Aaron Smith

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Ireland’s  Conor Murray  is tackled by New Zealand flanker Sam Cane. “Underhill and Curry have been pretty impressive,” said Cane. “They’ve both got a huge appetite for hard work, very good skill sets.” Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Gettty

It would probably only deepen the wounds from last Saturday’s quarter-final in Tokyo Stadium were England to dethrone New Zealand in next Saturday’s p(...)

Rory Best:  It was a particularly cruel end   to Ireland’s long-serving hooker’s outstanding career. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Ireland

For Ireland to win, they had to place doubt in the minds of the best team in the world. To do this they needed the very new All Blacks Richie Mo’unga(...)

Ireland’s James Ryan is tackled by New Zealand flanker Ardie Savea during the Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Tokyo. Photograph: Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images

The ghosts of World Cups past are floating about the Ajinomoto stadium. Those who remember are forgiven for feeling like they have been transported ba(...)

Ardie Savea is tackled by Iain Henderson during New Zealand’s win over Ireland. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty

Beauden Barrett He was awarded the man of the match, an award that could equally have gone to Ardie Savea or Aaron Smith. A glorious skill-set - he s(...)

Johnny Sexton during Friday’s captain’s run at the Tokyo Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Rugby World Cup quarter-final: New Zealand v Ireland Kick-off: 11.15am Irish time, Saturday October 19th Venue: Tokyo Stadium How to follow: The Iris(...)

Johnny Sexton walks out for the captain’s run ahead of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final date with the All Blacks. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

Spiky, bullish, funny and calm. If Johnny Sexton can repeat the masterly performance of this lone ranger Captain’s Run in Chofu - way out in deep west(...)

 Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga of the All Blacks run through drills during a  training session at Tatsuminomori Seaside Park  in Tokyo. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

15 Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) Age: 28 Height: 6’2” Weight: 91kg (14st, 5lbs) Caps: 80 The world’s best outhalf is now doing a pretty good job from f(...)

The Ireland and New Zealand encounters define the Joe Schmidt era.

Joe Schmidt’s decade in Ireland has yielded unprecedented success ever since Johnny Sexton orchestrated Leinster’s miracle revival against Northampton(...)

Jordie Barrett starts at outhalf for the All Blacks on Sunday. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Utility back Jordie Barrett will make his first appearance at outhalf for the All Blacks against Namibia in their Pool B clash in Tokyo on Sunday, whi(...)

An offload turned George Bridge into a new All Black sensation. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

I’ve been on the pitch when the All Blacks flick that switch. You are staying in the fight, and still they find a way to break you open. South Africa(...)

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