Braced: Francois Van der Merwe

SPORTING CLICHES are often abused. Every tournament has a Group of Death and every player is weighed and measured to see if they will be found inferior or capable of…

New generation: Maxime Machenaud

GET THE chopping block ready. Remove the ceremonial stretching-rings. It's time to put my neck on the line. The season has, so far, provided very few genuine shocks. However, as…

Red-hot: Patchell has impressed

COMING OUT from the festive fog, carried on the breath of several days of heartily enjoyed time off work chimes that familiar phrase, ‘Happy New Year’. And happy it may…

Top carrier: Johnson is a key Chief

EUROPEAN RUGBY sometimes feels like a school dance. Some nervous sorts can feel flashes of panic and exhilaration as they stand, seemingly alone on the big stage, while celebrated individuals…

Matthew Rees

With results and incidental occurrences varying throughout the autumn Internationals, it is not a case of saying that there were winners and losers. There is a cost for the smallest…

Work in progress: The Pumas were let down by their lineout

IRELAND WERE superior up front and absolutely ruthless about taking their scoring chances. This record win against the Pumas guarantees Ireland a top-eight seeding for the 2015 World Cup when…

Happy days: Sexton congratulates Bowe

ON 31st July 2010 a young Ulsterman scored the first try in a challenge match to mark the opening of the Aviva Stadium. Another reporter turned to me and said…

World-class: Fernandez Lobbe

A MUCH improved Argentina went to Cardiff a fortnight ago and deservedly beat a faltering Wales 26-12 so Ireland have no excuses for getting caught cold. They know they need…