Stuart Barnes

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Andy Farrell has named a strong side for the Six Nations opener against Wales on Saturday. Photograph: Ryan Bailey/Inpho

A year on, and even a few weeks on, all has changed, changed utterly. The return of a full Aviva Stadium, the anticipated arrival of 8,000 Welsh fans,(...)

Ireland’s  Mark Adair celebrates bowling  Blessing Muzarabani of Zimbabwe during the fourth T20 international at Bready Cricket Club in Magheramason, Co Tyrone. Photograph: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Ireland wrapped up a series win against Zimbabwe with a game to spare at Bready Cricket Club on Thursday, and the 64 runs margin was their third bigge(...)

Craig Young took four wickets for 18 runs in the second ODI against the Netherlands in Utrecht. File photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Netherlands 157 (49.2 ovs) (M O’Dowd 36; C Young 4-18, J Little 4-39), Ireland 158-2 (43 ovs) (A Balbirnie 63no, P Stirling 52, H Tector 30no). Irelan(...)

France’s Gregory Alldritt is presented with the Six Nations Player of the Match award by his captain Charles Ollivon. Photograph: Inpho

15 Anthony Bouthier Leaped over Andrew Conway and offloaded despite Robbie Henshaw’s embrace to spark Ntamack’s try, which more than atoned for a si(...)

Rob Kearney, Brad Thorn and Isa Nacewa celebrate after beating Ulster in the 2012 Heineken Cup Final at Twickenham. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

One of the standout features of this dismembered rugby season was when Damian de Allende and RG Snyman appeared in Munster colours. De Allende, a 28(...)

 Daniel Leo, the former Samoan lock: “I’ve been contacted by four or five high-profile players, in the prime of their careers, Wallabies and current All Blacks, who have said ‘My heart wants to play for my Pacific Island nation – when is that going to happen?’” Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty

Rugby is a cosy cartel. Always has been and recent events suggest it always will be. We are talking about the pandemic and about Bill Beaumont’s re-(...)

Tom Williams of Harlequins walks off with physio Steph Brennan to be replaced by team-mate Nick Evans in the closing stages of the 2009 Heineken Cup quarter-final at The Stoop. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Heineken Cup quarter-final: Harlequins v Leinster, The Stoop, Sunday, April 12th, 2009. The stain of ‘Bloodgate’ may never be removed from Harlequins(...)

England are back in contention for the 2020 Six Nations after Sunday’s crushing win over Ireland. Photograph: EPA

Redemption day; Eyes on the prize; Turbo-charged England back to their best; England land a KO to rekindle Six Nations bid. A selection of Monday mor(...)

Ireland outhalf Johnny Sexton kicks a penalty in the Six Nations game against England at the Aviva stadium in February 2019. Photograph:   Billy Stickland/Inpho

Sitting in the corner of a pub on the outskirts of Taunton is the man whose unseen work could shape the upcoming World Cup. Without him Jonny Wilkinso(...)

Reece Hodge of Australia celebrates his try during the 2019 Rugby Championship test match between Australia and  New Zealand last Saturday. Photograph:  James Worsfold/Getty Images

Uneasy lies the crown. The feeling that this year’s World Cup is undoubtedly the most openly competitive in yonks, perhaps ever, was strengthened by t(...)

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