Many of the  attacking skills of great players such as New Zealand’s Jeff Wilson were learned through unsupervised play on the local green or on the school playground. Photograph:  David Rogers/Allsport

I have consciously stayed away from the dregs of social media during the pandemic. The world is depressing me at every glance. Reading tweets from th(...)

Stuart Barnes in action for Bath against Saracens in April 1993. Photograph: Dave Rogers/Allsport

The language of rugby has changed hugely in the past quarter of a century. What used to be a tackle is now a big hit and wingers have wheels or gas as(...)

Alun Wyn Jones and Leigh Halfpenny celebrate after victory for the Lions in the third Test against Australia in Sydney in 2013. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Warren Gatland’s Lions have a chance to win a Test series when they face New Zealand in the third and final match at Eden Park on Saturday. Only the t(...)

Mathieu Bastareaud, who looks leaner and fitter, in action against Canada at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes. Photograph: Reuters

A vaincre sans peril, on triomphe sans gloire. Roughly translated: To win without peril (is) to triumph without glory. There was a time when French(...)

Jonah Lomu destroyed England in the 1995 Rugby World Cup semi-final in Cape Town. Photograph: Getty

The All Blacks progression to the 1994 World Cup semi-finals was as assured as it was fearsome. They cantered through a group containing Ireland and (...)

Gavin Hastings missed a simple kick to give Scotland the lead in the dying stages of the 1991 Rugby World Cup semi-final against England. Photograph: Getty

Scotland’s appearances at the Rugby World Cup always seem to follow in a similar pattern. Hope for a good pool draw, lose against the top seeds, hope (...)

Putting it on the line: Ireland’s Keith Wood powers over for a  try against England in their 2001 Six Nations match. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

It’s the big one, simple as. Ireland against England has a resonance, a sense of history and occasion which surpasses all other Irish fixtures. Be it (...)