Ireland’s CJ Stander, Andrew Porter and James Ryan during the anthems before their defeat to Japan at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

A worrying picture is beginning to form of this Ireland pack being ranked below previous Irish versions at World Cups. That theory can be altered over(...)

Michael Kiernan celebrates the drop goal that sealed victory over England and a Triple Crown for Ireland in 1985. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland kick-start their preparations for the World Cup in the first of four warm-up games today as they seek to boldly go where no Irish team has eve(...)

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton are the most decorated Irish half-back pairing ever in international rugby. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Teams evolve. So it was that when the Grand Slammers of 2009, Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell et al, retired, it turned out not to be the end of t(...)

  Jacob Stockdale scores his first try. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Ulster 26 Racing 22 Equally awful collective performances are overshadowed by the magnificence of Jacob Stockdale. For all the problems Dan McFarland(...)

Bundee Aki: will be the focus of special attention  when Ireland take on the All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Johnny Sexton is arguably the greatest and definitely the crankiest in Ireland’s celebrated lineage of outhalves. Every so often, the commentators wi(...)

Gloucester’s Danny Cipriani has received a three-week suspension following his red card for a high tackle on Munster’s Rory Scannell. Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Gloucester outhalf Danny Cipriani has been suspended for three weeks for his high tackle on Munster centre Rory Scannell in last Saturday’s Heineken C(...)

Gareth Steenson in action for Exeter against Worcester at Sandy Park. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty

Munster supporters visiting Devon for the first time this weekend should brace themselves for a strangely familiar experience. A south-west based band(...)

  Geordan Murphy   has been appointed interim head coach of Leicester Tigers following the departure of director of rugby Matt O’Connor. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Dean Richards once dubbed Geordan Murphy the “George Best” of rugby. It is Richards who arrives to Welford Road this weekend with Newcastle Falcons to(...)

 Munster’s Joey Carbery on his debut for the province against the Cheetahs last weekend: his move from Leinster  has provoked more angst, interest and excitement than most. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Maybe it was the tan, maybe it was the ongoing warm rays of summer, but somehow Joey Carbery just didn’t look the same in the all red of Munster, did (...)

Ulster’s Marcus Rea tackles Gerbrandt Grobler of Gloucester. Photograph: Donall Farmer/PA

Ulster 17 Gloucester 29 Even though the result went against them, there was still some feel good factor for Ulster as they ramp-up preparations for w(...)

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