Rory Kockott

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Steffon Armitage: last season named European player of the year after helping Toulon win the Heineken Cup and French league title. Photograph: Gaizka Iroz/AFP/Getty Images

England flanker Steffon Armitage is on a 10-man list of foreign players who could potentially be picked to play international rugby for France, accord(...)

Castres players cheer in front of supporters on June 2, 2013, at the Pierre-Antoine stadium in Castres, during a celebration of Castres’ victory over Toulon in the Top 14 rugby final at the Stade de France in Paris the previous day. Photograph:  Remy Gabalda/AFP/Getty Images

Whatever about Greeks bearing gifts, Irish teams and others have long since learned to beware of French teams supposedly cocking a snoot at the Heinek(...)

Paul O’Connell is just one Ireland international who could take his talents abroad now that the Irish tax arrangements have been changed. Photograph: Inpho

The storm enveloping the IRFU is becoming more and more perfect, or imperfect as they might see it. Under an amendment to the so-called McCreevy tax b(...)

“I recall Robert De Niro’s portrayal of Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull and can’t but help think of Martin Moore (and Stephen Archer et al) as they learn their trade.” Photograph: Donall Farmer

According to playwright Diane Grant, it’s better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction. I’m not sure Grant had power plays in p(...)

Leinster’s Dave Kearney and Remi Lamerat of Castres. The French player was yellow-carded for this tackle. Photograph: Inpho

Castres Olympique captain and outhalf Remi Tales politely shrugged through an interpreter. Inclining his head to one side, he puffed out his cheeks, e(...)

Serge Milhas, coach of Castres, looks on during the Heineken Cup defeat of Northampton at the Stade Pierre-Antoine.

It’s a cliché but the current French champions, Castres Olympique, embody the typically French, home and away, Jekyll and Hyde mentality, and this sea(...)

Rory Kockott

A week ago last season’s beaten Heineken Cup finalists rested most of their key men with one eye on a return to European fare. Content enough to emerg(...)

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