A disappointed Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip trudges off the pitch at the Millennium Stadium following Ireland’s defeat to Argentina. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland undoubtedly dodged a bullet by avoiding a brilliant All Blacks on Saturday night, but their stay of execution only lasted another day. The 43-(...)

Chris Henry attempts to break through Argentina’s defence: “It just felt that every time we got the ball, we were chopped.” Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images.

If Ireland were to win the World Cup – actually, let’s not get carried away any more, if Ireland were to reach the final – then Paul O’Connell, Peter (...)

Argentinian fans celebrate their win against Ireland in the Rugby World Cup upon leaving the Trinity Bar in Temple Bar, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

There was one bar in Dublin on Sunday not stunned into silence by Argentina’s whirlwind start to their match against Ireland. The Trinity Bar in Dame(...)

Ireland outhalf Jonathan Sexton, who has recovered from a groin strain, during the captain’s run at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Now it’s win or bust time. If Ireland are to boldly go where no other has gone before, they’re going to have to do it without three warriors up front (...)

New Zealand’s   Keven Mealamu  drives on in the maul against  Argentina during the  Rugby World Cup Pool C match   at Wembley Stadium on September 20th. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

For those lucky enough to be going to Cardiff, you’re in for a treat. But four weeks ago I was sitting in Wembley Stadium when Argentina pushed New Ze(...)

Ian McKinley in action for Zebre against Scarlets:  “The IRFU will allow me to play if I do not wear the goggles, but they will not permit me to play if I wear this essential piece of protective gear.” Photo: Francesca Soli/Inpho

Ian McKinley, the 26-year-old product of St Columba’s and the Leinster academy who has made a remarkable recovery to professional rugby after losing h(...)

South Africa’s Eben Etzebeth (centre left) is pushed towards the try line by team-mate Lodewyk de Jager during the  match against the USA at the Olympic Stadium, London. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA

Heyneke Meyer has seized on a topic – youth – its vigour, its energy and he’s shaking the life out of it. The South African coach has frontloaded hi(...)

In the face of adversity, Ireland’s replacements against France delivered individual moments of calm excellence, particularly Ian Madigan, whose task at outhalf was hugely daunting. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

I first played rugby alongside Paulie O’Connell for the Ireland schoolboys in 1998. Even then you could see a born leader. All he had to do was walk i(...)

Australia’s outhalf Bernard Foley scores a try against England. Photograph: Andrew Winning/Livepic

Australia have been emboldened by a playing philosophy that fundamentally focuses inwards rather than the external considerations, which have been la(...)

The IRFU pays each Ireland player a basic fee for making the Rugby World Cup 2015 squad (between €30,000 and €40,000). Photograph: Fotolia

Should New Zealand retain the Rugby World Cup each player would be due a NZD$150,000 (€87,000) bonus. Many unions competing in the World Cup carry (...)

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