win over Fiji at the Aviva stadium. Photo: Paul Walsh/Action Plus via Getty Images

‘I like this game, it is physical. If I didn’t love it, I would have played something else’

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

Carbery was originally though to have broken his arm before scans revealed a fracture

Fiji winger  Nemani Nadolo in action for Montpellier against Leinster. “Over the years I just worked on my power. I’ve finally discovered I’m a big boy.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Hulking back will be sticking to his tried and tested method: running straight into contact

Fiji’s lock Leone Nakarawa and Italy’s Sergio Parisse during their  test match at the Angelo Massimino Stadium in Catania, Italy,  on November 11th, 2017. Photograph: Miguel Medina/Getty Images

Olympic Sevens gold from Rio has given Fijians a greater belief in themselves

 Mitch Darling:  he has not featured in the Ireland  side since the 2016 Rio Olympics, having taken a break.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dutch games to mark return of Mitch Darling and Peter Carruth to 20-man squad

Ireland back  Kieran Marmion during Ireland’s victory over South Africa last weekend. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Connacht back likely to be given run out against Fiji and gain his 18th cap for Ireland

Katie Taylor  with her WBA lightweight belt which she won last month. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

‘If she’s as relentless in the ring as she is on social media it should be a great fight’

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