Leinster supporters during the European Champions Cup semi-final match at the Aviva. Photograph: Sportsfile

Scott Fardy and best laid plans, Racing opt to chop not choke, and rugby at what cost?

Teddy Thomas scores a try for Racing 92 in their Champions Cup semi-final win over Munster. Photo: Nicolas Tucat/Getty Images

Teddy Thomas was sensational in opening quarter of the game as Racing stormed ahead

Munster’s South African lock Jean Kleyn in action at the Chaban-Delmas Stadium in Bordeaux. Photograph: Getty Images

A day to forget for Munster as Champions Cup challenge ended by half time

Ulster’s John Cooney in action against Ospreys – injuries saw the scrumhalf moved to outhalf during the game. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

People will have their own view of at what point in history poor choices were made

  Paddy Jackson  and Stuart Olding:  were acquitted of rape charges but the trial generated unprecedented media interest in Ulster. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

Decision to bar some members of the press came in the wake of rape trial furore

Ireland senior men’s coach, Craig Fulton. Photograph: Mervyn McClelland/Presseye/Inpho

Entering teams in the European Championships has funding implications

Dan Leavy: 'I think if you are second guessing yourself in the backrow, especially as a seven going for the ball you are going to hurt yourself.' Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Backrower throws himself into everything he does – that includes seeing off Seán O’Brien

Robbie Henshaw training with Leinster on Monday. “Robbie is good to go. He has ticked all the boxes he needs to tick,” said Stuart Lancaster. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Luke McGrath in race to recover in time for European Champions Cup semi-final

Seán O’Brien is being assessed ahead of Leinster’s Champions Cup clash with the Scarlets. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Leo Cullen facing potential selection headache as Luke McGrath battles for fitness

Tom Daly returned to competitive action for Lansdowne. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Chris Ashton breaks a Top 14 scoring record, Edinburgh off to a flyer against the Scarlets

Bringing the game into disrepute: Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson in 2016. Photograph: Darren Kidd/Presseye/Inpho

Exeter Chiefs team deny reports that they are in negotiations with Stuart Olding

 Robbie Henshaw  took part in the captain’s run on Friday and also warmed up with Leinster on Saturday before their doomed Pro14 league match with Benetton Treviso. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Centre injured in Six Nations close to being fit enough for Scarlets encounter, says Cullen

 Leinster supporters attending the  European Champions Cup semi-final against Scarlets will pay €25 for the cheapest category 5 ticket. Photograph: Getty Images

Leinster fans will have to pay €35 more for a top end ticket for Scarlets match at the Aviva

Ross Molony at a Leinster  press conference at UCD. “I have ambitions to go further in my career and get a green jersey at some point.” Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Leinster forward is ready for the challenge to get on the pitch despite obstacle of formidable trio

Toulon’s winger Bryan Habana vies with Leinster wing Fergus McFadden during the European Champions Cup rugby union semi-final in April 2015 at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille. Photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images

At 31, winger is unfazed by the arrival of a number of young guns vying for his spot

Sean O’Brien: The Lion’s  return to competitive action will be welcome news for Leinster coach Leo Cullen in advance of the Champions Cup semi-final against  Scarlets. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Flanker hoping to press his claims for inclusion in semi-final clash against Scarlets

 Sean O’Brien could feature for Leinster this week. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Jordan Larmour has recovered from a calf injury and is expected to fully train this week

Luke Madeley scores a goal at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo

Madeley’s execution on strike at the set piece was the difference between the sides at UCD

James Ryan: “I was at every Leinster final,” he says. “I was in the Millennium, Murrayfield and Twickenham. They were all class games.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Lock has played 11 matches with Leinster and eight with Ireland and has won them all

Top of the table Glennane playing third-placed Three Rock Rovers  will be the game of the weekend. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Glennane face Rovers as Pembroke meet Lisnagarvey in semis with final the following day

Leinster’s  Sean O’Brien: “You can’t play with a dead shoulder....There’s no point in going around trying to carry it.” Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Leinster player believes tour to Australia could provide vehicle to rise to Test rugby again

Joey Carbery and Garry Ringrose after the Champions Cup quarter-final victory over Saracens at the Aviva Stadium.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Former Clontarf stalwart much more than a bit-part player for Leinster and Ireland

Munster’s Conor Murray protests before being awarded a try during the Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulon. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

Captain praises province’s efforts in defeat of Toulon but admits they will have to improve

Leinster’s Johnny Sexton and Tadhg Furlong clash with Saracens’s Owen Farrell. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Sexton comes through unscathed following initial injury concerns in defeat of Saracens

A dejected Toulon captain  Mathieu Bastareaud at the post-match press conference at Thomond Park following the Champions Cup defeat to Munster. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Bastareaud : ‘We had a lot of opportunities and errors with the ball’

Munster captain  Peter O’Mahony celebrates  Andrew Conway’s   try during the Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulon at  Thomond Park. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

‘If you’ve got a squad of players who believe and a club that believes, you can make dreams come true’

Irish eyes with be on the Munster-bound  Tadhg Beirne who goes into the match in the secondrow with a competition high of 14 turnovers for Scarlets. Photograph: Kevin Barnes/Inpho

Wayne Pivic calls on his side to ‘muscle up’ and match the physicality of La Rochelle

 Toulon’s  Malakai Fekitoa celebrates after scoring a try during the 49-0 win over Clermont in the  French Top 14 clash at  The Mayol Stadium in Toulon. Photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP

All Black and Toulon concentrating on what they will bring to the quarter-final clash

Cian Healy: 'If you want to get to the top of this, you have to beat the best. You don’t want to be looking for an easy route.' Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Grand Slam winner relishing showdown with two-time European champions Saracens

Minister for Sport Shane Ross:  review of the current Sports Capital Grants system could see fee-paying schools being excluded in future.  Photograph: Barbara Lindberg.

South Dublin club one of the few hockey clubs to successfully apply for sport capital grant

Shane Ross: “We were determined that we wouldn’t be coming out in front of a committee today and hear that ‘the Minister interfered here’ or ‘the Minister interfered there’.   Photograph: Barbara Lindberg.

Minister for Sports denies any political interference in the relevant allocation process

Newcastle Falcons beat Northampton Saints at St James’ Park. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty

Newcastle reap rewards from St James’ Park fixture, Madigan keeps Bristol ticking over

Leinster’s Dave Kearney goes off injured  during his side’s defeat to Ospreys on Saturday in Wales. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Inpho

Leinster’s Dave Kearney and Munster’s Tommy O’Donnell to miss quarter-final matches

Connacht’s Matt Healy: the winger  has 44 tries in 104 appearances. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Edinburgh travel to Galway with confidence after victory over Munster last time out

Glenanne  can earn a maximum of 12 points from their four remaining matches for a maximum of 48 points

Lisnagarvey can leap over Three Rock Rovers as they have two scheduled matches

Jamie Heaslip: “Chinese whispers came into play post-injury a year ago. All sorts of things were said and some of them blatant lies.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Former Ireland stalwart highlights need for players to control their individual data

Conrad Smith was speaking at an event to mark International Rugby Players Move To Dublin.

Former All Black centre believes Schmidt could coach New Zealand after World Cup

Iain Henderson: has signed a contract extension which will see him continue to play his rugby for Ulster and Ireland until at least June 2021. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Leinster’s Rob Kearney signs contract extension with IRFU that runs to Nov, 2019

 Luke McGrath’s knee injury compounds the issue of what overseas players will play  against Saracens in their European Champions Cup quarter-final on Easter Sunday. Photograph: Byran Keane/Inpho

Leo Cullen may risk Joey Carbery and Jack McGrath against Ospreys before Champions Cup

Ireland’s Jacob Stockdale and Dan Leavy tackle England’s Elliot Daly at Twickenham. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Massive effort from the Irish players as they followed the coach’s defensive template

Michael Conlan and David Berna (black trunks) fight during their featherweights fight at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The 26-year-old eased to a second round TKO victory over David Berna in New York

Centres Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose during the Ireland Captain’s Run, at Twickenham on Friday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Johnny Watterson runs the rule over the 15 players selected as Ireland go in search of a Grand Slam

Munster’s Billy Holland during a press conference: the lock will captain his side for their visit to Murrayfield. Photograph:  Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Johann van Graan makes six changes to side with Billy Holland chosen as captain

No one at the beginning of the season could have seen this Leinster Cup final coming

Three Rock Rovers host underdogs as they target fourth trophy of the season

Conor Murray makes a break during Ireland’s Six Nations win over Scotland at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Scrumhalf says players will have to continue to trust their instincts to land Grand Slam

Rio 2016 Men’s Bantamweight 56kg Quarter-Final:  Michael Conlan makes his feelings known after the decision went to Vladimir Nikitin of Russia. Photograph: Inpho

Irish management were told his chances were gone, claims explosive Rio 2016 report

Ireland’s prop Cian Healy in action against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday.  Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty

Clean bill of health for all the players in the Ireland camp

Conor Murray talks to the media at Carton House on Monday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

‘They’re going to have a lot to play for, a lot of pride as well. Full of world-class players’

Johnny Sexton has three Six Nations Championship wins but is yet to earn a Triple Crown. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

A youthful Ireland have silverware beyond their years but Sexton has a word of warning

CJ Stander claims a lineout ball against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium.  Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

South African excited by the prospect of bidding for a Grand Slam against England

Scotland’s Blair Kinghorn scores their  try despite the  tackle of Ireland’s Garry Ringrose during the Six Nations  match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Bryan Keane/Inpho

‘We all make errors but we certainly played some outstanding rugby today’

Sean O’Brien: has returned from injury and will captain Leinster against the Scarlets in Wales. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Leinster captain will be looking to impress Joe Schmidt ahead of England showdown

Shane O’Donoghue: was on target for Ireland in the 4-1 defeat to world number one side, Argentina. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho/Presseye

Men’s team have suffered a series of heavy defeats, conceding 17 goals in four games

Former Ireland coach Declan Kidney, who is tipped to form a coaching partnership with Les Kiss at London Irish. Photograph: PA

‘It’s good to see them getting back in,’ says Munster and Ireland flanker

Former Scotland captain Gavin Hastings in Dublin ahead of the match with Ireland on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Former Scotland fullback wary of Ireland pack ahead of Six Nations clash in Dublin

Conor Murray and Rob Kearney arrive for training at Carton House. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland scrumhalf content team’s defence is in a good place ahead of dangerous fixture

Jason Quigley in action against James De La Rose in Nevada.  Photograph: Inpho

Former World Amateur Championship finalist defending his unbeaten record

Ireland’s Tadhg Furlong arrives for training at Carton House on Tuesday. Photograph: Inpho

Lions duo likely to return to starting XV for penultimate leg of Ireland’s Grand Slam bid

George Gibney in May 1988 when Ireland swimming coach. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Over 25 years after a court ruled the swim coach could not stand trial for sexually abusing children, the victims of Irish sport’s(...)

Leinster’s Bryan Byrne, Garry Ringrose and Ed Byrne arrive for their encounter with Southern Kings last month. Photo: Gary Carr/Inpho

Bryan and Ed Byrne say they have moments of deeper understanding while on the pitch

Ireland coach Craig Fulton has criticised the format changes at the Hockey World Cup. Photo: Mervyn McClelland/Inpho

Classification matches are gone, meaning teams could go home after three game

Jamie Heaslip: “His medical file was the thinnest of any player in the game. A standing joke. Then a bolt from the blue. That dark irony escapes nobody.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Dynamic number eight had a long and outstanding career with Leinster and Ireland

Dave Kearney and James Lowe take a break from Leinster squad training at Rosemount, UCD. Photograph: Morgan Treacy

Centre now faces a battle to win back starting Ireland jersey from impressive Chris Farrell

Michael O’Reilly became the first Irish athlete to be sent home from an Olympics for failing a doping test. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Athlete was sent home from Rio Olympics after testing positive for methandienone

Donnybrook after the flood lights temporarily went out on Friday night. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Emergency lighting saves the day for Under-20s to delight of Electric Ireland

Seán O’Brien is unavailable for Leinster’s clash with the Scarlets. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Backrow a major doubt for Scotland game, Garry Ringrose unscathed from Kings win

Ireland’s  Jacob Stockdale races away to score the final try against Wales. Photograph: Getty Images

Ulster winger’s sensational start to international rugby continues to gather pace

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

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