Maro Itoje

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Ireland’s Josh van der Flier against Wales at the Aviva Stadium in their World Cup warm-up. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

It’s always hard to tell with the pre-World Cup phoney war. Extreme results are commonplace, with even the All Blacks as well as Australia and Ireland(...)

Ireland’s Josh van der Flier at the Guinness Series pre-World Cup friendly against Wales at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The dress rehearsals are finally dispensed with and now, at last, comes the real thing. Thank heaven for that. As with most other head coaches, Joe Sc(...)

Ireland’s Rory Best  against  Wales at the Aviva Stadium on September 7th. Photograph:Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Last Saturday’s story centres on lineout management and spatial awareness feeding into the question – where are Ireland on their World Cup preparation(...)

Ireland  captain Rory Best receives a standing ovation as he leaves the field. Photograph: Tom Honan

Rory Best acknowledged the standing ovation with a faint smile and a wave as he departed from the pitch to be replaced by Sean Cronin. He would receiv(...)

 Joe Schmidt:  “I think the great days have been the ones where the players have done something a little bit special, and you’ve seen players grow.”

Today really does mark the end of an era. The Joe Schmidt era at the Aviva Stadium. Previous eras have taken in a detour to Croke Park and the increas(...)

Jean Kleyn got the nod ahead of Devin Toner as a specialist tighthead secondrow. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joe Schmidt’s reasoning for Devin Toner’s exclusion from Ireland’s 31-man World Cup squad is based primarily on scrum power and a belief that Iain Hen(...)

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt during a squad session at Carton House, Co Kildare. On Sunday he will sit down with his assistant coaches to pick a 31-man squad for Japan. Photgraph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Principality stadium in Cardiff on Saturday represents a final opportunity to plea bargain in performance terms for a place in the Ireland squad t(...)

Rory Best:  needs a big game over one of the next two Saturdays against Wales after his  struggles at Twickenham. Photograph:  David Rogers/RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images

Let’s begin by looking at the positives. Things can hardly get any worse, or at any rate this Ireland team can hardly play any worse, can they? Furth(...)

England’s Joe Cokasaniga scores his side’s first try of the game against Ireland during the World Cup warm-up clash at Twickenham, London. Photograph: David Davies/PA

England 57 Ireland 15 True, it was the first hit out of the season for all but three of the side. They were in warm-weather training in Portugal unti(...)

Rory Best endured a torrid afternoon at Twickenham. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Not dark yet, but it’s getting there. Debate surrounding the Ireland captaincy has been ignited by Saturday’s 57-15 humiliation at Twickenham. If(...)

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