Paddy Powers

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France’s head coach Philippe Saint André (right) speaks with his captain Thierry Dusautoir during a training session at Newport High School ahead of the World Cup quarter-final match against New Zealand. Photograph: Getty.

New Zealand v France Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, 8.0 TV3 , ITV No team spooks the All Blacks at the World Cup quite like the French, and with good r(...)

Ireland rugby squad training in Newport, Wales. Coach Joe Schmidt believes game against France will be decided on tiniest of margins. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

This is it then. The World Cup has finally arrived for Ireland and France. From now on, things become altogether more serious. For the winners, a seve(...)

Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip in relaxed mood with head coach Joe Schmidt during the captain’s run at the Millennium Stadium. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

As Jamie Heaslip noted, time was when players re-introduced themselves to the game with a modest pre-season friendly for their provinces, maybe a leag(...)

Jamie Heaslip during Leinster’s captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

It’s hard not to over-play the importance of this fixture. Leinster’s season looks to be distilled into 80 minutes. Dip into their undoubted European (...)

Ireland’s Devin Toner, Sean O’Brien and Paul O’Connell react to referee Wayne Barnes’s decision. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The television companies, the sponsors and the organisers are happy. The 2015 RBS Six Nations will go down to the last day in a three-way shoot-out fo(...)

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt puts his side through their paces during the Captain’s Run at the Millennium Stadium ahead of the Six Nations clash with Wales on Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

In the red corner, a wounded home team with a proven pedigree in this competition in recent times, who are drinking at the last-chance saloon. In the(...)

On your marks: Paul O’Connell will captain Ireland in their decisive tie against England in the Six Nations. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Once again the stakes are huge. Once again the meeting of last year’s top two finds both countries unbeaten. So come the full-time whistle the winners(...)

Ireland Rugby Captain’s Run at the Aviva Stadium yesterday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The prime time weekend slot, and 6,000 French fans amongst a capacity crowd with Ireland seeking a ninth win in a row and seventh at the Aviva Stadium(...)

Paul O’Connell poses with the new Six Nations trophy alongside fellow captains Thierry Dusautoir of France, Chris Robshaw of England, Sergio Parisse of Italy, Sam Warburton of Wales and Greig Laidlaw of Scotland. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

You can’t buy history, and the oldest international tournament in the world, dating back to 1883, returns for the first instalment of a 15-match pr(...)

Wasp’s Andy Goode reacts after missing a late drop goal attempt against Leinster at the Ricoh Arena. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Fortune favoured Leinster over the weekend, and a small fortune is coming their way to boot, but there was almost a final sting in the tale. With the (...)

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