On-pitch success helps IRFU record healthy €1.2m profit
Irish Rugby's stunning season has significantly helped to boost the IRFU coffers as the union recorded a lucrative €1.2m profit at their AGM yesterday.
Irish Rugby's stunning season has significantly helped to boost the IRFU coffers as the union recorded a lucrative €1.2m profit at their AGM yesterday.
It might be a stretch to suggest that Shamrock Rovers were taught a lesson in Europe last night, but even still, this young team will have learned a lot about what it takes to win at this level.
Having played two of the current top three Swedish sides earlier this year, Shamrock Rovers will have a fair idea what to expect from AIK when they arrive in Tallaght this evening (7.05).
Considering Derry City's patchy form on the pitch, the last thing they needed as they embark on their latest European journey were any off-field distractions.
Harry Redknapp has admitted that during his time as Tottenham Hotspur manager, he never believed that Harry Kane would go on to become the...
Leo Cullen has hailed the appointment of Felipe Contepomi as Leinster's new backs coach after it was confirmed that the legendary former out-half will return to the province for whom he played 116 times across a six-year spell.
When Felipe Contepomi packed his stethoscope and left Dublin for pastures new, he did so having laid such strong foundations that returning to the place he called home for six years always felt like a real possibility.
Four years earlier, at the opposite end of the same Millennium Stadium pitch, Peter Stringer fed a Munster scrum, only to cry foul after the infamous 'Hand of Neil Back' brushed the ball from his grasp.
Big moments decide big games, and in the closing stages of yet another enthralling Test in Australia, Ireland ultimately managed to come up with more than the Wallabies did.
As Ireland arrive at the final game of what has been a long season, Joe Schmidt was never likely to have a full deck to pick from, but there are merits to the head coach having his hand somewhat forced.
Former Wales international Jonathan Davies was amongst the raft of people to hit out at World Rugby's decision not to ban Ofa Tu'ungafasi for his dangerous tackle on Remy Grosso.
It was interesting to hear Bryan Habana laud Australia's win, as the legendary Springbok winger claimed that this was a very good Ireland team, who were only shorn of one or two first-choice...
The gulf in class between both teams was evident from start to finish, yet Ireland will live to regret the manner in which they gifted Norway two sloppy goals from set-pieces, to all but end their...
The gulf in class between both teams was evident from start to finish, yet Ireland will live to regret the manner in which they gifted Norway two...
Damien Duff has offered a withering assessment of the current state of Irish football as he insists that on the back of both Leinster and Ireland's successes this season, most youngsters nowadays want to...
The IRFU's director of women's and sevens rugby Anthony Eddy has admitted that he was "surprised" by the fallout from the union's decision not to take up an offer from their Australian counterparts to send the women's union team on tour last month.
Neil Cronin makes no bones about it - he was convinced that his dream of earning a professional contract had been and gone.
Ulster have still not given up hope of having Dan McFarland in situ before January, despite Simon Easterby taking on an interim role until their new head coach arrives.
After appearing at three World Cups, Graeme Souness knows a thing or two about painful early exits, and while Scotland's eliminations weren't exactly on the same scale as Germany's in Russia, the former midfield general could see it coming.
Graeme Souness remains unimpressed by Paul Pogba and insists that France should merely use him as an 'impact sub'.
Leo Cullen has warned that Leinster face an "incredibly tough" pool in next season's Champions Cup after the defending champions were drawn alongside previous winners Wasps, Toulouse and Bath.
The curious case of Seán Cronin and his quest to force himself into Joe Schmidt's plans as Ireland's starting hooker continued in Melbourne last week when he was left out of the match-day squad.
Back in his home town of Campile, Tadhg Furlong is known as 'The Jukebox' and just when it looked like the hits had run out after a long season, the Wexford town's most famous son found something in reserve to put in another immense performance.
Mike Prendergast will be confirmed as Stade Francais attack and backs coach today.
Rarely have Germany gone into a World Cup with anything other than great expectations and this summer is no different.
Damien Duff insists that the current England squad lack the same kind of passion that Irish players have, and that is what will ultimately be their undoing in what he expects to be another doomed World Cup campaign.
Damien Duff is extremely passionate - that we can say for certain.
Having made his debut in Ireland's 2-0 defeat to France, Derrick Williams is hoping that he made enough of an impression on Martin O'Neill to ensure that it was his first of many caps.
Shane Duffy has backed Declan Rice to become a future Ireland captain.
Ireland goalkeeper Colin Doyle took full responsibility for his error that gifted Nabil Fekir France's second goal in their 2-0 win last night.
As the rain poured from the Parisian night sky, the mercurial Kylian Mbappe glided effortlessly across the sodden turf. Everywhere he turned, Declan Rice followed.
Ireland were outclassed from start to finish in what was an utterly convincing win for France as they ramp up preparations for the World Cup.
The Irish Independent understands that Munster have stepped up their pursuit to sign Joey Carbery, with head coach Johann van Graan having recently met with the Leinster player.
Paul O’Connell is set to leave his advisory role with the Munster Academy, as the former Ireland captain ponders his next move.
A trademark Johnny Sexton death-stare, along with some choice words, were aimed in Scott Williams' direction. The Scarlets centre responded in kind, suggesting that the Leinster out-half keep his mouth shut.
Deep down, Jon Walters knew he was nowhere near 100pc fit, but he had come too far in helping Ireland make it back to a major tournament to throw in the towel that easily.
For all of the thrilling attacking rugby that Leinster played during their demolition job over the Scarlets in last month's Champions Cup semi-final, the foundations for the resounding victory were based on their relentless aggression at the breakdown.
Wayne Pivac has called on his Scarlets side to prove that winning the Guinness PRO12 last season was not a once-off as they look to topple Leinster in tomorrow's decider (6.0).
Prior to Leinster's Champions Cup semi-final win over the Scarlets last month, Academy player Will Connors was the unfortunate chosen one to play the role of Tadhg Beirne during training in the week leading up to the game.
Ken Owens doesn't shirk the reality - his Scarlets side were out-fought, out-thought, and ultimately beaten out the gate on their last visit to the Aviva Stadium.
As preparations for the biggest week of the club's season go, the Scarlets' plans ahead of the Guinness PRO14 final haven't exactly gone well.
Twenty-five appearances for club and country later, 1,023 minutes, a Grand Slam and a Champions Cup medal secured, and yet Jack McGrath's insatiable desire for success shows no signs of abating in the season that keeps on giving.
Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac has urged his fellow Kiwi Joe Schmidt to include Tadhg Beirne in his Ireland squad for next month's three-Test tour to Australia.
Declan Kidney has been confirmed as London Irish's director of rugby, having initially joined as a technical consultant in March.
Of the six fresh faces in the Ireland U-20s squad for the upcoming World Cup campaign, which begins against the hosts France next Wednesday, Caelan Doris's inclusion is a particularly significant boost.
Munster captain Peter O'Mahony defended his decision to kick for the corner when his side trailed 13-8 on the scoreboard with 12 minutes remaining.
Monday morning in Leinster HQ and it is business as usual. But for the gleaming Champions Cup trophy sitting proudly in the reception, you would be forgiven that this was just another week.
Munster have bolstered their back-row options ahead of next season with the signing of South African Arno Botha on a one-year contract.
If things had worked out according to plan, retirement would only now becoming into serious consideration for Niall Ronan.
Jordan Larmour's dream debut season shows no signs of abating as he was rewarded with a Leinster senior contract.
Rory Scannell believes that the gap between Munster and Leinster is not as big as many people are currently making out.
As Leinster sweat over the fitness of the country's undisputed first-choice out-half, Munster are facing a dilemma of their own, as they must decide who their main man will be for Saturday's Guinness PRO14 semi-final.
Waking up in Bilbao on Saturday morning, it’s likely that Racing 92 were the happier of the two teams to see the forecast deluge arrive right on cue.
Five years after winning their first British and Irish Cup, Leinster 'A' will look to win their third this afternoon, before the competition is disbanded.
The personnel in Bilbao tomorrow might well be very different to the side that played in Galway a fortnight ago, but nevertheless Stuart Lancaster has revealed that he dished out a few home truths to players ahead of the Champions Cup final.
Hearing the All Blacks' joint second highest try scorer not only heap praise on a man from Nenagh, but going as far to suggest that Racing's galacticos could learn a thing or two from him, is one of those moments when you just have to accept that life often works in mysterious ways.
Many moons ago, one morning when Pat Whelan set off from Nenagh for Cork, and Donnacha Ryan wasn't at the pair's usual meeting spot, he assumed that his rugby days were over, before they had ever really began.
By the time Scott Deasy made his Munster debut when he replaced Ronan O'Gara against Connacht in December 2009, there was already a fair amount of excitement around a player who many believed was the heir to his fellow Cork out-half's throne.
In three of the last four years, Lansdowne have finished top of the Division 1A table, yet they only have one AIL title to show for it.
And so, Father Time has eventually caught up with the man who never knew when he was beaten.
Now in his seventh season in charge of Lansdowne, Mike Ruddock is perfectly placed to judge the level of talent currently in the All-Ireland League (AIL).
Just as everything was finally beginning to fall into place for Sammy Arnold, another unforeseen setback threatened to derail his considerable progress.
Iain Henderson is a doubt for Ireland's summer tour as the knee injury he picked up in Saturday's draw against Munster is set to keep him out for a spell.
Peter O'Mahony might be "getting tired of learning lessons", yet when the chips were down last week the skipper was the driving force behind getting the players going again.
When Johann van Graan arrived in Munster mid-season, he wasn't naive enough to think that the best approach was to rip up the script and start again.
Racing 92 have been rocked by a double injury blow as French international pair Maxime Machenaud and Dimitri Szarzewski have been ruled out of the Champions Cup final against Leinster on May 12.
Ulster have confirmed that they have signed a new head coach, who the club insist was their number-one candidate throughout a lengthy recruitment process.
At the end of a pulsating 80 minutes at Thomond Park, one side were left feeling like they had won the game, while the other headed back up north wondering what might have been.
Munster have confirmed that Gerbrandt Grobler will leave the province this summer, when his contract expires.
Ulster's trophyless run will enter its 13th year, as they failed to pick up the bonus point win that they needed to give them any hope of reaching the Guinness PRO14 quarter-finals.
Munster were never likely to field a first-choice team against Ulster, but even still, by making 14 changes, Johann van Graan has not revealed his full hand before a potential quarter-final meeting back in Limerick.
Munster failed to keep up their side of the bargain to give most Irish supporters the dream Champions Cup final, but Leinster believe that could yet be a blessing in disguise.
Like several of his Leinster and Ireland team-mates, Andrew Porter has had to rip up his list of goals for the season and rewrite them.
As the out-half saga rumbles on, Leinster's stance remains the same - they want Joey Carbery and Ross Byrne to stay at the province and neither will be leaving unless they want to.
Munster are set to cut several young players from their academy structures as the province looks to reconsider its intake policy.
The nature of yesterday's 27-22 defeat in Bordeaux will hurt the Munster players the most. Here's how they rated at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.
At the heart of Leinster's three previous European Cup successes has been a grizzled foreign import, and Scott Fardy is well on course to join that special club.
James Ryan's unbeaten start to his professional career goes on, as the hugely impressive 21-year old continues to go from strength-to-strength.
We wondered whether or not Leinster had learned lessons from two semi-final defeats last season, and their response was utterly emphatic.
Leo Cullen hailed his ruthlessly clinical Leinster side, as they easily disposed of the reigning PRO12 champions to book their place in the Champions Cup final.
Leo Cullen hailed his ruthlessly “clinical” Leinster side, as they easily disposed of the reigning PRO12 champions to book their place in the Champions Cup final.
Racing 92 scouting report:
The last time Johnny Sexton sat in the hot seat at the Aviva Stadium press conference room, he had just won his third Six Nations title.
Everything you need to know about Leinster's opponents before today's Champions Cup final.
Leinster have named their team for this weekend's Champions Cup semi-final against Scarlets.
If Racing wanted to view a case study of how best to react to losing a key figure in their coaching staff mid-season, they wouldn't have to look much further than Sunday's opponents.
The knock-on effect of beating Leinster in their own back yard in the PRO12 semi-final last year, and then going on to win the final at the Aviva, is that the Scarlets do not hold any fear of travelling to Dublin this weekend.
There is a lot to admire about the Scarlets and how they go about their business.
Keith Earls looks set to give Munster a huge boost by returning for next weekend's Champions Cup semi-final against Racing 92.
After easily dispatching of one Italian team last weekend, Leinster's aim tomorrow is to repeat the trick against the other.
At the end of yet another really poor Zebre performance last weekend, it was difficult to know where the PRO14 strugglers go from here.
At 25 and working full-time as a teacher, it's fair to assume that Neil Cronin thought his chance of playing professional rugby had been and gone.
Maggie Kelly has soldiered with Tullow since the club introduced a women's team in 2008, through the good days and bad.
Such is the rate at which Ireland are churning out exciting young talents that when one of them gets nominated for a World Rugby player of the year award, you almost expect him to make the step up to the senior side as quickly as the likes of James Ryan and Jacob Stockdale have done.
At the end of an utterly predictable routine victory, Leo Cullen must have been scratching his head at what exactly he learned from his Leinster side thumping a hapless Zebre outfit.
A Saturday afternoon stroll in the park as Leinster's bonus point victory over Zebre cemented their place at the top of Conference B, and ensured that they maintained that winning habit.
James Ryan's modest approach is such that he doesn't handle praise all that well.
With two games against the Italian teams in the lead-up to the Champions Cup semi-final, Leinster could hardly have asked for better preparation.
Joey Carbery has once again reiterated his desire to remain at Leinster, despite a growing suggestion that he may join another province next season in a bid to get more game-time.
If ever you wanted an insight into how the dynamic works between the younger and older players in Irish rugby, Johnny Sexton's exchange with Dan Leavy during the post-match interview offered just that.
After withstanding 77 minutes of brutal physicality, a battered and bruised Sam Arnold wasn't about to throw in the towel.
Even accounting for the fact that this is very much a transitional period for Connacht, Saturday's lacklustre defeat to Gloucester felt like a huge missed opportunity.
Johnny Sexton knew what was coming his way before a ball was kicked at the Aviva Stadium, but even as the Leinster out-half was repeatedly targeted by Saracens, he had to ship more than his usual share of late hits.
The final whistle that was greeted by a deathly silence around what had been a heaving Sportsground told its own story. It will be a while yet before Connacht are dining at the top table of Europe again, and judging by yesterday's evidence that may not be a bad thing.
Connacht's season went up in smoke at the Sportsground this afternoon, as Gloucester dumped them out of the Challenge Cup, to all but end their chances of qualifying for the Champions Cup.
The tattoo on Jacob Stockdale's right arm is a constant reminder of everything in his life that is important to him - family and religion.
During his time as England head coach, Stuart Lancaster would have worked very closely with Mark McCall, so he has seen, at first hand, the excellent work that the former Ulster boss has done at Saracens.
Munster 'A' will put their British and Irish Cup title on the line against Leinster 'A' in what promises to be a mouthwatering derby at Donnybrook this afternoon (3.0).
Kieran Keane looks to his left at the man sitting beside him, pauses, then cracks a wry smile, before answering the question.
When Bundee Aki collapsed in a heap to the Twickenham turf, and a stretcher was immediately called for, Connacht's season momentarily threatened to fully derail.
Ireland and Connacht star Bundee Aki insists that he ignored the criticism that was aimed at him before the Grand Slam success.
Munster have been down this road plenty of times over the years. Injuries galore, a big French team coming to town for a knockout European clash - time to go back to the well again.
Jacob Stockdale has revealed that previous Grand Slam winners Rory Best and Rob Kearney played a key role in motivating the Ireland players ahead of their success at Twickenham last weekend.
In the immediate aftermath of Ireland's stunning win over England last weekend, Joe Schmidt offered a brief insight into how his meticulous mind works.
Fresh from finishing runners-up to Ireland in the Six Nations, the Ospreys will be hoping that their returning Welsh internationals can provide the spark for them to beat Leinster tomorrow evening.