Munster’s Andrew Conway celebrates his try against Toulon with team-mates in last year’s quarter-final clash at Thomond Park. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

As they know too well, Munster have not won the Heineken Champions Cup since 2008. They and their supporters may have become a little frustrated with (...)

Sergio Parisse is appearing in his fifth Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Italy Who are they The Italians embarked on a tough schedule in the build-up to Japan that saw them travel to Dublin, where they were competitive ag(...)

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(...)

Keith Earls scores a try despite Adam Byrne’s best efforts. Byrne will play for Ireland sooner rather than later. No harm getting a lesson from  Earls along the way. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

It’s Freshers’ week 1998 and I’m in Stradey Park. In a shed. I’m 18 and surrounded by grizzled old men. Some of whom are over 30. There is barely enou(...)

Johnny Sexton kicks a penalty for Leinster. A team that kicks the first penalty in a European Cup semi-final has prevailed in 19 (59 per cent) matches. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Those who like a punt on rugby are obliged by a myriad of markets and among the most popular are backing on the handicap, the first try-scorer and the(...)

Paul O’Connell, with RC Toulon owner  Mourad Boudjellal, has said being unable to represent the French side is ‘a big disappointment.’ Photograph: INpho

Paul O’Connell has said being unable to play for three-in-a-row champions of Europe RC Toulon is one of the few major disappointments of his glitterin(...)

Italy’s  Tommaso Allan of Italy looks to release the backs during the  World Cup Pool D match against France  at Twickenham Stadium. Photo:  David Rogers/Getty Images

The old adage that ‘if you have a reputation for getting up early you can stay in bed all day,’ is one to which the Italian backs might subscribe g(...)

Toulon celebrate winning the European Champions Cup after beating Clermont Auvergne at Twickenham on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho.

So Toulon are entitled to be labelled the European Cup’s greatest ever team? For a club which only competed in one Heineken Cup prior to its current t(...)

Robert Kitson names 11 provincial players in his all-time European Cup best XV, including former Munster number eight Anthony Foley. Photograph: Getty

Time-travelling is always a temptation at this time of year. This week sees the 20th showpiece final in European club rugby’s eventful history and, in(...)

Italy head coach Jacques Brunel.

So what’s this about Romulus and Remus forming the secondrow partnership for Italy? In historically referring to the twin founders of Rome, it (...)

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