Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell   celebrates with team-mate Gareth Steenson (left) after scoring a  try during the Aviva Premiership semi-final against Saracens at Sandy Park.  Photograph: Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Strip bare the pageantry, the Tomahawk Chop chant, inflatable or foam replicas, drums, the Red Indian nomenclature that extends to the club’s name, th(...)

 Gareth Steenson:  “We are very excited about the game. We know we have to be on our mettle but we feel we are in a good place.” Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Once upon a time, well 2005 to be precise, there were two young outhalves who competed for the Ireland number 10 jersey at the Under-21 Rugby World C(...)

The South African team line up after the Captain’s Run at the Radisson St Helen’s Hotel in Dublin. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

15 Andries Coetzee Age: 27 Height: 5’11” Weight: 92kg (14st 7lbs) Caps: 9 Points: 0 He has played in every test for South Africa this year. One aspect(...)

Ireland players get ready for the squad photograph after the  Captain’s Run at  the Aviva Stadium on Friday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

15 Rob Kearney Age: 31 Height: 6’2 Weight: 95kg (14st 13lbs) Caps: 76 Points: 67 Last played against Wales in the Six Nations Championship in March an(...)

Ugo Monye: brings a touch of expertise combined with  humour to his analyst’s role.

‘Metaphors be with you,’ could become a catch-cry for sports’ commentators and analysts, particularly those that inadvertently mangle the English lang(...)

 Munster’s John Ryan makes a break  before being tackled by  Paddy Jackson of Ulster: Munster  were  unbeaten away   in matches immediately after the commencement of European fixtures  during the 2012-2016 period.   Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The results from the opening matches in European competition this season have been reasonably kind to the Irish provinces. Leinster charged forward wi(...)

Andrew Trimble:  will pop up from the blindside wing, taking passes inside or outside outhalf Christian Lealiifano. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

La Rochelle v Ulster, Stade Marcel Deflandre (3.15, Sunday, live on Sky Sports) Ulster’s team selection reveals a little of their mindset, or more (...)

Stuart McCloskey:  has been very effective on the gainline so far this season for Ulster. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ulster v Connacht, Kingspan Stadium (7.35, live on BBC 2 and TG4) Let the jostling begin. Although it falls outside the direct focus of securing a (...)

Leinster’s Jack Conan on the attack against the Southern Kings at a sparsely populated Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Photograph: Ryan Wilkisky/Inpho

This column is predicated on information that could be classified under the term “white lies” in terms of offering a skewed perspective on the subject(...)

Ballybunion’s hero Brian Slattery and team-mates (from left) Philip Byrne, Ronan Cross, Frank Geary and Adrian Walsh after their victory in the final of the AIG Junior Cup at Carton House.  hotograph:  Pat Cashman

Facial expressions drawn in a rictus of anxiety, caught in no man’s land between grimace and grin. Divots that would dress a small child fly in all di(...)

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