New Zealand’s  Sonny Bill Williams stretches to score the  All Blacks’ third try during the Rugby World Cup Pool B match against  Canada at the Oita Stadium. Photograph:  Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images

Day 13 of the Rugby World Cup. To which the obvious reaction can only be – hang on, are you certain it’s only Day 13? Wasn’t Ireland’s win over Scotla(...)

Japan lock Luke Thompson has great memories from his time in Ireland in 1999. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

“Arigato gozaimasu.” Joe Schmidt speaks more Japanese than his opposite number Jamie Joseph. After Schmidt’s media masterclass in Yumeria almost spinn(...)

Marc Ellis escapes Tsutomu Matsuda during the pool stage game between Japan and New Zealand at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Photograph:  Phil Cole/Getty

In the 1995 tournament, New Zealand thrashed Japan 145-17 at the Free State stadium in Bloemfontein scoring 21 tries in the process. They led 28-0 aft(...)

Japan’s Luke Thompson during the 2015 Rugby World Cup game against the USA at Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester, England.  Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Brighton 2015: spot the Kiwi on 83 minutes, having milled Adriaan Strauss off Japanese ball, all but leaning on the shoulder of Harumichi Tatekawa yet(...)

Racing 92 supporters cheer during the  Champions Cup final against  Saracens at the Stade de Lyon in  May, 2016. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

Beyoncé and Jay Z will put Dan Carter and Racing 92 out of the U Arena on May 5th. Paris can always attract a bigger superstar and Jacky Lorenzetti ha(...)

Munster are given a penalty try after a late tackle by Leicester Tigers’ George Worth on  Jaco Taute at Thomond Park, Limerick. Photograph: Inpho

Munster 38 Leicester 0 The reconstruction of Munster in the image of bygone eras is impossible. Even if the similarities are everywhere; CJ Stande(...)

Former All Black and Munster winger Dougie Howlett.

As the All Blacks leading try scorer of all time, a record he has held since 2007 with 49 tries to his name, Doug Howlett knows a thing or two about t(...)

Nelson Mandela hands the Webb Ellis Cup to South Africa captain Francois Pienaar. Photograph: Getty

Having been excluded from the first two Rugby World Cups in 1987 and 1991 South Africa emergedfrom the dark shadow of apartheid to rejoin the elite in(...)

France produced arguably the greatest World Cup comeback when they beat the All Blacks at Twickenham 1999. Photograph: Getty

In 1987 France, weary from their thrilling semi-final win over Australia, were mere participants in the World Cup final, as New Zealand were coronated(...)

Jonah Lomu swatted away white shirts to score another stunning try against England in Pool B of the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Getty

England’s game against New Zealand in Pool B of the 1999 World Cup wasn’t a must-win, but for both sides life would be far easier down the line if the(...)

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