South African captain Francois Pienaar lifts the William Webb Ellis trophy after the victory over New Zealand in the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final. Photograph: Inpho

Twenty-five years today a group of men sat in the Ambassador Hotel on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris and acknowledged the game was finally up. Rugby uni(...)

Scrumhalf Aaron Smith’s dynamic contributions have enabled New Zealand to play with the fast tempo that has become their hallmark. Photograph:   Phil Walter/Getty Images

Go through the history of the Rugby World Cup and aside from having a celebrated number 10, the eventual champions invariably have the world’s best(...)

Conor Murray is confident going into his second World Cup. “We are in a very good place and I don’t think we should be shying away from that,” he says. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

This time four years ago it’s still remarkable to think that Conor Murray went into Ireland’s World Cup preparatory programme as fifth choice scrumhal(...)