Joe Schmidt

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The Ireland team before their Six Nations defeat to Wales at Principality Stadium, Cardiff. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

No sooner will the die be cast on the 2018-19 season than the countdown will begin to the World Cup when Joe Schmidt unveils a preliminary squad of 45(...)

Munster’s Mike Haley is tackled by Rhys Ruddock of Leinster in last Saturday’s Guinness Pro14 semi-final at the RDS in Dublin. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo

Munster are not Saracens. No other club team are capable of doing what Saracens do so effectively. The Champions Cup final proved as much. As did last(...)

Munster head coach Johann van Graan after the defeat to Leinster in  their Pro 14 semi-final at the  RDS. He  has a point when highlighting that Munster won three more games in the Pro 14 this season than last. Photograph:  Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Come May only two teams, and sometimes it’s only one, do enough to lift silverware. For the rest the season generally ends in a defeat or coming up sh(...)

Can Paul O’Connell be the answer for Munster? Photograph: Dave Winter/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Munster’s purgatory Munster will come back stronger says Johann van Graan. Irish rugby needs this to be true. Leinster playing at about 65 per cent (...)

Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey with Dave Heffernan of Connacht in their Guinness Pro14 quarter-final match at  Kingspan Stadium, Belfast on May 4th. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Perusing the Pro14 statistics from an Irish perspective ahead of the weekend’s semi-final matches, one name – Stuart McCloskey – is at, or near, the t(...)

Mark McCall celebrates Saracens’ Champions Cup win. Photograph: David Davies/PA

It has been a long time since the Rugby Football Union trusted anyone from a high-profile English club side to coach its national team. In theory the (...)

Saracens’ Billy Vunipola scores a try despite the efforts of Leinster’s James Lowe and Luke McGrath in the Heineken Champions Cup final. Photograph: Billy Stickland

Leinster 10 Saracens 20 What was feared duly transpired. This wasn’t quite on the scale of England’s win over Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Februar(...)

Billy Vunipola scores Saracens’ second try against Leinster in the European Champions Cup Final at  St James’ Park, Newcastle on Saturday. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters

Billy Vunipola: an appreciation. Criticism of the sport’s dominant and perhaps smartest figure is equally unavoidable. Interestingly, the source for (...)

Garry Ringrose in action against Toulouse during the  Heineken Champions Cup Semi Final at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: INPHO/Billy Stickland

For the fifth time in the last 11 years, Leinster’s chances of winning a Heineken Champions Cup final are noticeably enhanced by having a brilliant nu(...)

Saracens’ Darragh O’Mahony in action in the English Premiership in  2004. He played 142 times for the club. Photograph:  Warren Little/Getty Images

The greening of Saracens part one Saracens teams have included the great and the good of world rugby down through their history and that includes sev(...)

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