Conrad Smith

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International Rugby Players association chief executive Omar Hassanein says players were never opposed to the concept of a world league. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Out of touch, money driven: late last February this combination of sound bites hit World Rugby’s unreleased plans for a Nations Championship. “To sug(...)

IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora at a media briefing in Sydney ahead of Ireland’s final Test match against Australia. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

All roads, and the IRFU’s primary playing strategy, lead toward the 2019 World Cup in Japan. Rightly so, too. The Ireland international squad is the m(...)

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac brings his team to Dublin for this weekend’s Champions Cup semi-final. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Inpho

Wayne Pivac has no doubt that the Scarlets will require a complete performance in their quest for a first European Champions Cup final appearance. Pi(...)

Ian Madigan: “If it did happen that they decided to release me and an opportunity to come back to Ireland came up, it definitely would be something that would excite me.” Photograph:  Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ian Madigan was in Ireland this week in his role as an ambassador for Electric Ireland, sponsors of the Ireland under-20 side. Here is the full transc(...)

    All Black Dane Coles: “I take a lot of pride in my line-out throwing. As a hooker, you’ve got to nail your own set pieces.”  Photograph: Martin Hunter/Getty

Dane Coles’ ball skills are such that, as Joe Schmidt has noted, were the All Blacks hooker to have a “1” in front of the “2” emblazoned on the back o(...)

New Zealand’s Ryan Crotty crosses the line to score late in the autumn international against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in November 2013. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Paul O’Connell insists it is “brilliant scheduling” that Ireland must face the record-breaking All Blacks twice in three weeks. Former captain O’Conn(...)

Dane Coles: the  hooker gave three try-scoring passes against South Africa  in the bonus point win at home which sealed another Rugby Championship title for the All Blacks. Photograph:  Martin Hunter/Getty Images

Looming large and very darkly on Ireland’s horizon are perhaps the greatest rugby team ever. That’s all. Cometh November 5th in Soldier Field in Chica(...)

England’s 10-12 axis of George Ford and Owen Farrell will not win too many collisions, so they are tasked with creating space. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images.

Winning in Twickenham comes down to rugby’s essential non-negotiable: a player either makes or creates space. Go over defenders or ghost past them. W(...)

New Zealand celebrating in Twickenham after winning the World Cup. For all of Dan Carter’s magnificence, Ma’a Nonu was the key figure in delivering tries.Photograph: AFP Photo /Franck Fife

How will this World Cup be remembered? That question must be viewed from two perspectives – the champions and Ireland’s – because each provides vastly(...)

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter  with the Webb Ellis Cup after the All Blacks’ victory over  Australia at Twickenham. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Not like this. That’s what Dan Carter thought when writhing in agony on home soil four years ago. It can’t end at a training session on the eve of the(...)

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