New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock in action with Ireland’s James Ryan during Ireland’s historic win at the Aviva on Saturday. Photograph:  Clodagh Kilcoyne/Inpho

It has ever been thus. Within minutes of New Zealand coach Steve Hansen diffusing Ireland’s win with a shrug, a deadpan, jokey mien and suggesting tha(...)

Sonny Bill Williams will start for the All Blacks against Argentina. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Sonny Bill Williams will play his first Rugby Championship test of the year and prop Angus Ta’avao looks set to make his debut off the bench after St(...)

Warren Gatland’s side head to Eden Park looking to build some momentum. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Blues v British and Irish Lions Venue: Eden Park Kick-off: Wednesday 7.35pm local time (8.35am BST) On TV: Live on Sky Sports This is a bigger ga(...)

Sonny Bill Williams has been named in the Blues starting XV for their clash with the Lions. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty

It is a measure of the importance which coach Tana Umaga and the Blues attach to their encounter with the Lions at Eden Park on Wednesday that akin to(...)

 Sonny Bill Williams in action for the Blues, the Lions’ second opponents of the tour. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty

This summer’s British & Irish Lions tour has been widely acknowledged as arguably the toughest the tourists have ever embarked upon. Playing the (...)

 All Blacks’s Patrick Tuipulotu is tackled by Ireland’s Jared Payne in Chicago last November. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu has been cleared of doping and a provisional suspension lifted, the New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has said.  Tuipulo(...)

Israel Dagg breaks clear to score  a try for New Zealand  in their match against Italy  at Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Italy 10 New Zealand 68 New Zealand put last weekend’s defeat to Ireland to the back of their minds as they put Conor O’Shea’s Italy to the sword as(...)

Conor O’Shea, head coach of Italian rugby team during a training session in Rome. Photograph: Silvia Lore/ NurPhoto via Getty Images

In the immediate aftermath of Ireland’s historic win over the All Blacks in Chicago last Saturday, Conor O’Shea was bombarded with text messages: “He(...)

Ireland celebrate Robbie Henshaw’s try at Soldier Field in Chicago.  Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/AP Photo

I know which camp I’d rather be in before the rematch. The Ireland starting XV will largely get a week off to recover physically and prepare for anot(...)

Conor Murray’s moment of magic helped Ireland to a 17-point half time lead against the All Blacks. Photograph: Inpho/Dan Sheridan

From the outset of Ireland’s victory over the All Blacks in Chicago it was obvious Joe Schmidt’s side had a clear game plan. As many illustrious si(...)

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