Ben Smith of the All Blacks makes a break during the win over England at Twickenham Stadium in London last week. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

“I’ve copped stick ever since really,” says Ben Smith turning to smile at Beauden Barrett. The All Black right wing, who started against England last (...)

Ireland’s Luke McGrath running in to score his side’s second try at Solider Field, Chicago. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

IRELAND 54 ITALY 7 As befitted a half-empty stadium, this could be considered as either a glass half-full or half-empty performance. A slightly curi(...)

 Ireland’s Jordan Larmour gets past Italy’s Michele Campagnaro  to run in his third try during the match at Soldier Field. Photograph: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Joe Schmidt admitted that much of the first-half of Ireland’s 54-7 win over Italy was “stodgy” but this game was lifted out of its ordinariness by the(...)

Ireland players during Friday’s captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Jordan Larmour can bridge the Test match generation gap and produce his “devastating” best on his Ireland debut on Saturday, according to Rory Best. (...)

Jack McGrath, Johnny Sexton and Andrew Porter train at Carton House, Co Kildare. Photograph: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The narrative changed with one flourish of Johnny Sexton’s boot last week, and so it has again this weekend. Wales and England dipped their bread with(...)

 Joe Schmidt this week praised  Joey Carbery’s “incredible balance”. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Joey Carbery is just one of those players who’s invariably good to watch. He glides and seems to have more time on the ball than most. Aside from his (...)

 Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has 14 players unavailable and has to convince the remainder that the All Blacks are beatable. Photograph: Craig Brough/Rueters

Scotland v New Zealand, Murrayfield, 5.15pm - Live on BBC2 & BT Sport 2 New Zealand defeats on European soil are not quite as rare as Scotland wi(...)

Isa Nacewa: “There is a great feeling around Leinster at the minute.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

European Champions Cup quarter-final preview: Leinster v Wasps Venue: Aviva Stadium, Saturday, 3.15pm TV: Live BT Sport At the end of Leinster’s u(...)

New Zealand centre Ma’a Nonu (left) and wing Julian Savea take part in a training session at the Pennyhill Park Hotel in London on Thursday ahead of their World Cup final against New Zealand at Twickenham. Photograph: Getty Images.

Ma’a Nonu has always been a phenomenon but maintaining that explosiveness, or being bothered to live up to his talent, took a little longer. The eye (...)

David Pocock and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe  in last week’s semi-final: Pocock  gave a wonderful display of thievery against Argentina. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

New Zealand and Australia will take the field on Saturday with each bidding to be the first nation to claim a third Rugby World Cup. Fans of free-flo(...)

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