David Kirk

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 Morne Du Plessis leads out his team against the British Lions in 1980 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Photograph: Getty Images

No issue has divided or caused more controversy in rugby than apartheid, and specifically the sport’s links with South Africa and the Springboks while(...)

Joey Carbery: he  had been earmarked for this World Cup in part because he also covered full-back and at a push the role of third choice scrum-half

Nobody died, but it sure as hell felt like someone had. Everyone being dressed in black maybe added to the funereal atmosphere. The news had broken ea(...)

Scrumhalf Aaron Smith’s dynamic contributions have enabled New Zealand to play with the fast tempo that has become their hallmark. Photograph:   Phil Walter/Getty Images

Go through the history of the Rugby World Cup and aside from having a celebrated number 10, the eventual champions invariably have the world’s best(...)

Richie McCaw lifts the Webb Ellis Cup after New Zealand beat France 8-7 in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final. Photograph: Getty

When New Zealand captain David Kirk became the first man to lift the Webb Ellis Cup, on home soil in 1987, it seemed inevitable it was the start of(...)

Conor Murray is confident going into his second World Cup. “We are in a very good place and I don’t think we should be shying away from that,” he says. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

This time four years ago it’s still remarkable to think that Conor Murray went into Ireland’s World Cup preparatory programme as fifth choice scrumhal(...)

Captain David Kirk kisses the Webb Ellis Cup after the All Blacks’ 29-9 World Cup final win over France in 1987. Photograph: Getty

The Rugby World Cup is a devilishly difficult tournament to win. To do so requires countless permutations to work in your favour and as well as talent(...)

John Kirwan scored a stunning solo try in the first ever match at the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Getty

In any sport it tends to be the biggest tournaments which provide the most highlight-reel moments. Better goals or tries may be scored domestically ev(...)

New Zealand beat Italy 70-6 in the first ever World Cup match at Eden Park on May 22nd 1987. Photograph: Getty

Back where it all began. A journey which started in the headquarters of French Railways, Paris, in March 1985 - when the members of the IRFB we(...)

Donegal’s Eammon McGrath tries to evade Monaghan’s Kevin Loughran. Photograph: Inpho

Donegal 4-9 Monaghan 1-5Donegal qualified for their third successive Ulster U21 Football Championship final with a comfortable win over 14-man Monagha(...)

Captain Richie McCaw with team-mates at a New Zealand training session ahead of their Bledisloe Cup match against Australia on Saturday in Sydney. Photograph: Reuters

At 8.05pm local time in Sydney, or 11.05am Irish time on Saturday morning, New Zealand will attempt to establish the longest winning sequence in the (...)