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 Chile fans  before the Women’s World Cup match against Sweden in Rennes. Photograph:   Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

World soccer’s governing body Fifa has defended its ticketing policy at the 2019 Women’s World Cup despite seeing average attendances at the first nin(...)

Italy’s Jayden Hayward during the captain’s run at Twickenham Stadium, London. Photograph:  Adam Davy/PA Wire.

It has been England’s party line all week that they are expecting the unexpected today, all too aware of how they were bamboozled by Conor O’Shea’s si(...)

  Chris Robshaw  of Harlequins celebrates as he leads the team off the field following their victory over Bath. Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Time is running out for any newcomers wishing to make a late run into England’s World Cup squad but some familiar names are re-entering the frame. Whi(...)

Ireland’s Seán Cronin is tackled by Italy’s Angelo Esposito and Federico Ruzza during Sunday’s Six Nations round 3 match at Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

For several seasons I’ve felt that what God left out of Italian rugby, Conor O’Shea couldn’t put in, but for much of Sunday’s match it was Ireland lac(...)

Ireland’s Paddy Jackson looks on dejectedly as Italy’s Sergio Parisse celebrates his side winning a late penalty in Rome in 2013. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

By kickoff the best laid plans had begun to unspool. Outhalf Paddy Jackson came in as a replacement for Johnny Sexton, and Ian Madigan had been drafte(...)

 Conor Murray in action against Scotland; his box kicking has been uncharacteristically poor this year.  Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

I have some good news and some bad news. Firstly, here is some good news for Ireland. Italy are terrible. Conor O’Shea is a highly intelligent man o(...)

Ireland’s Johnny Sexton passes the ball to Jacob Stockdale during their Six Nations match against Scotland, at Murrayfield, Edinburgh. Photograph: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire

In Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium I watched Argentina tear Ireland’s RWC 2015 dream apart. For most, the loss of celebrated and world-class players to h(...)

Italy’s fly half Tommaso Allan runs on his way to score a try during their international rugby union test match against Georgia in Florence last November.  Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Mere mention of Michael Bradley provides a reminder of uncomplicated amateur rugby days. Bradley was Ireland’s scrumhalf more often than not from(...)

Johnny Sexton during Ireland’s squad session at Carton House on Tuesday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Like so much else in rugby, Ireland’s kicking game is intertwined with so many other aspects of their game. Normally a weapon, it has thus far been ne(...)

Wales  coach Warren Gatland. Success on tour in Argentina last summer has increased his   options and put pressure on established players who dare not trade on reputation.  Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

Italy v Wales, Stadio Olimpico, 5.45pm (4.45pm Irish time) - Virgin Media 1, UTV Each country had an extended break in the Five Nations, the odd numb(...)

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