Tony Brown

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New Zealand captain Kieran Read after the defeat to England in the Rugby World Cup semi-final at the  Yokohama International Stadium. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Some get to pen their own exits, be it Brian O’Driscoll to Derek Pender in our neck of the woods, or in Rugby World Cups most recently there was the A(...)

Joe Schmidt’s Ireland tenure came to an end with Saturday’s defeat to the All Blacks. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

Schmidt Happens He shook up the world order. Altered the way Irish rugby is perceived from Samoa to Bloemfontein. He gifted the most important people(...)

Japan’s hooker Shota Horie and fly-half Yu Tamura with Scotland’s centre Sam Johnson  and prop Allan Dell during their Rugby World Cup Pool A match in Yokohama on Sunday. Photograph:  William West/AFP via Getty Images

Only a game, but what a game. Japan and Scotland served up the best of the 37 pool matches in the last of them. After Typhoon Hagibis, which wreaked s(...)

 Japan’s Michael Leitch and South Africa’s  Eben Etzebeth compete for the ball at a lineout during warm-up match at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium in September. Photograph: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

“For one week only, Japan is the enemy,” Rassie Erasmus tells the room while outside, the rain drums the footpaths and the leaves fall. The Springboks(...)

 Michael Leitch and Fumiaki Tanaka of Japan celebrate  following the  Group A victory over Ireland. Photograph:  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Japan are now a serious factor at their own 2019 World Cup. The conditions and the scheduling already in their favour, now, thanks to a brilliantly pl(...)

Japan lock Luke Thompson has great memories from his time in Ireland in 1999. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

“Arigato gozaimasu.” Joe Schmidt speaks more Japanese than his opposite number Jamie Joseph. After Schmidt’s media masterclass in Yumeria almost spinn(...)

It’s been a remarkable rise for Jack Carty, who was well down the out-half pecking order up until a year ago. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Rugby World Cup Pool A: Japan v Ireland Kick-off: 8.15am, Saturday (Irish time). Venue: Shizuoka Stadium. How to follow: The Irish Times liveblog wil(...)

Japan wing Lomano Lemeki put his head on the block when calling Saturday’s game against Ireland. “I think we’ll win 33-26.” Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

The presumption, after Fiji failed to finish off Australia, was that there would be no alarms and no surprises at this World Cup. That was punctured (...)

 Ryohei Yamanaka of Japan makes a break against Russia  during the Rugby World Cup  Group A game between  at the Tokyo Stadium. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Ryohei Yamanaka’s journey to his first World Cup at the age of 31 has been circuitous to say the least. Eight years ago he was a promising outhalf w(...)

Joe Schmidt: “We’re preparing for a team who are playing at home and will do so with real pride.” Photograph: Craig Mercer/Inpho

Away from the madding crowds, the Irish squad have based themselves in a quaintly Japanese version of Carton House. Set in Fukuroi, 34km from Shizu(...)

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