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South Africa’s Faf de Klerk scores a try at the  Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Japan in  Tokyo Stadium on Sunday.  Photograph: Andrew Cornaga/Inpho

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Mark Twain. This is a country where size is not everything, whe(...)

Ireland’s  Conor Murray  is tackled by New Zealand flanker Sam Cane. “Underhill and Curry have been pretty impressive,” said Cane. “They’ve both got a huge appetite for hard work, very good skill sets.” Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Gettty

It would probably only deepen the wounds from last Saturday’s quarter-final in Tokyo Stadium were England to dethrone New Zealand in next Saturday’s p(...)

Ireland’s Cian Healy, Josh van der Flier and James Ryan during the Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash with New Zealand in Tokyo. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Barrett clan spent 15 months living in Meath. They played Gaelic football for St Brigid’s while the father, who promised he would “breed All Black(...)

Ardie Savea is tackled by Iain Henderson during New Zealand’s win over Ireland. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty

Beauden Barrett He was awarded the man of the match, an award that could equally have gone to Ardie Savea or Aaron Smith. A glorious skill-set - he s(...)

 New Zealand’s Matt Todd scores a try in the second half. Photograph: Getty Images

Black is the colour. So Joe Schmidt’s six years in charge of Ireland draws to a profoundly disappointing close with the velvet colour of his native Ne(...)

Johnny Sexton walks out for the captain’s run ahead of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final date with the All Blacks. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

Spiky, bullish, funny and calm. If Johnny Sexton can repeat the masterly performance of this lone ranger Captain’s Run in Chofu - way out in deep west(...)

 Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga of the All Blacks run through drills during a  training session at Tatsuminomori Seaside Park  in Tokyo. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

15 Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) Age: 28 Height: 6’2” Weight: 91kg (14st, 5lbs) Caps: 80 The world’s best outhalf is now doing a pretty good job from f(...)

Jordie Barrett starts at outhalf for the All Blacks on Sunday. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Utility back Jordie Barrett will make his first appearance at outhalf for the All Blacks against Namibia in their Pool B clash in Tokyo on Sunday, whi(...)

New Zealand fullback Beauden Barrett  makes a break during the Rugby World Cup Group B game between New Zealand and South Africa at the International Stadium in Yokohama. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

New Zealand 23 South Africa 13 The significance of Ireland’s victory over Scotland on Sunday was heightened by the extraordinary spectacle the day be(...)

 New Zealand’s George Bridge scores the first try. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

New Zealand 23 South Africa 13 Rumours of the champions impending demise may have proved premature. South Africa’s reinvention and rejuvenation unde(...)

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