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South Africa-born Jean Kleyn (third right) lines out with the Ireland team ahead of the game against Italy at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/PA Wire

The residency rule had social media seething this week. South African-born Jean Kleyn was in and Kerry’s Ultan Dillane had been ditched. It struck a n(...)

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt shares a joke with his training squad during an open training session at Thomond Park. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Further pruning of the Irish squad will take place next week following the first of four warm-up games against Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.(...)

Ultan Dillane has left Ireland’s Rugby World Cup training squad. Photograph: James Crombie

Joe Schmidt has named an extended 43-man squad for the first of Ireland’s Summer Series matches on Saturday. Ireland play Conor O’Shea’s Italy at the(...)

Johnny Sexton at Ireland Rugby open training at Thomond Park, Limerick on Friday.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby says that Joey Carbery has shaken off the effects of the hamstring injury that blighted the end of his Munster s(...)

Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey with Dave Heffernan of Connacht in their Guinness Pro14 quarter-final match at  Kingspan Stadium, Belfast on May 4th. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Perusing the Pro14 statistics from an Irish perspective ahead of the weekend’s semi-final matches, one name – Stuart McCloskey – is at, or near, the t(...)

James Ryan (right) with Leinster team-mate Tadgh Furlong following their Champions Cup defeat to Saracens at St James’ Park, Newcastle, last Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland

It is a measure of the esteem in which James Ryan is held by his peers that the 22-year-old Leinster and Irish lock has become the youngest player to (...)

 Darren Cave with Rory Best after both playing their final home game in Ulster’s Pro14 quarter-final win over Connacht at at  Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Ulster 21 Connacht 13 As Connacht know as well as anyone from eviscerating Leinster by a record margin a year ago in John Muldoon’s final game, biddi(...)

Ulster’s Darren Cave and Rory Best leave the field after their win over Connacht at Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ulster 21 Connacht 13 The scoreline certainly doesn’t flatter Connacht, who gave it their all in a throbbing and vibrant Guinness Pro14 quarter-final(...)

Rory Best: all set for a farewell home appearance at Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Craig Watson/Inpho

Ulster v Connacht, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Kick-off: 5.35pm. (On TV: Live on eir Sport)   This intriguing first play-off meeting between them(...)

Rocky Elsom in action for Leinster: “We adopted an under-12s mentality in many games that season [2008-9]. Give the ball to the big fella and pile after him. It worked, especially against Munster at Croke Park.”  Photograph: Graham Stuart/Inpho

There are several reasons for the continued success of the Irish provinces. Home grown talent will always matter. Some brilliant coaching tickets have(...)

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