Nothing less than a World Cup semi-final appearance in Japan later this year will constitute a good World Cup for Ireland, said a straight-talking David Nucifora, as the IRFU performance director threw down the gauntlet to Joe Schmidt and his squad yesterday.
Warren Gatland can always be relied on to offer a pithy comment or a smartly-aimed barb and they were much in evidence as the Wales coach reflected on a first Six Nations defeat to Ireland since 2014.
Two rounds played in the Champions Cup and only three teams in Europe have chalked up two wins. No surprise that Saracens and Clermont Auvergne have begun in such stellar fashion, but Pat Lam’s men are beginning to show that their historic PRO12 win might not be a one-hit wonder.
Brian O’Driscoll has labelled Leinster’s decision to part company with Matt O’Connor last summer as “rash” as the province turns to World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry to support an inexperienced management setup.