Mike Ross

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Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has been the target of some baleful diatribes on social media. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

The 2002 Six Nations is increasingly providing uncomfortable pointers toward the 2020 version, although it is to be fervently hoped things don’t pan o(...)

 Ireland’s Tommy Bowe celebrates as he scores the late match-winning try against England at Twickenham in 2010. Photograph:  Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Twickenham will never change for me. Strolling up to RFU headquarters on Sunday I know the same uncomfortable feeling will creep to the surface. You (...)

 Jordan Larmour of Ireland during a Six Nations match against France at the Aviva Stadium  in Dublin last year. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Nobody remotely affiliated with Irish rugby wants to meditate over another four-year cycle. But, mustering as much gusto as possible in early January (...)

“You don’t have to win on the scoreboard. You only have to be a good person - who does their best.”

As he launches his new memoir, Joe Schmidt tells Keith Duggan he’ll go back to work at some stage. He’s just not sure what at. It was a humdrum(...)

New Zealand blindside wing forward Ardie Savea was phenomenal as South Africa ran riot over the All Blacks in those opening 20 minutes of their group clash. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Practise the skill and not the drill. And, of course, the crucial decision-making process. In attack or defence, when hunting to convert pressure into(...)

Ireland’s CJ Stander, Andrew Porter and James Ryan during the anthems before their defeat to Japan at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

A worrying picture is beginning to form of this Ireland pack being ranked below previous Irish versions at World Cups. That theory can be altered over(...)

 Australian’s Reece Hodge scores his side’s second try against Fiji. He should already have been off the pitch for a head high challenge on Fiji’s Pejeli Yato. Hodge’s  subsequent ban did little for Yato – or Fiji. Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Rewards? Funny how the USA were the first team to receive a red card. How do lesser teams get their rewards? For instance, is it a reward for Fiji t(...)

Dan Van Zyl  runs the   Rugby Academy Ireland along with fellow South African Johan Taylor. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

“Last spring Academy Director Johan Taylor supervised the laying of a new rugby pitch with the most expensive turf and grass seed available; good job (...)

Now, with Scotland in their sights, all that torture has been moulded into something resembling peak performance. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Small island, big dreams. There’s nowhere to hide on this green rock. Six hours cruising in his vintage mustang can have Jacob Stockdale beside Conor (...)

Greg Feek: “A lot of the guys have had bloody noses. They’ve had some good days and they’ve had some bad days and that’s important for the World Cup as well.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

One of the more interesting conundrums facing the Irish coaching staff is their choice of props for the World Cup. Four would be too little, and thoug(...)

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