Johnny Sexton celebrates Leinster’s Heineken Cup win in 2011. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Exactly a decade ago, Johnny Sexton starred in a piece of Heineken Cup history at the Millennium Stadium as Leinster completed a stunning comeback to (...)

Joe Schmidt is World Rugby’s newly created “director of rugby and high performance”. File photograph: Getty Images

Schmidt lays down the laws Joe Schmidt is back people! And the referees are his new pet project. Some advice for the Six Nations touch judges and TMO(...)

Ronan O’Gara scores a try in the 2000 Heineken Cup semi-final. Photograph: Inpho

On a glorious sunny day in Bordeaux on May 6th 2000, it was 20 years ago this week, the Red Army was born. It was also the day that Munster truly anno(...)

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(...)

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