Angus Gardner

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France’s  Camille Lopez celebrates following the victory over Argentina in the World Cup clash in Tokyo.  Photograph: Franck Robichon/EPA

France 23 Argentina 21 France begin their World Cup quest safe in the eternal knowledge that nothing about them is certain. They possess all the el(...)

Ireland’s CJ Stander runs at Scotland’s Sean Maitland during the Rugby World Cup Pool A game in Yokohama. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

There was much to admire in Ireland’s hard-nosed and ruthlessly emphatic 27-3 victory over Scotland, not least the vindication of the team selection, (...)

Gael Fickou of France is tackled during the Pool C game between France and Argentina in Tokyo. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Argentina 21 France 23 France survived by riding their luck as much as Camille Lopez’s 70th minute drop goal separated these old rivals in a calamito(...)

New Zealand lock Brodie Retallick suffered a serious shoulder injury when he was careered out of a ruck recently. It is an injury that is likely to keep him out of Saturday’s game against South Africa.  Photograph: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

When day breaks next Monday in the Land of the Rising Sun, we will have learnt a lot. Some key matches will be over, including Ireland v Scotland (re(...)

Alain Rolland: With the aid of World Rugby’s elite referee manager, the referees will have worked at  mental strength, fitness, consistency and teamwork. Photograph: Jordan Mansfield

Let’s spare a thought for the 21st team travelling to Japan – the match officials. For the last four years, exactly the same as the players, these wi(...)

Wayne Barnes will referee Ireland’s opening Rugby World Cup fixture against Scotland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Wayne Barnes will referee Ireland’s opening Rugby World Cup fixture against Scotland on Sunday September 22nd. Barnes is a familiar face for the Ire(...)

Wales Dan Biggar and Ireland’s Jacob Stockdale in action during the Six Nations clash in Cardiff. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Wales 25 Ireland 7 To Wales and Warren Gatland go the Grand Slam and the garlands, and deservedly so. Led magnificently by the colossal and remarkabl(...)

Wales coach Warren Gatland following their Grand Slam victory at the Principality Stadium. Photograph: David Davies/PA

The Principality Stadium roof; much ado about nothing until Ireland, being walloped 25-zip, were desperately in need of dry ball. “I think Ireland ma(...)

Ireland’s CJ Stander tries to claim possession of the ball during the  Six Nations match against Wales in Cardiff. Photograph:  Alex Davidson/Inpho

Ireland may not have become a bad team overnight, but it’s fair to say that over the last two months they have stopped being a very good one. The fina(...)

Rory Best: ”We always strive to get better. We haven’t done that.”

Long before the finish of this 25-7 defeat the Welsh fans were laughing in unison. Laughing at Joe Schmidt’s decision to let the heavens into the(...)

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