La Rochelle

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Referee Luke Pearce gestures during the European Champions Cup final  between La Rochelle and Toulouse at Twickenham Stadium. Photograph:  Adrian Dennis/AFP

The US defence secretary under President George W Bush was Donald Rumsfeld. He famously informed us about his “known unknowns”, and also his “unknown (...)

  La Rochelle coach Ronan O’Gara’s  tactics against Leinster were brilliant. Photograph: Dave Winter/Inpho

In America, they are called “Monday Morning Quarterbacks”. Those who have all the answers on how the weekend’s game should have been won after they ha(...)

La Rochelle    coach Ronan O’Gara: ‘I’m very proud of what this club has . . .  but at the same time, there’s a game to play and you know I’m in it to win. I’m not in it to partake.’ Photograph: Xavier Leoty/AFP via Getty Images

It’s rare for a club to win the Heineken Champions Cup without having cut their teeth and suffered a little pain along the way. Pedigree also counts, (...)

Robbie Henshaw is tackled by Iain Henderson and Nick Timoney of Ulster during the Guinness Pro 14 Rainbow Cup game at the  RDS. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Robbie Henshaw versus Robert Baloucoune. Let’s look at that tackle. Leinster beat Ulster 21-17, that’s four points, but Henshaw’s try-saving tackle i(...)

James Ryan in action against Saracens: Ryan and  Ringrose struggled to find their notes as the curtain was coming down. The physical aspects of the La Rochelle game seemed just out of reach, both of them missing and soaking tackles that we just don’t associate with them.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

A possible knock-on effect of poor performances in European club rugby this season is that some Irish players faded from Warren Gatland’s thinking for(...)

‘Maybe your kids are rubbish at rugby.’

So it’s, like, Sunday evening and I’m sitting at the kitchen table, staring at my maths homework, but unable to think about anything except Leinster v(...)

La Rochelle’s Will Skelton against Gloucester in the Champions Cup Round of 16 at Kingsholm Stadium, England. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/InphoLa

Not the least disconcerting factor for Leinster’s prospects in La Rochelle on Sunday is the presence of Jono Gibbes and Ronan O’Gara in the home coach(...)

La Rochelle’s Ihaia West is fit to start against Leinster on Sunday. Photograph: Manuel Blondeau/Inpho

Champions Cup semi-final: La Rochelle v Leinster. Venue: Stade Marcel Deflandre. Kick-off: Sunday, 4pm local time/3pm Irish. On TV: Live on BT Sport. (...)

Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani, left, celebrates with Paul Pogba after scoring his side’s third goal during the Europa League semi final first leg win over Roma. Photo: Jon Super/AP Photo

It’s Friday morning and a big weekend of European rugby beckons. First, Ulster face Leicester Tigers tonight in the Challenge Cup semi-finals with the(...)

Scotland’s Zander Fagerson is shown a red card by referee Matthew Carley. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Let’s have a debate. Who is for, who is against? “A player who receives a red card may be replaced after 20 minutes.” That is the gist of the law tr(...)

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