Mathieu Raynal

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Referee Luke Pearce gestures during the European Champions Cup final  between La Rochelle and Toulouse at Twickenham Stadium. Photograph:  Adrian Dennis/AFP

The US defence secretary under President George W Bush was Donald Rumsfeld. He famously informed us about his “known unknowns”, and also his “unknown (...)

Chris Busby awards Ospreys a penalty during the Guinness Pro 14 game against Leinster at the RDS. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

We all know that a week is a long time in politics. Well, it seems it can be a very short time in rugby. Extraordinary events in Exeter, an epic enco(...)

Jordan Larmour scores a try for Leinster  under pressure from Exeter’s Stuart Hogg  during the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final  at Sandy Park. Photograph:  Michael Steele/Getty Images

Exeter Chiefs 22 Leinster 34 Leinster will be in the open draw for the semi-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup, where they will be the only non-Fre(...)

Ireland’s Bundee Aki leaves the field after being shown a red card by referee Mathieu Raynal. Photograph: Inpho

“I’m sure I’ll wake up soon, it will be Monday all over again and nothing will have even started.” The gist of trainer Henry de Bromhead’s words, aft(...)

CJ Stander carries the ball during the Ireland captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium on Friday ahead of the Six Nations game  against England. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland v England, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, 4.45 – Live on Virgin Media 1, ITV 1 or follow on The Irish Times liveblog from 4.15 In keeping with thes(...)

Louis Rees-Zammit of Wales knocks on  during the Six Nations match against England at the Principality Stadium. Photograph:  Michael Steele/Getty Images

A recent High Court judgment got me thinking. Anyone who sits on that exalted bench has a profound knowledge of the laws of the land, of precedents an(...)

Referee  Pascal Gaüzère gestures during the Six Nations game between Wales and England at the Principlality Stadium in Cardiff. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Despite my impassioned plea to the sports editor for a two-page spread to discuss the goings-on last Saturday, no dice. Let’s go to Cardiff. The mat(...)

Ireland’s defence and breakdown work provided a launch pad to attack.  Photograph: Getty Images

Ireland scored six tries, had three others chalked off, and squandered a handful of opportunities to further boost their points’ differential but the (...)

No-one benefitted more from Ireland’s improved attacking play than the excellent Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose, who looked the class player that he is in his decision-making, running and passing, scoring one and creating the pick of the tries. Photograph: Inpho

Italy 10 Ireland 48 Just what the doctor, and the critics, demanded as Ireland cut loose and found their clinical edge. Helped by perfect Roman condi(...)

Ireland v Georgia: The scrums were shambolic and referee Mathieu Raynal penalised incessantly, without ever changing player behaviour.  Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

The Aviva Stadium saw a poor, grim performance by Ireland, way, way below their international Tier One status. Very hard to watch. Georgia can be more(...)

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