Victor Vito

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 Raymond Rhule of La Rochelle kicks the ball past Sale’s Simon Hammersley  to score their fourth try during the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final at Stade Marcel Deflandre  in La Rochelle. Photograph: Lionel Hahn/Getty Images

La Rochelle 45 Sale 21 Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle side booked a slot in the Heineken Champions Cup semi-finals after a storming second half saw them (...)

CJ Stander wins a penalty for Ireland in their Six Nations win over Wales. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Necessity being the mother of invention, for the first time ever rugby has been forced to adopt its oft-mooted and much debated global calendar albeit(...)

Pierre Bourgarit (left) of La Rochelle stretches to grab Tom Curry around the face and is sent off  during the Champions Cup  match between Sale Sharks and La Rochelle   in Salford, England. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

It is a long way from Yokohama to Salford, but for England’s Tom Curry the backdrop is incidental. The outstanding flanker was the deserved man of the(...)

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(...)

Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale scores his side’s second try during the European Rugby Champions Cup game against La Rochelle at Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Ulster 20 La Rochelle 13 The timing could hardly have been better as Ulster dug out a performance top-heavy with belligerence, somewhat fitting in th(...)

Jordan Larmour will make his full European debut for Leinster against Glasgow at the RDS. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

On the first of two defining weekends for the Irish provinces in Europe, Leinster and Munster could both qualify for the knockout stages of the Europe(...)

Ulster’s John Cooney is tackled by Botia Veivuke of La Rochelle during their European Champions Cup round two encounter at  Stade Marcel-Deflandre, La Rochelle, France. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

It couldn’t last forever and when the first defeat for an Irish province in the opening two rounds of European rugby arrived on Sunday it was not part(...)

Ulster lock Iain Henderson is tackled during the  Champions Cup match against  La Rochelle at the Marcel Deflandre stadium. Photograph: Xavier Leoty/AFP/Getty Images

La Rochelle 41 Ulster 17 La Rochelle maintained a winning start to their debut Champions Cup campaign by following victory at Harlequins with a 41-17(...)

Andrew Trimble:  will pop up from the blindside wing, taking passes inside or outside outhalf Christian Lealiifano. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

La Rochelle v Ulster, Stade Marcel Deflandre (3.15, Sunday, live on Sky Sports) Ulster’s team selection reveals a little of their mindset, or more (...)

La Rochelle’s South African centre Paul Jordaan  breaks a Harlequins’ tackle during the victory over the English club at Twickenham Stoop Stadium in London. Photograph: Olly Greenwood/AFP/Getty

On the opening weekend that was, there was something old, something new, and something blue. Of all the statements of intent, none was more ominous th(...)

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