New Zealand after winning the Rugby Championship last year. Photograph: Getty Images

With the Rugby Championship being seen as little more than a World Cup warmup for the southern hemisphere’s top four nations the abridged tournament c(...)

Jack Maunder of Exeter Chiefs  celebrates with fans after the game against Castres at Sandy Park, Exeter. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Exeter boss Rob Baxter is ready for “a fantastic test” when the Chiefs face a Champions Cup showdown against Munster next Saturday. Baxter’s men kept(...)

Exeter winger Tom O’Flaherty  dives over to score his side’s fourth and bonus-point try during the Champions Cup match against Castres  at Sandy Park. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Exeter Chiefs 34 Castres 12 Exeter kept alive their Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final hopes with a 34-12 bonus-point victory over Castres at Sandy(...)

The Castres and Munster packs battle it out during the Heineken Champions Cup match at Stade Pierre Fabre. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Castres 13 Munster 12 The Munster veterans who dogged out dramatic wins on the European stage over the years must have cringed as they watched the cu(...)

Casters forwards celebrate after they turn over a late Munster scrum in their narrow 13-12 Champions Cup win. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Castres 13 Munster 12 Munster were unable to make it a clean sweep of Irish wins for the second weekend-in-a-row when they came up just short in a br(...)

Munster’s Conor Murray is set to start and partner Joey Carbery for the first time for their Champions Cup Pool 2 clash with Castres. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Heineken Champions Cup Pool 2: Munster v Castres Kick off: 1pm, Sunday. Venue: Thomond Park. How to follow: Full coverage on The Irish Times liveblog(...)

 Gerbrandt Grobler in action for Munster ‘A’ last weekend. Photograph: Daniel Matthams/Inpho

Johann van Graan has condemned ‘doping’ in rugby while maintaining that as head coach at Munster he is obliged to treat Gerbrandt Grobler, who has ser(...)

David Kilcoyne: he scored one try, might have had another and gave Munster multiple positive gain-lines in an outstanding display  against Castres. Photograph: Dan Sheridan

Privately players may derive satisfaction and partially measure their effectiveness in a match based on positive statistical data, although publicly l(...)

Simon Zebo looks to break during Munster’s Champions Cup draw with Castres. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Castres Olympique 17 Munster 17 Fitting end to a chaotic affair. The match officials, in their innate wisdom, decreed that Munster replacement Robin (...)

Scarlets players celebrate at the final whistle after their Champions Cup win over Toulon at Parc y Scarlets in  Llanelli. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Scarlets 22 Toulon 21 Leigh Halfpenny missed two late penalties as Scarlets held on to secure a famous 22-21 victory over Toulon in the Champions Cup(...)

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