Rugby - TODAY'S STORIES - IRISH EXAMINER

Cool CJ Stander was a bundle of nerves before Ireland debut

His body may have been telling him otherwise but CJ Stander was ready to go again last Monday, desperate to be picked by Ireland for a second time, eager to prove he belongs in Test rugby.

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Paul O’Connell saved my career for sure, says CJ Stander

CJ Stander has more reason than most to appreciate his time playing alongside Paul O’Connell, the Ireland back rower credits the now retired legend with saving his career.

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Fanzone live: Follow the action and reaction to France v Ireland

It’s another big day of Six Nations action so why not kick back and supplement your viewing with our curated blog of the best action and reaction to the game on social media.

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Irish players no longer dream of Paris wins

There was a point in the Irish rugby timeline when even the idea of beating France in Paris was outside the logic of all but the criminally optimistic.

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Andrew Trimble’s healthy helping of fear

Eight minutes gone last week and Ireland’s line looks ripe for a crossing.

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France U20s break Irish resistance

France 34 Ireland 13: First-half tries from Peter Claffey and James Ryan weren’t enough to secure Ireland’s first win in five Six Nations outings, as the French were too good at Narbonne.

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Louise Galvin: Learning from the best to become the best

HAVING spent 12 days living and training at the Sydney Academy of Sport, it is hard not to be impressed by the Australian attitude to sport.

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Virimi Vakatawa: France’s new wing wonder

As Test match debuts go, Virimi Vakatawa’s was something special. It took the 23-year-old France winger just 14 minutes to mark his first international appearance with a try. It was a sweet score, too, stepping inside a defender to dot down for the opening try of France’s 23-21 victory over the Italians.

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The three callers who helped CJ Stander to man-of-the-match debut

In the build-up to his Test debut against Wales last Sunday, CJ Stander said he got three phone calls that helped him prepare for what would be a man-of-the-match performance.

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Nikki Caughey eyes revenge for Pau debacle

It may well be the most notorious train journey in Irish sporting history.

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Starlet Maro Itoje goes from Viva to BMW

England boss Eddie Jones is hoping to turn uncapped lock Maro Itoje into a “BMW”, with the Saracens man set to see action in Rome tomorrow.

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Scotland desperate to end Welsh hoodoo

Scotland are desperate to shake off their Six Nations losers tag today against Wales, says back-rower David Denton.

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Rory Best on alert as French pledge to bleed

Ireland captain Rory Best has warned his team to brace themselves for a massive defensive challenge when they face France in today’s RBS 6 Nations showdown in Paris (2.25pm Irish time).

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Ulster grind way to top of Pro12

Ulster 13 Glasgow Warriors 10: Ulster not so much as stormed back to the top of the Pro12 League, but stumbled to the summit in defeating defending champions Glasgow at the Kingspan Stadium last night.

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Probe into incident after Schools’ Cup concussion controversy

An investigation is underway into an incident which followed a suspected concussion in Thursday’s Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools’ Senior Cup game between Cistercian College, Roscrea and Gonzaga College.

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Ireland Clubs come from behind to eke out victory against France in Paris

France Clubs 12 Ireland Clubs 16: Ireland secured a deserved victory over their French rivals in Paris last night, the Paul Cunningham-coached club team coming from behind to secure a well- deserved win.

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How France and Ireland compare

FRANCE

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Leinster record facile eight-try win over scoreless Zebre

Leinster 52 Zebre 0: They were missing a host of players to international duty, but with a total of eight tries over the course of the action, Leinster recorded a facile Guinness Pro12 victory over Zebre at the RDS last night.

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Brian Walsh searches for consistency as Munster bid to close gap on Connacht

Munster begin an all-important phase of the season at Musgrave Park tomorrow (5pm) where a win over Ospreys will help them to reduce the nine-point gap between themselves and Guinness Pro12 table-toppers Connacht.

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Ronan O'Gara believes Toulon will persuade Paul O'Connell to go to France

His former Ireland and Munster team-mate believes Toulon will be anxious not to miss out on O'Connell's leadership skills.

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John Hayes: French no longer intimidating

Two of the country’s most decorated ex-internationals insist Irish rugby has long ditched any inferiority complex ahead of trips to Paris.

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Double hit of Jefferson Poirot and Uini Atonio set to blast Ireland

France will blast Ireland with the “double hit” of new props Jefferson Poirot and Uini Atonio in tomorrow’s Six Nations battle in Paris, according to Guy Noves.

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Gutsy Connacht back at top of Guinness Pro12

Connacht are back at the top of the Guinness Pro12 after a hard-earned victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade last evening.

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Peter Malone ready for step-up

Peter Malone has coached a winning side in France before, but tonight in Narbonne will be different. He knows that.

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Crescent put icing on cake late on

Crescent 29 Castletroy 3

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Roscrea advance to cup semis

Cistercian College, Roscrea 27 Gonzaga College 17

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Veterans keep Nikki Caughey calm

Ireland’s inexperienced women’s out-half Nikki Caughey thought there would be more nerves on her return to the team against Wales last weekend after a two-year absence with injury.

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Ireland big guns return to action for Leinster

Cian Healy, Mike Ross, and Josh van der Flier have been released from Irish camp to participate in Leinster’s important Pro12 fixture with battling Zebre at the RDS tonight (7.30pm).

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95 minutes prep to face tough French test

Ninety-five minutes. That is all the time Ireland have had this week to prepare to face France in Paris tomorrow as they bid to get their 2016 Six Nations campaign up and running and win back-to-back in the French capital for the first time in 88 years.

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Christians hold off St Munchin’s’ late show

St Munchin’s 7 - CBC 10

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Springbok starlet Marcell Coetzee signs three-year Ulster deal

Ulster have signed young Springbok back-row forward star Marcell Coetzee on a three-year deal, starting next season after the conclusion of the Super Rugby campaign where he will be representing the Sharks.

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Paris holds no fears for Sean O’Brien

Tommy O’Donnell can count himself unfortunate to be demoted on the back of last week’s effort against Wales and yet the heart does flutter a tad faster at the thoughts of the back row Joe Schmidt named yesterday for the Valentine’s weekend date in Paris.

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Warren Gatland hails ‘miraculous’ recovery by Dan Biggar

Wales boss Warren Gatland has hailed Dan Biggar’s “miraculous recovery” that means his fly-half playmaker will resume normal service against Six Nations opponents Scotland tomorrow.

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Bernard Jackman: Experimental French side sure to cause Joe Schmidt a few problems

I wonder what Guy Noves must be thinking this week as he prepares to pit himself against Joe Schmidt for the first time in international battle.

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Paula Fitzpatrick eyes historic first on familiar French soil

Trevor Brennan’s place has been the first port of call for thousands of Irish people visiting Toulouse for well over a decade now so there was nothing unusual in Paula Fitzpatrick and Heather O’Brien seeking him out on arrival last September.

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Tadhg Furlong hoping to play part in Paris mission

Mike Ross has, at least, another week rehabbing at Leinster, Marty Moore is out with a hamstring injury for the entire Six Nations stretch and Nathan White suffered horribly in the scrum during last Sunday’s draw with Wales.

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Rory Scannell aims to kick on with win over Ospreys

Two members of the Scannell clan, Niall and Rory, were glad to have last week to themselves following a hectic schedule of Munster matches stretching back to October.

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Colossus Andrew Porter about far more than just raw power

If you watched Ireland’s U20s take on Wales in Dublin last Friday evening then chances are that the sheer size of the Leinster loosehead prop Andrew Porter stood out every bit as much as the abandon with which Nigel Carolan’s offloading side played.

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Jean-Marc Doussain talks up Irish half-back combination

Ireland’s half-back combination have been put on a par with New Zealand’s World Cup-winning pair by the man aiming to stop them in Paris on Saturday.

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Wily Pat Lam out to avoid trap in Dragons’s den

After a brief respite, Connacht Rugby return to Pro12 action and face an improving Newport Gwent Dragons in Newport this evening (7.30pm).

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Dan Biggar in ‘around the clock’ battle to be fit

Out-half Dan Biggar remains on the road to recovery ahead of Wales’ RBS 6 Nations clash against Scotland this weekend.

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