THREE KEY BATTLES
ANDREW PORTER v BILLY WALKER
Later on today in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and soon after in Manchester, England an extraordinarily long rugby season comes to an end. A long overdue end but what a climax for Irish rugby. Turn the clock back to this time last year and the excitement was palpable.
Ireland U-20s head coach Nigel Carolan has made no changes to the match day squad that so impressively dispatched of Argentina in the semi final for tomorrow’s World Championship finale against England (KO 7pm).
He's known as 'JR' in the group and long before this World Rugby U-20 Championship became a glory run for Ireland, James Ryan had set himself out as a player destined to go all the way after series of outstanding performances in the Six Nations.
It says a lot about the leadership qualities of Lucy Mulhall that only a few months after taking up Sevens, she was handed the Ireland captaincy.
Niall Saunders has spent all of his 18-and-a-half years living in Cobham in south-east London, has just signed a two-year deal with Harlequins, but there was never a doubt who he would play his international rugby with if he got the opportunity.
Jerry Sexton has been rewarded for his impressive form with London Irish last season with a permanent deal with the club.
The march by the Irish U-20s to the World Cup final has seen players drawn from all over the country, mainly from the traditional strongholds, but perhaps no club has contributed as much for its size than Sligo RFC.
Supporters hoping to watch Ireland’s bid for glory against England in the World Rugby U-20 Championship have been urged not to go to the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday if they do not have a ticket.
For once, an Irish World Cup dream has been enhanced rather than destroyed by meeting Argentina and the confidence Nigel Carolan's men will get from the manner of this awesome display could be enough to propel them to silverware.
Ronan O'Gara's Racing 92 have an opportunity to end a 26-year trophy drought when they take on Toulon in Friday night's Top14 final.
Ireland assistant coach Conor Twomey said the quality of the displays being produced at the World Rugby U-20 Championship in Manchester is testimony to the work being done all over the country producing young players.
Nigel Carolan's fantastic U-20 side continues to break down barriers and last night became the first Irish side to win all three pool matches in the nine-year history of the competition.
The Ireland Under 20s have progressed to the semi-finals of the World Championships in Manchester after scoring four unanswered tries en route to a handsome victory over a gritty Georgian outfit.
Prop Andrew Porter insists that Ireland can win the World Rugby U-20 crown for the first time, following Saturday's momentous victory over New Zealand.
By the time Nigel Carolan walked across the pitch to the media centre, the one used for his training-ground briefings for the past few years by Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, and will be Pep Guardiola's platform next season, his phone took in 74 messages of...
The cruelty and fine margins in sport were all too apparent at the Park Inn Radisson in Manchester city centre yesterday as Ireland and Wales came to terms with the 26-25 win achieved in such dramatic fashion by Nigel Carolan's men.
Former Leinster hooker Aaron Dundon has been confirmed as the new forwards coach for Grenoble in the Top 14.
Ireland will begin their World Rugby U-20 Championship campaign against Wales in Manchester on Tuesday and while some players will go on to bigger and better things, coach Nigel Carolan has reiterated the importance of leaving the door open for late developers.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall hailed his side's "incredible achievement" after they completed a domestic and European double with a thrilling victory over Exeter in the Aviva Premiership final.
Saracens became the first English club for 12 years to win a domestic and European double as they resisted a thrilling Exeter fightback to retain the Aviva Premiership title.
As three-year-old, Oscar Steenson, daily, greedily gathers an extended vocabulary, dad Gareth can sense more and more the distinctive tongue of his elder boy.
This trip to South Africa by us, the four King's Hospital TY students, has been an incredible experience.
Enniscorthy enjoyed a successful season, winning Division 1A of the Leinster League as well as bagging the Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup, but their agonisingly narrow failure to secure promotion to the AIL will rankle throughout the summer.
With the early bird price of €75 ending in one week, the Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Camps are calling on all boys and girls aged six to 12 to sign up for an action packed fun-filled week of rugby during the summer holidays.
After much deliberation our judging panel arrived at a unanimous decision and the Leinster PRO of the Year winner is Rachael O'Brien.
Zeminar, Ireland's largest youth summit, has announced the launch of its inaugural event at the RDS in Dublin from October 11-13.
Westmanstown RFC was the most recent location to host a girls' rugby blitz and the wet and windy weather conditions didn't deter the 200 U-8, U-10 and U-12 girls who travelled.
New Ross RFC launched their latest team last Saturday as the Dunbrody Warriors were presented to a large crowd in Southknock, together with the patron of the side, Ireland star Tadhg Furlong.
Schalk Burger has been ruled out of the South Africa squad for Ireland's three-Test tour in a fresh blow to new Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.
While the challenge that awaits Ireland at next month's World Rugby U-20 Championship is somewhat daunting, they will face it on the back of plenty of momentum from their Six Nations campaign.
Donnacha Ryan played for an hour as a Munster 'A'/Development side beat Ireland U-20s 26-24 at Thomond Park yesterday.
Ireland U-20s coach Nigel Carolan believes players at the age-grade are behind their rivals from other nations in terms of both skill development and physicality.
Clontarf's title winning season was capped at the Ulster Bank League awards last night as the champions picked up three of the 14 gongs, which were presented by Joe Schmidt at the Aviva Stadium.
Bath have announced the departure of head coach Mike Ford after a disappointing season which saw them finish ninth in the Aviva Premiership.
Bath have released Alafoti Fa'osiliva after he walked free from court having knocked a university student unconscious.
The theme of the 2017 Women's World Cup, which will be held in Dublin and Belfast next summer, is #bringit.
Young children's bodies are not designed for the impact they are taking in rugby matches - and players as young as nine are regularly hospitalised with broken bones, according to a leading surgeon at the Beacon Hospital.
I was delighted to witness Wicklow Rugby Club's maiden Provincial Towns Cup success in front of a bumper crowd at Ashbourne's magnificent Milltown House on Sunday.
Wicklow made history yesterday as they won the Provincial Towns Cup for the first time in their history.
Clontarf won a pulsating Ulster Bank League final, edging out Cork Constitution in a seven-try thriller to lift the trophy for the second time in three years.
The arrival on finals day of two teams with a combined winning streak of 13 games since February has the look of perfect timing about it. So, if you're within shouting distance of Lansdowne Road this afternoon (2.30) - on what's forecast to be a decent day at that - you should...
If last year's Ulster Bank League final is anything to go by, then tomorrow's decider between Clontarf and Cork Con at the Aviva Stadium (2.30) promises to be another cracker.
For the past few seasons, Clontarf have generally had a potent backline but this year they have flourished even more on the club's new 4G surface at Castle Avenue.
Until a few years ago London Irish's jersey discreetly contained the logos of London Scottish and Richmond, a legacy of a nominal merger in 1999 when the latter two clubs went into administration and their Premiership franchises were absorbed by Irish.
Eight places and 29 points separated Cork Constitution and Galwegians in the Ulster Bank League Division 1A table at the end of the season, and with the Connacht club relegated, it will take a huge effort to prevent their opponents sealing an historic fourth straight Bateman Cup triumph.
JJ Hanrahan knew a day would come when he'd need a song to sing and it came the Monday morning after he made his debut for Northampton Saints last October.
Ronan O'Gara will join an illustrious list of names when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame at next Wednesday's Irish Rugby Players' Awards.
From Friday to Sunday, Terenure College RFC will host their annual U-13s European Youth Rugby Festival.
Division 1A table toppers Clontarf ran in four tries to see off the semi-final challenge of UCD 24-10 and move a step closer to their second Ulster Bank League crown in three years.
Brad Barritt admits it will be "the icing on the cake" if Saracens are crowned European champions this season next month.
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ANDREW PORTER v BILLY WALKER
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