Ireland national rugby union team
Overview
 
The Ireland national rugby union team represents the island of Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 (both Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 and Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

) in rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

. The team competes annually in the Six Nations Championship
Six Nations Championship
The Six Nations Championship is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales....

 (which they have won eleven times outright and shared eight times) and every four years in the Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup is an international rugby union competition organised by the International Rugby Board and held every four years since 1987....

, where they reached the quarter-final stage in all but two competitions (1999 and 2007). Ireland is also one of the four unions that make up the British and Irish Lions
British and Irish Lions
The British and Irish Lions is a rugby union team made up of players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales...

 – players eligible to play for Ireland are also eligible for the Lions.
Encyclopedia
The Ireland national rugby union team represents the island of Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 (both Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 and Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

) in rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

. The team competes annually in the Six Nations Championship
Six Nations Championship
The Six Nations Championship is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales....

 (which they have won eleven times outright and shared eight times) and every four years in the Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup is an international rugby union competition organised by the International Rugby Board and held every four years since 1987....

, where they reached the quarter-final stage in all but two competitions (1999 and 2007). Ireland is also one of the four unions that make up the British and Irish Lions
British and Irish Lions
The British and Irish Lions is a rugby union team made up of players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales...

 – players eligible to play for Ireland are also eligible for the Lions. Eight former Ireland players have earned induction into the International Rugby Hall of Fame
International Rugby Hall of Fame
The International Rugby Hall of Fame is a hall of fame for rugby union. It was created in 1997 in New Zealand and is run as a charitable trust with an address at Chiswick in London. Most of the trustees are also inductees. IRHOF accepts new inductees every two years...

, with five of them also having earned induction into the IRB Hall of Fame
IRB Hall of Fame
The IRB Hall of Fame is a hall of fame operated by the International Rugby Board that recognises special achievement and contribution to the sport of rugby union. The IRB Hall of Fame covers players, coaches, administrators, match officials, institutions and other individuals...

.

Outside centre Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll is an Irish professional rugby union player. He is the current captain of the Ireland Rugby team and captained Leinster Rugby until the start of 2008 season. He also captained the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand...

, the current captain and Ireland's current all-time leader in both tries and appearances, is considered one of the best rugby players in the world and led Ireland to only their second Grand Slam in March 2009. He was also captain of the Lions
British and Irish Lions
The British and Irish Lions is a rugby union team made up of players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales...

 on their 2005 tour of New Zealand
2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
In 2005 the British and Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing 7 tour matches against first and second division clubs from the National Provincial Championship series, 1 tour match against the national New Zealand all Māori club, and 3 official test...

, although his on-field captaincy was cut short by a controversial injury in the Lions' first Test. O'Driscoll was succeeded as Lions captain for their 2009 tour of South Africa
2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

 by his current teammate, lock Paul O'Connell
Paul O'Connell
Paul O'Connell is an Irish rugby union player who plays lock for Munster and Ireland. He also captained the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa.-Early life:...

. Keith Wood
Keith Wood
Keith Gerard Mallinson Wood and educated at St Munchin's College, Limerick is a former international rugby union footballer who played hooker for Ireland, the Lions, Garryowen, Harlequins and Munster....

, O'Driscoll's predecessor as Ireland captain before retiring in 2003, was the inaugural IRB International Player of the Year
IRB Awards
The IRB Awards are given out annually by the International Rugby Board, the worldwide governing body for rugby union, for major achievement in the sport. They were first awarded in 2001...

 in 2001.

Ireland's highest ever position in the IRB World Rankings
IRB World Rankings
The IRB World Rankings is a ranking system for men's national teams in rugby union, managed by the International Rugby Board , the sport's governing body. The teams of the IRB's member nations are ranked based on their game results, with the most successful teams being ranked highest...

 is third, which they reached in 2003 and 2006.

Early years

Caid
Caid (sport)
Caid is the name given to various ancient and traditional Irish football games. "Caid" is now used by people in some parts of Ireland to refer to modern Gaelic football.The word caid originally referred to the ball which was used...

 is an ancient sport played in Ireland with strong similarities to rugby; it was played within a defined space and between a predetermined number of players. The Cork-born Reece Lockhart founded a club at Joe's chipper in 1854, in Cork. By 1867, Trinity second XV were playing matches against St. Columba’s College and Hume High Street, two Leinster schools and, importantly for the game in the north of the country, Royal School, Dungannon. Following the adoption of a set of official rules in 1868, rugby football began to spread quickly throughout Ireland.

In 1874, the Irish Football Union (reconstituted as the Irish Rugby Football Union after unification with the North of Ireland Union) was formed. Ireland lost their first test match against England 7–0 at the Oval on 15 February 1875. Both teams fielded 20 players in this match as was customary in the early years of rugby union; it was not until 1877 that the number of players was reduced from 20 to 15. Ireland's first home game was also against England in the same year held at the Leinster Cricket Club
Leinster Cricket Club
Leinster Cricket Club was founded in Rathgar in 1852. The Dublin sports club now hosts tennis, squash, table tennis, bowls and cricket. The Leinster Sports Club complex is situated in the Observatory Lane ground, in the heart of Rathmines...

 in Rathmines
Rathmines
Rathmines is a suburb on the southside of Dublin, about 3 kilometres south of the city centre. It effectively begins at the south side of the Grand Canal and stretches along the Rathmines Road as far as Rathgar to the south, Ranelagh to the east and Harold's Cross to the west.Rathmines has...

 as Lansdowne Road was deemed unsuitable. The first match at Lansdowne Road
Lansdowne Road
Lansdowne Road was a stadium in Dublin owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union that has been the location of a number of sports stadiums. It was used primarily for rugby union and for association football matches as well as some music concerts...

 was held on 11 March 1878 with England beating Ireland by 2 goals and 1 try to nil.

It was not until 1881 that they first won a test, against Scotland
Scotland national rugby union team
The Scotland national rugby union team represent Scotland in international rugby union. Rugby union in Scotland is administered by the Scottish Rugby Union. The Scotland rugby union team is currently ranked eighth in the IRB World Rankings as of 19 September 2011...

 at Ormeau in Belfast. Ireland turned up two men short for their game in Cardiff in 1884 and had to borrow two Welsh players. The first victory Ireland had at Lansdowne Road took place on 5 February 1887. It was also their first win over England, by two goals to nil. On the third of March 1888, Ireland recorded their first win over Wales with a goal, a try and a drop goal to nil.

In 1894 for the first time, Ireland followed the Welsh model of using seven backs instead of six. After victory over England at Blackheath, Ireland won back-to-back matches for the first time when recording their first win over Scotland on 24 February 1894. Ireland went on to beat Wales in Belfast and win the Triple Crown for the first time.

In the 1890s Rugby was primarily a game for the Protestant middle class, the only Catholic in Edmund Forrest’s 1894 team was Tom Crean
Thomas Joseph Crean
Major Dr. Thomas Joseph Crean, VC, DSO was an Irish rugby union player, British Army soldier and doctor. During the Second Boer War, while serving with the Imperial Light Horse, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. His VC medal is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum...

. Of the eighteen players used in the three games, thirteen were from three Dublin clubs –Wanderers, Dublin University and Bective Rangers – and the remaining five were from Ulster. They went on to win the Home international championship
Six Nations Championship
The Six Nations Championship is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales....

 twice more before the old century was out (1896 and 1899), so that by 1900 all four of the Home Unions had tasted success at a game that was growing in popularity with players and spectators.

Twentieth century

Such was the level of interest in the visit of the first All Blacks
All Blacks
The New Zealand men's national rugby union team, known as the All Blacks, represent New Zealand in what is regarded as its national sport....

 team to Dublin in November 1905 that the IRFU made the match the first all-ticket rugby international in history. Ireland played only seven forwards, copying the then New Zealand method of playing a "rover". The game ended New Zealand 15 Ireland 0.

On 20 March 1909, Ireland played France for the first time, beating them 19–8. This was Ireland's biggest victory in international rugby at that time, their highest points tally and a record five tries. 30 November 1912 was the first time the Springboks met Ireland at Lansdowne Road, the 1906 tour game having been played at Ravenhill. Ireland with seven new caps were overwhelmed by a record margin of 38–0, still a record loss to South Africa who scored 10 tries. In 1926, Ireland went into their final Five Nations match unbeaten and with the Grand Slam at stake lost to Wales in Swansea. Ireland again came close to a grand slam in 1927 when their sole loss was an 8–6 defeat by England.

Post war

Ireland's finest hour arguably came in 1948 when, inspired by tactician and fly-half Jack Kyle
Jack Kyle
John Wilson Kyle OBE , commonly referred to as Jack Kyle or Jackie Kyle, is a former rugby union player who played for Ireland, the British Lions and the Barbarians during the 1940s and 1950s...

, they beat France in Paris, England at Twickenham and a 6–0 win over Scotland at Lansdowne Road. They clinched their first Grand Slam
Grand Slam (Rugby Union)
In rugby union, a Grand Slam occurs when one team in the Six Nations Championship manages to beat all the others during one year's competition...

 in the Five Nations with a win against Wales at Ravenhill, Belfast. Ireland were champions and Triple Crown winners again in 1949.

The Irish used only 19 players in clinching the 1949 Championship and Triple Crown, only the fourth time that the Triple Crown had been retained by a home nation.

In 1951, Ireland were once more crowned outright Five Nations champions and were unbeaten going into their final game. They failed to win the Grand Slam or Triple Crown following a 3–3 draw with Wales in Cardiff.

The year of 1952 saw only Ireland's second overseas tour, the first for over half a century – as they headed to Argentina for a nine-match trip which included two Test matches. Ireland won six, drew two and lost one of the matches, their Test record being won one, drawn one.

On 27 February 1954, Ireland were due to play Scotland at Ravenhill
Ravenhill Stadium
Ravenhill Stadium is located in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is used by Ulster Rugby. It has a normal capacity of 12,300 and is owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union.-History:The grounds were opened in the 1923/24 season...

 in Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

. The new Irish captain, Jim McCarthy, told IRFU president Sarsfield Hogan that the eleven Republic-based players would not stand for "God Save the Queen" alongside the Scottish team. It was agreed that an abbreviated anthem, known in Ulster as "the Salute", would be played that afternoon and that the Irish team would never play again at Ravenhill. Ireland went on to beat Scotland 6–0 but did not play in Northern Ireland again until 2007.

On 18 January 1958 Ireland beat Australia 9–6 in Dublin, this was the first time a major touring team had been defeated.

Sixties and Seventies

Ireland managed just three victories in the Five Nations Championship; against England in 1961, Wales in 1963 and England again in 1964. There were also draws against England and Wales at Lansdowne Road to the end of 1964.

1965 saw an improvement as Ireland drew with France before beating England and Scotland, only for their Triple Crown hopes disappear against Wales in Cardiff. On 10 April 1965 Ireland recorded their first ever win over South Africa. The match, held at Lansdowne Road, was heading for a draw with the score at six points each, when Tom Kiernan won the match for Ireland with a late penalty. Ireland beat Australia again in Dublin in 1967 and became the first of the home nations to win in the Southern Hemisphere when they beat Australia in Sydney in May 1967.

On 26 October 1968, Ireland made it four successive wins over the Wallabies with a 16–3 win at Lansdowne Road.

In 1969, Ireland claimed a 17–9 victory over France at Lansdowne Road in the Five Nations, a first victory over Les Bleus in 11 years. They were again unbeaten going into their final game in Cardiff but Wales denied them a Grand Slam for the third time. In the autumn of 1969, the Irish Rugby Football Union decided to appoint a coach for the national team for the first time, the role went to Ronnie Dawson
Ronnie Dawson (rugby player)
Alfred Ronald "Ronnie" Dawson played hooker for Ireland and was captain of the British Lions rugby union team on their 1959 tour to Australia, New Zealand and Canada.Ronnie was educated in St...

.

The 1972 Five Nations Championship
1972 Five Nations Championship
The 1972 Five Nations Championship was the forty-third series of the rugby union Five Nations Championship. Including the previous incarnations as the Home Nations and Five Nations, this was the seventy-eighth series of the northern hemisphere rugby union championship. The championship was not...

 was not completed when Scotland and then Wales refused to play in Ireland following threatening letters to players, purportedly from the IRA
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms and political persuasion...

. The championship remained unresolved with Wales and Ireland unbeaten. In 1973, despite similar threats, England fulfilled their fixture and were given a standing ovation that lasted for five minutes. Ireland won 18–9 and at the after-match dinner the England captain, John Pullin
John Pullin
John Vivian Pullin is a former England international rugby union player. A hooker, he played club rugby for Bristol RFC and captained the England national rugby union team for which he played 42 times between 1966 and 1976...

 famously remarked "We might not be very good but at least we turn up". Ireland came close to a first win over the All Blacks on 20 January 1973 but with the score at 10–10 an Irish conversion attempt was pushed wide by a gust of wind. In the final match of the 1974 season, Ireland won their first Five Nations Championship since 1951.

Roly Meates
Roly Meates
T.W.Roland "Roly" Meates is a former Ireland national rugby union team coach and chairman of the Irish Rugby Football Union board of selectors....

 was national coach from 1975 to 1977 and Noel Murphy from 1977 to 1980. Willie John McBride
Willie John McBride
William James McBride, MBE, better known as Willie John McBride is a former rugby union footballer who played as a lock for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions. He played 63 Tests for Ireland including eleven as captain, and toured with the Lions five times — a record that gave him 17...

 was coach until 1984.

Eighties and Nineties

In 1982 Ireland came close to winning a Grand Slam but were beaten by France in Paris. They beat Scotland, Wales and England to win the championship and their first Triple Crown in 33 years.

Three years after their last Triple Crown win, Ireland, coached by Mick Doyle
Mick Doyle (rugby player)
Mick Doyle was an Irish rugby union international player and coach.Doyle was born in Castleisland, County Kerry, and began playing rugby union at Newbridge College, County Kildare. He went on to study veterinary science at University College Dublin, who he also represented at rugby...

, came out in 1985 and won the Championship and the Triple Crown again. They beat Scotland and Wales. The French again prevented Ireland from claiming a Grand Slam after a 15–15 draw in Dublin. Ireland played England at Lansdowne Road
Lansdowne Road
Lansdowne Road was a stadium in Dublin owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union that has been the location of a number of sports stadiums. It was used primarily for rugby union and for association football matches as well as some music concerts...

 and won the championship with a last minute drop goal from Michael Kiernan. The match ended 13–10 to Ireland. It was Ireland's last silverware until 2004.

Ireland were whitewashed in the 1986 Five Nations Championship but on 1 November 1986, Ireland made history when they scored 10 tries against Romania
Romania national rugby union team
The Romania national rugby union team , nicknamed The Oaks , is the representative side of Romania in rugby union. Long considered one of the stronger European teams outside the Six Nations, they have participated in all six Rugby World Cups, and currently compete in the first division of the...

 in a 60–0 win. It was the biggest win in international rugby at the time, equalling the French record set in 1967.

At the inaugural World Cup in 1987, two straightforward victories over Tonga and Canada were enough to see Ireland through to the quarter-finals, when they travelled to Sydney to face the joint hosts Australia, only to be beaten 33–15.

In the Five Nations, England and France were dominant throughout the decade, resulting in the others scrapping around for the odd Championship title. Ireland didn't manage to win the trophy once in the whole decade and worse never finished outside the bottom two.

The second Rugby World Cup took place in Britain, Ireland and France in 1991. Ireland found themselves in the same pool as Scotland. After two easy wins over Japan and Zimbabwe, Scotland sneaked a 24–15 win at Murrayfield. Ireland played the Wallabies at Lansdowne Road in the quarter final and appeared to be on the verge of a shock victory over Australia, when Michael Lynagh scored the winning try to clinch a 19–18 win for Australia.

At the 1994 Five Nations Championship, Ireland beat Will Carling's all-conquering England at Twickenham.

At the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, Ireland were in a group containing the All Blacks and Wales. In a close game in Johannesburg, Ireland sneaked through 24–23 against Wales to make their third consecutive quarter-final appearance. Unfortunately France proved too strong, with Ireland going down 36–12.

Professional Era

The start of the professional era was disappointing for Ireland who finished bottom in the Five Nations Championship three years in succession (1996, 1997 and 1998). Englishman Brian Ashton
Brian Ashton (rugby player)
William Brian Ashton MBE is a former rugby union player and the former Head Coach of the England and Ireland national rugby union teams.-Biography:...

 was head coach between 1997 and 1998, but after a series of disappointing results resigned barely 12 months into the six year contract he had been awarded by the IRFU. Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland
Warren David Gatland is a former New Zealand rugby footballer and the current head coach of the Wales national team.Gatland was born in Hamilton, New Zealand and educated at Hamilton Boys' High School and Waikato University...

 took over as coach in 1998, but was unable to produce immediate success and 1999 was the first time Ireland failed to reach the last eight at a Rugby World Cup. From this nadir, however, Irish rugby improved rapidly. With the advent of professionalism, the Irish Rugby Football Union decided to convert the four representative provincial sides into de facto club sides, with the financial capacity to retain top talent in Ireland, yet retaining strong links with amateur clubs and schools to enable young talent to be brought up through the ranks. The close geographical proximity of most of the Irish international squad helped cement relationships between the players in a way that would not have been possible had they left for English, French and Southern Hemisphere clubs. The later formation of the Celtic League
Celtic League (rugby union)
The Celtic League is an annual rugby union competition involving professional sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales....

 (Now called the RaboDirect Pro12 for sponsorship reasons) cemented this strategy by ensuring that provincial sides had a regular schedule of competitive rugby.

The 1999 World Cup
1999 Rugby World Cup
The 1999 Rugby World Cup was the fourth Rugby World Cup, and the first to be held in rugby union's professional era. The principal host nation was Wales, although the majority of matches were played outside the country, shared between England, France, Scotland and Ireland...

 was staged in Wales though Ireland played all their pool games in Dublin. A defeat to the Wallabies meant Ireland having to go down the play-off route. Playing away from Lansdowne Road for the first time in the competition, Ireland were beaten 28–24 by Argentina in Lens.

The advent of the new Six Nations format coincided with this Irish resurgence, and they became the strongest of the Celtic nations. In 2001 the rugby union season was disrupted due to the foot and mouth crisis in Britain. Ireland were good enough to beat France but were unable to play Scotland until the Autumn and were caught cold losing 32–10. They were still good enough to beat England, spoiling their hopes of a Grand Slam, and finishing second on points difference. Eddie O'Sullivan
Eddie O'Sullivan
Eddie O'Sullivan is an Irish rugby union coach and a former footballer. He is a former head coach of the United States national rugby union team and of the Ireland national rugby union team....

 took over as coach from Warren Gatland in November 2001 following the New Zealander's sacking.

The 2003 Six Nations Championship
2003 Six Nations Championship
The 2003 Six Nations Championship was the fourth series of the Six Nations Championship. Including the previous incarnations as the Home Nations and Five Nations, this was the hundred-and-ninth series of the northern hemisphere rugby union championship...

 came down to the wire with Ireland and England playing a Grand Slam decider at Lansdowne Road. England, however, won 42–6. That defeat ended an unbeaten run that stretched back 10 Tests to their Rugby World Cup qualifiers warm up against Romania in September 2002 and included defeats of Pool A rivals Australia and Argentina at Lansdowne Road. In 2004 they lost their opening game against France but became the first team to beat England
England national rugby union team
The England national rugby union team represents England in rugby union. They compete in the annual Six Nations Championship with France, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and Wales. They have won this championship on 26 occasions, 12 times winning the Grand Slam, making them the most successful team in...

 following their World Cup win. They finished second in the table behind France and won the Triple Crown
Triple Crown (Rugby Union)
In rugby union, the Triple Crown is an honour contested annually by the four national teams of the British Isles who compete within the larger Six Nations Championship: England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. If any one team manages to win all their games against the other three they win the...

.

In 2005 Ireland were considered slight favourites entering the Six Nations Championships
2005 Six Nations Championship
The 2005 RBS 6 Nations Championship was the sixth series of the Six Nations Championship to be held since the competition expanded in 2000 to include Italy...

, and won their first three matches, including a 19–13 defeat of England in Dublin. However, Ireland's dreams of their first Grand Slam since 1948 were ended with a 26–19 home loss to France
France national rugby union team
The France national rugby union team represents France in rugby union. They compete annually against England, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in the Six Nations Championship. They have won the championship outright sixteen times, shared it a further eight times, and have completed nine grand slams...

. In the final round, Wales
Wales national rugby union team
The Wales national rugby union team represent Wales in international rugby union tournaments. They compete annually in the Six Nations Championship with England, France, Ireland, Italy and Scotland. Wales have won the Six Nations and its predecessors 24 times outright, second only to England with...

 defeated Ireland 32–20 at Millennium Stadium
Millennium Stadium
The Millennium Stadium is the national stadium of Wales, located in the capital, Cardiff. It is the home of the Wales national rugby union team and also frequently stages games of the Wales national football team, but is also host to many other large scale events, such as the Super Special Stage...

 in Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

 to win the Grand Slam. Ireland finished in 3rd place. In 2006, Ireland showed the capacity to play top class rugby, but only inconsistently – a rout of Wales was balanced by uncertain victories against England, Scotland and Italy and a comprehensive defeat by winners France. Ireland finished second and won the Triple Crown for the second time in three years, incidentally the first ever time a trophy had been awarded for the feat.

They then embarked on their annual tour to the southern hemisphere. There they ran New Zealand close twice before a tired Ireland were thumped by the Wallabies in Perth. They returned to their clubs before they gathered once more for the last Autumn Internationals at Lansdowne Road. The South Africans came with an experimental side with an eye on the 2007 World Cup, which was soundly beaten by the Irish 32–15. Next to Lansdowne were Australia with a much more formidable squad. The weather ruined what many had tipped to be the battle of the backlines, although Geordan Murphy
Geordan Murphy
Geordan Edward Andrew Murphy is an Irish rugby union rugby player and plays fullback or wing for the English club Leicester Tigers and Ireland....

 finished off a world class move in their 21–6 victory. That win propelled Ireland to a best ever height of 3rd in the IRB World Rankings. In the final international match at Lansdowne, Ireland thumped the Pacific Islanders 61–17, with Paddy Wallace
Paddy Wallace
Paddy Wallace is an Irish rugby union footballer from Belfast where he attended Rockport School and Campbell College. He plays for Ulster. He was a member of the Ireland U19 side that lifted the U19 World Cup in 1998...

 putting in a man of the match performance with 26 points. The win completed a hat-trick of victories.

In March 2007 the IRFU created the "High Performance Select Group" of up and coming Irish players who have been earmarked for future Irish teams. This group includes Luke Fitzgerald
Luke Fitzgerald
Luke Matthew Fitzgerald is a Rugby Union footballer. He currently plays at winger or centre for Leinster. Having previously studied at Blackrock College he won two Leinster Schools Senior Cups, in 2004 and 2006. He won his first cap for Ireland in November 2006...

, Barry Murphy
Barry Murphy (rugby player)
Barry Murphy is an Irish rugby union footballer. He played for Munster in the Magners League and the Heineken Cup. He was a part of the Munster squad which won the Heineken Cup in 2006. He burst onto the scene in January 2006 when he put in a man of the match performance against the Sale Sharks in...

, Tommy Bowe
Tommy Bowe
Thomas John "Tommy" Bowe is an Irish rugby union footballer from County Monaghan, Ireland...

, Rob Kearney
Rob Kearney
Robert Kearney , also referred to as Rob Kearney, is an Irish rugby union footballer who currently plays for UCD, Leinster and Ireland. As a youth he also played rugby union for Clongowes Wood College and Gaelic football for Louth in the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship...

, Daniel Riordan
Daniel Riordan (rugby player)
Daniel Riordan born 25 September 1984 in Galway, Connacht, Ireland is a rugby union player for Old Belvedere in the All-Ireland League.-Rugby career:...

, Stephen Ferris, Roger Wilson
Roger Wilson (rugby player)
Roger Wilson is an Irish rugby union footballer. Formerly of Ulster, he now plays for the Northampton Saints. His grandfather, Harry McKibbin and his two uncles, Harry Jnr and Alastair, have also represented Ireland....

,and Jamie Heaslip
Jamie Heaslip
James Peter Richard "Jamie" Heaslip is a Leinster & Irish rugby union player.- Early life :Heaslip was born in Tiberias, Israel, while his father, retired Brigadier General Richard Heaslip, was there on duty with UNIFIL. He attended Newbridge College before starring at the 2004 U-21 World Cup in...

, some of whom have already been capped. The aim of the group is to provide these young players with the support and infrastructure available to the senior squad and to ease their future transition into the Irish team.

With the announcement of the rebuilding of Lansdowne Road
Lansdowne Road
Lansdowne Road was a stadium in Dublin owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union that has been the location of a number of sports stadiums. It was used primarily for rugby union and for association football matches as well as some music concerts...

, a new venue was required to stage Ireland's home internationals. While Ireland are planning to play one of their warm up matches for the 2007 World Cup at Ravenhill
Ravenhill Stadium
Ravenhill Stadium is located in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is used by Ulster Rugby. It has a normal capacity of 12,300 and is owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union.-History:The grounds were opened in the 1923/24 season...

, the only stadium in Ireland capable of holding major rugby internationals was Croke Park
Croke Park
Croke Park in Dublin is the principal stadium and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association , Ireland's biggest sporting organisation...

, home of the Gaelic Athletic Association
Gaelic Athletic Association
The Gaelic Athletic Association is an amateur Irish and international cultural and sporting organisation focused primarily on promoting Gaelic games, which include the traditional Irish sports of hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, handball and rounders...

. To accommodate this, the GAA temporarily relaxed its rule governing the playing of so-called "foreign games" on its property. Initially, two Six Nations games were played at Croke Park during 2007; the first was a 17–20 loss to France, and the second a 43 to 13 win over England.

Ireland began their 2008 Six Nations Campaign
2008 Six Nations Championship
The 2008 Six Nations Championship, known as the 2008 RBS 6 Nations because of the tournament's sponsorship by the Royal Bank of Scotland, was the ninth series of the rugby union Six Nations Championship. Including the previous incarnations as the Home Nations and Five Nations, this was the 114th...

 with a narrow win over Italy. France then edged Ireland out in Paris, before they went on to beat Scotland in Dublin, Ireland then lost to eventual Grand Slammers Wales and England.

In March 2008, Eddie O'Sullivan resigned as Ireland coach after the disappointing Six Nations and World Cup campaigns.

Declan Kidney was subsequently appointed as manager but did not take up this role formally until after Ireland's tour of New Zealand and Australia (losing to the All Blacks 21–11 and Australia 18–12). His first official game in charge was against Canada at Thomond Park which Ireland won 55–0.

Ireland won the 2009 Six Nations Championship
2009 Six Nations Championship
The 2009 Six Nations Championship, known as the 2009 RBS 6 Nations because of the tournament's sponsorship by the Royal Bank of Scotland, was the tenth Six Nations Championship, an annual rugby union competition contested by the six major Northern Hemisphere rugby union national teams...

 and Grand Slam
Grand Slam (Rugby Union)
In rugby union, a Grand Slam occurs when one team in the Six Nations Championship manages to beat all the others during one year's competition...

 by beating Wales at the Millennium Stadium
Millennium Stadium
The Millennium Stadium is the national stadium of Wales, located in the capital, Cardiff. It is the home of the Wales national rugby union team and also frequently stages games of the Wales national football team, but is also host to many other large scale events, such as the Super Special Stage...

 15–17 on 21 March 2009, the first time they had won the championship since 1985, and the first time they had won the Grand Slam since 1948. Ireland also became only the second team (after Wales in 2005) to win a Six Nations Grand Slam after playing more away games than at home.
The Ireland team arrived home on 22 March 2009 at Dublin airport
Dublin Airport
Dublin Airport, , is operated by the Dublin Airport Authority. Located in Collinstown, in the Fingal part of County Dublin, 18.4 million passengers passed through the airport in 2010, making it the busiest airport in the Republic of Ireland, followed by Cork and Shannon...

 to a heroes welcome. Afterwards around 18,000 fans turned out at the Mansion House
Mansion House, Dublin
The Mansion House on Dawson Street, Dublin, is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin since 1715.-Features:The Mansion House's most famous features include the "Round Room", where the First Dáil assembled on 21 January 1919 to proclaim the Irish Declaration of Independence...

 to greet the team after clinching the first Grand Slam for Ireland in 61 years.
After Autumn Series
2009 end of year rugby tests
The 2009 end of year rugby tests, also known as the Autumn internationals in the Northern Hemisphere, saw Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina, tour the northern hemisphere....

 victories against Fiji
Fiji national rugby union team
The Fiji national rugby union team is a member of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance formerly along with Samoa and Tonga. In 2009, Samoa announced their departure from the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance, leaving just Fiji and Tonga. Fiji are ranked sixteenth in the world by the IRB as of 26...

 and South Africa
South Africa national rugby union team
The South African national rugby union team are 2009 British and Irish Lions Series winners. They are currently ranked as the fourth best team in the IRB World Rankings and were named 2008 World Team of the Year at the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards.Although South Africa was instrumental...

, and a draw against Australia
Australia national rugby union team
The Australian national rugby union team is the representative side of Australia in rugby union. The national team is nicknamed the Wallabies and competes annually with New Zealand and South Africa in the Tri-Nations Series, in which they also contest the Bledisloe Cup with New Zealand and the...

, Ireland ended 2009 unbeaten.

Ireland began the 2010 Six Nations
2010 Six Nations Championship
The 2010 Six Nations Championship, known as the 2010 RBS 6 Nations due to the tournament's sponsorship by the Royal Bank of Scotland, was the 11th series of the Six Nations Championship, an annual rugby union competition between the six major Northern Hemisphere rugby union national teams...

 with a home game against Italy
Italy national rugby union team
The Italy national rugby union team represent the nation of Italy in the sport of rugby union. The team is also known as the Azzurri . Italy have been playing international rugby since the late 1920s, and since 2000 compete annually in the Six Nations Championship with England, France, Ireland,...

, winning 29–11. Their second game was away to France in a match which many saw as the decider for this years competition. France ran out comfortable winners, the final score being 33–10. After a one week break Ireland were away to England. In a close game Ireland eventually emerged victorious, a Tommy Bowe
Tommy Bowe
Thomas John "Tommy" Bowe is an Irish rugby union footballer from County Monaghan, Ireland...

 try and Ronan O'Gara
Ronan O'Gara
Ronan John Ross O'Gara is an Irish rugby union player, playing at fly-half for both Munster and Ireland. He is the all time highest point scorer for both Munster and Ireland. In addition to his prolific point-scoring, he has captained Munster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions...

 conversion winning the match 16–20. After another one week break Ireland were back at Croke Park against Wales. Ireland were winners, beating Wales 27–12 after a Man-of-the-Match performance from Tomas O'Leary
Tomás O'Leary
Tomás O'Leary is an Irish Rugby Union player, playing in the scrum half position for Munster and Dolphin RFC. The son of Cork hurler, Seánie O'Leary, Tomás played Gaelic football and hurling before committing to Rugby....

. Ireland's final game of the Six Nations, and the last ever game at Croke Park
Croke Park
Croke Park in Dublin is the principal stadium and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association , Ireland's biggest sporting organisation...

, was against Scotland. Ireland went into the match with a 5th Triple Crown in sight but were undone by a 79th minute Dan Parks
Dan Parks
Daniel Arthur Parks is a Scottish international rugby union player who plays for RaboDirect Pro12 side Cardiff Blues as fly-half...

 penalty, which gave the Scots a 20–23 victory.

Ireland began their 2010 Summer Tests
2010 mid-year rugby test series
The 2010 mid-year rugby Test series refers to the rugby union Internationals that were played from late May to late June, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere....

 with a non-cap friendly against the Barbarians, which they lost 23–29 despite a characteristic fight-back in the second half. Their next game saw them take on New Zealand. An injury hit side fielded a number of inexperienced or uncapped players, and Ireland were duly thrashed 66–28, their heaviest ever defeat, though a spirited come back in the second half gained them a lot of deserved credit, with tries from O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll is an Irish professional rugby union player. He is the current captain of the Ireland Rugby team and captained Leinster Rugby until the start of 2008 season. He also captained the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand...

, Bowe
Tommy Bowe
Thomas John "Tommy" Bowe is an Irish rugby union footballer from County Monaghan, Ireland...

 and D'Arcy
Gordon D'Arcy
Gordon William D'Arcy is an Irish rugby player, more specifically an inside centre. He is registered to Lansdowne RFC and plays for provincial and RaboDirect Pro12 side Leinster.-Career:...

 after Tuohy's
Dan Tuohy
Dan Tuohy is an Ireland international rugby union player, currently playing for Ulster Rugby. He plays as a lock.-Career:Tuohy started rugby on the wing for Weston-super-Mare R.F.C...

 first half try. Jamie Heaslip
Jamie Heaslip
James Peter Richard "Jamie" Heaslip is a Leinster & Irish rugby union player.- Early life :Heaslip was born in Tiberias, Israel, while his father, retired Brigadier General Richard Heaslip, was there on duty with UNIFIL. He attended Newbridge College before starring at the 2004 U-21 World Cup in...

 was also sent off in the 15th minute so Ireland were at a numerical disadvantage. Ireland's next game was against New Zealand Maori
New Zealand Maori rugby union team
New Zealand Māori is a rugby union team that traditionally plays teams touring New Zealand. A prerequisite for playing in this team is that the player is to have Māori whakapapa or genealogy. In the past this rule was not strictly applied. In the past non-Māori players who looked Māori were often...

. The side was captained by Geordan Murphy
Geordan Murphy
Geordan Edward Andrew Murphy is an Irish rugby union rugby player and plays fullback or wing for the English club Leicester Tigers and Ireland....

 and fielded many inexperienced players. The game was level at 18–18 at half-time thanks to Jonathan Sexton's boot, but the Maori eventually won 31–28. Ireland's next game, and last of the Summer Tests, was against Australia which they lost 22–15.

Ireland began their 2010 Autumn Tests
2010 end of year rugby tests
The 2010 end of year rugby tests, also known as the Autumn internationals in the northern hemisphere, will see Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and tour the northern hemisphere. Test matches will also be arranged involving the various Pacific island teams and other non-Tier 1...

 with a 21–23 defeat to South Africa, the first international at the new Aviva Stadium
Aviva Stadium
The Aviva Stadium is a sports stadium located in Dublin, Ireland, with a capacity for 50,000 spectators. The stadium is built on the site of the old Lansdowne Road venue, which was demolished in 2007, and replaces that stadium as home to its chief tenants: the Irish rugby union team and the...

. Ronan O'Gara
Ronan O'Gara
Ronan John Ross O'Gara is an Irish rugby union player, playing at fly-half for both Munster and Ireland. He is the all time highest point scorer for both Munster and Ireland. In addition to his prolific point-scoring, he has captained Munster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions...

 won his 100th cap for Ireland during the game. Ireland's next game was against Samoa
Samoa national rugby union team
The Manu Samoa is the men's representative side of the Samoa Rugby Union in both the 15's and the 7's for international competitions. The Samoa Rugby Union is owned by the affiliated rugby unions of Samoa. In Samoa, Manu Samoa is in honour of a famous Samoan warrior. From 1924 to 1997 Samoa was...

, which they won 20–10. Ireland's third game of the 2010 Autumn Tests was against New Zealand, which the All-Blacks won 18–38. Ireland's final game of the 2010 Autumn Tests was against Argentina
Argentina national rugby union team
The Argentina national rugby team, nicknamed Los Pumas, represents Argentina in international rugby union matches. The team, which plays in sky blue and white jerseys, is organised by the Argentine Rugby Union .Argentina played its first international rugby match in 1910 against a touring British...

, which Ireland won 29–9.

The 2011 Six Nations Championship
2011 Six Nations Championship
The 2011 Six Nations Championship, known as the 2011 RBS 6 Nations due to the tournament's sponsorship by the Royal Bank of Scotland, was the 12th series of the Six Nations Championship. The annual northern hemisphere rugby union championship was contested by England, France, Ireland, Italy,...

 began for Ireland against Italy in Rome, where a late Ronan O'Gara drop goal secured an 11–13 win for Ireland. Ireland lost 22–25 to France
France national rugby union team
The France national rugby union team represents France in rugby union. They compete annually against England, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in the Six Nations Championship. They have won the championship outright sixteen times, shared it a further eight times, and have completed nine grand slams...

 in their second match, the first Six Nations match to be played at the Aviva Stadium. Ireland next played Scotland at Murrayfield, defeating the Scots 18–21. Wales
Wales national rugby union team
The Wales national rugby union team represent Wales in international rugby union tournaments. They compete annually in the Six Nations Championship with England, France, Ireland, Italy and Scotland. Wales have won the Six Nations and its predecessors 24 times outright, second only to England with...

 defeated Ireland 19–13 at the Millenium Stadium. During the game, Ronan O'Gara became the first Irishman, and only the fifth player, to cross the 1,000-point barrier in international rugby, and Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll is an Irish professional rugby union player. He is the current captain of the Ireland Rugby team and captained Leinster Rugby until the start of 2008 season. He also captained the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand...

 equalled the Four/Five/Six Nations all-time record for tries scored. Ireland's final game was against England
England national rugby union team
The England national rugby union team represents England in rugby union. They compete in the annual Six Nations Championship with France, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and Wales. They have won this championship on 26 occasions, 12 times winning the Grand Slam, making them the most successful team in...

, who were chasing their first Grand Slam in eight years. Ireland won 24–8 to ruin England's hopes, Brian O'Driscoll scored his 25th Championship try to set a new record, and Ronan O'Gara made his 56th Championship appearance to equal the record of countryman Mike Gibson.

Flags and anthems

The Irish rugby union team is one of a few national sporting teams on the island that draws widespread support in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, and from both nationalist and unionist communities. As Ireland represents players from different sovereign territories, there has been controversy over the flags and anthems. When Irish internationals were played alternately in Belfast and Dublin, the British national anthem was played for matches in Belfast and the national anthem
National anthem
A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people.- History :Anthems rose to prominence...

 of the Republic of Ireland "Amhrán na bhFiann
Amhrán na bhFiann
is the national anthem of Ireland. The music was composed by Peadar Kearney and Patrick Heeney, and the original English lyrics were authored by Kearney. It is sung in the Irish language translation made by Liam Ó Rinn. The song has three verses, but the national anthem consists of the chorus only...

" was played for matches in Dublin. No anthem was played at away games.

Since April 1995, a specially composed anthem, "Ireland's Call
Ireland's Call
Ireland's Call is a song commissioned by the Irish Rugby Football Union for use at international Rugby Union fixtures.It has since also been adopted by the Irish Hockey, Cricket, Rugby League and A1GP teams.- Overview :...

" has been used by the Irish team in away games. This has prompted some players and supporters from the Republic to complain that "Amhrán na bhFiann" should be played. At games played in Dublin "Ireland's Call" is always used alongside "Amhrán na bhFiann". This use of "Amhrán na bhFiann" has caused similar complaints from players and supporters from Northern Ireland. With Ireland's friendly game against Italy in the run up to the 2007 Rugby World Cup scheduled to be held in Belfast, there were calls for "God Save the Queen" to be used alongside "Ireland's Call" but this was turned down by the IRFU with the explanation given that it was not a 'home' match because the team would be playing "outside Ireland".

Similarly, the Irish tricolour
Flag of Ireland
The national flag of Ireland is a vertical tricolour of green , white, and orange. It is also known as the Irish tricolour. The flag proportion is 1:2...

, the official flag of the Republic of Ireland, is flown only when playing in the Republic. A flag with symbols representing the four provinces of Ireland is flown alongside the Irish tricolour in Dublin, and is used exclusively when playing elsewhere. At some matches, the standard of the island's rugby union governing body, the Irish Rugby Football Union
Irish Rugby Football Union
The Irish Rugby Football Union is the body managing rugby union in Ireland. The IRFU has its head office at 10/12 Lansdowne Road and home ground at Aviva Stadium, where Irish rugby union international matches are played...

, is displayed on the field during pre-match ceremonies.

At the 2011 Rugby World Cup
2011 Rugby World Cup
The 2011 Rugby World Cup was the seventh Rugby World Cup, a quadrennial international rugby union competition inaugurated in 1987. The International Rugby Board selected New Zealand as the host country in preference to Japan and South Africa at a meeting in Dublin on 17 November 2005...

, the Ireland team have entered the field of play at the beginning of their matches with the Irish tricolour and the Flag of Ulster
Flag of Ulster
The Flag of Ulster is a historic banner used to represent Ulster, one of the four provinces of Ireland. It is still used today to represent the province at some sporting events and formed the basis of the Ulster Banner, the flag of the Government of Northern Ireland between 1953 and 1972...

, to which the six Irish counties in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 belong.

Home grounds

The traditional home of Irish rugby is Lansdowne Road
Lansdowne Road
Lansdowne Road was a stadium in Dublin owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union that has been the location of a number of sports stadiums. It was used primarily for rugby union and for association football matches as well as some music concerts...

 in Dublin, where most of Ireland's home matches were held. The stadium was rebuilt between 2007 and 2010. Naming rights were sold to an insurance company, and the venue is now referred to as the Aviva Stadium
Aviva Stadium
The Aviva Stadium is a sports stadium located in Dublin, Ireland, with a capacity for 50,000 spectators. The stadium is built on the site of the old Lansdowne Road venue, which was demolished in 2007, and replaces that stadium as home to its chief tenants: the Irish rugby union team and the...

. The original stadium, owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union, was built in 1872, and so the venue continues to hold the distinction as the oldest still in use for international rugby. In 1878 the ground hosted its first rugby Test, with Ireland playing host to the English (the first representative rugby match had taken place prior to the Test, a game between Ulster and Leinster). Lansdowne Road had a capacity of just over 49,000 before it was demolished in summer 2007. The redeveloped stadium seats 51,700 and was opened in May 2010. The final Irish Test prior to work commencing on the remodelled stadium was against the Pacific Islanders
Pacific Islanders rugby union team
The Pacific Islanders rugby union team is an international rugby union team, started in 2004, that represents Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. While Niue and the Cook Islands are not members of the Pacific Tri-Nations competition, they did supply players to the squad for the Pacific Islanders' tour in 2004...

 in late 2006. With Lansdowne Road unavailable for use, Ireland was without a suitable home ground for the subsequent Six Nations. The Gaelic Athletic Association
Gaelic Athletic Association
The Gaelic Athletic Association is an amateur Irish and international cultural and sporting organisation focused primarily on promoting Gaelic games, which include the traditional Irish sports of hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, handball and rounders...

 (GAA) owned Croke Park
Croke Park
Croke Park in Dublin is the principal stadium and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association , Ireland's biggest sporting organisation...

 (an 82,500 capacity stadium) was made available for Ireland's two home games against France and England in 2007. It was the first time ever that rugby was played at the venue. Croke Park remained in use for Ireland's Six Nations matches and other major Tests until the completion of the redevelopment at Lansdowne Road.
The first Ireland match at the rebuilt stadium was against reigning World Cup champions South Africa
South Africa national rugby union team
The South African national rugby union team are 2009 British and Irish Lions Series winners. They are currently ranked as the fourth best team in the IRB World Rankings and were named 2008 World Team of the Year at the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards.Although South Africa was instrumental...

 on 6 November 2010.South Africa won the match 23–22. Because of the historic significance of this match, South Africa announced that they would wear their change strip to allow Ireland to wear their home green; normally, the home team change their colours in case of a clash.

Although Ireland has never totally hosted the Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup is an international rugby union competition organised by the International Rugby Board and held every four years since 1987....

, select games from both the 1991
1991 Rugby World Cup
The 1991 Rugby World Cup was the second edition of the Rugby World Cup, and was jointly hosted by England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France; at that time, the five European countries that participated in the Five Nations Championship making it the first Rugby World Cup to be staged in the...

 and 1999 World Cups
1999 Rugby World Cup
The 1999 Rugby World Cup was the fourth Rugby World Cup, and the first to be held in rugby union's professional era. The principal host nation was Wales, although the majority of matches were played outside the country, shared between England, France, Scotland and Ireland...

 were played throughout venues in Ireland. Pool B in 1991 was mainly played in Ireland and Scotland, with two games at Lansdowne Road (involving Ireland) and one (Zimbabwe v Japan) played at Ravenhill, Belfast. A quarter-final and a semi-final were also hosted by Dublin. A similar system was used in 1999, though in addition to Lansdowne and Ravenhill, Thomond Park
Thomond Park
Thomond Park is a stadium located in Limerick in the Irish province of Munster. The stadium is owned by the Irish Rugby Football Union and count Munster Rugby, Shannon RFC and UL Bohemian RFC as tenants. The capacity of the stadium is 26,500 following its large scale redevelopment in...

 was also a venue. Lansdowne Road was also the host of a quarter-final in 1999. Ireland were set to host matches at Lansdowne Road for the 2007 World Cup
2007 Rugby World Cup
The 2007 Rugby World Cup was the sixth Rugby World Cup, a quadrennial international rugby union competition inaugurated in 1987. Twenty nations competed for the Webb Ellis Cup in the tournament, which was hosted by France from 7 September to 20 October. France won the hosting rights in 2003,...

, but due to scheduling conflicts with the reconstruction of the stadium, they decided they were not in a position to host any.

Six Nations

The Six Nations Championship, held every year in February and March is Ireland's only annual tournament. It is contested against England, France, Italy, Scotland and Wales. Ireland was a member of the inaugural Home Nations in 1883 – with France and Italy joining later to form the Five and Six Nations respectively. Ireland won their first championship in 1894, winning the Triple Crown also. Ireland's first Grand Slam occurred in the 1948 season
1948 Five Nations Championship
The 1948 Five Nations Championship was the nineteenth series of the rugby union Five Nations Championship. Including the previous incarnations as the Home Nations and Five Nations, this was the fifty-fourth series of the northern hemisphere rugby union championship. Ten matches were played between...

 and their second in the 2009 season
2009 Six Nations Championship
The 2009 Six Nations Championship, known as the 2009 RBS 6 Nations because of the tournament's sponsorship by the Royal Bank of Scotland, was the tenth Six Nations Championship, an annual rugby union competition contested by the six major Northern Hemisphere rugby union national teams...

. In total Ireland have been champions on eleven occasions.

World Cup

Ireland have competed at every Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup is an international rugby union competition organised by the International Rugby Board and held every four years since 1987....

 tournament. The furthest they have progressed is the quarter-finals, which they have made five times out of seven. They have finished top of their pool once, in 2011, after beating pool favourite Australia
Australia national rugby union team
The Australian national rugby union team is the representative side of Australia in rugby union. The national team is nicknamed the Wallabies and competes annually with New Zealand and South Africa in the Tri-Nations Series, in which they also contest the Bledisloe Cup with New Zealand and the...

.

After a loss to Wales in the first tournament, held in Australia and New Zealand in 1987, Ireland finished second in their pool but were then knocked out by Australia in their quarter final in Sydney. In 1991 Ireland again lost only one match in pool play, this time to Scotland. They again met the Australians in the quarter-finals, who defeated them by one point. Runner-up in their pool in 1995 to the All Blacks
All Blacks
The New Zealand men's national rugby union team, known as the All Blacks, represent New Zealand in what is regarded as its national sport....

, Ireland were defeated by France in their quarter-final in Durban.

Ireland finished second in their pool in 1999, behind Australia and went into the quarter-final play-offs (a system exclusive to the 1999 tournament). There they lost to Argentina, and thus, not being a quarter-finalists, they were not given automatic entry into 2003. They defeated Russia and Georgia to go through as Europe 1. They finished second to Australia in their pool, and were knocked out by France in the quarter finals.

They started in the so-called "Group of death" with hosts France, Argentina, Namibia and Georgia in the 2007 World Cup
2007 Rugby World Cup
The 2007 Rugby World Cup was the sixth Rugby World Cup, a quadrennial international rugby union competition inaugurated in 1987. Twenty nations competed for the Webb Ellis Cup in the tournament, which was hosted by France from 7 September to 20 October. France won the hosting rights in 2003,...

. They played Namibia (the lowest ranked team in the World Cup) in their opening game on 9 September which resulted in a 32–17 win. Their progress was then put into doubt when they beat Georgia 14–10, not obtaining a bonus point. France's victory over Namibia 87–10 put Ireland's progression from the group in doubt, and this was compounded when Ireland lost to the French 25–3. Entering their last group match against Argentina, needing four tries to secure a bonus point without allowing Argentina anything, Ireland were defeated by 30 points to 15 and crashed out at the pool stage for the first time.

Ireland were in Pool C for the 2011 Rugby World Cup
2011 Rugby World Cup
The 2011 Rugby World Cup was the seventh Rugby World Cup, a quadrennial international rugby union competition inaugurated in 1987. The International Rugby Board selected New Zealand as the host country in preference to Japan and South Africa at a meeting in Dublin on 17 November 2005...

 in New Zealand, with Australia, Russia, USA and Italy. Their first pool game was against the USA on 11 September, which ended in a 22–10 victory for Ireland. Ireland's second pool game was against the reigning Tri Nations champions Australia. Despite being underdogs, Ireland recorded their first victory over Australia at a World Cup with a superb 15–6 win. Ireland comfortably beat Russia
Russia national rugby union team
The Russian National Rugby Union Team, is the national team representing Russia at the sport of rugby union.Rugby union in Russia is administered by the Rugby Union of Russia . The RUR is the official successor union of the Soviet Union and the combined CIS team which played in the early 1990s...

 62–12 in their third Pool C game. Ireland secured first place in Pool C with a 36–6 win over Italy
Italy national rugby union team
The Italy national rugby union team represent the nation of Italy in the sport of rugby union. The team is also known as the Azzurri . Italy have been playing international rugby since the late 1920s, and since 2000 compete annually in the Six Nations Championship with England, France, Ireland,...

. This victory ensured that Ireland went through to the World Cup quarter finals as group winners for the first time in their World Cup history. Ireland lost their quarter final
2011 Rugby World Cup knockout stage
The knockout stage of the 2011 Rugby World Cup began on 8 October with a quarter-final between Ireland and Wales and concluded on 23 October with the final at Eden Park in Auckland....

 to Wales
Wales national rugby union team
The Wales national rugby union team represent Wales in international rugby union tournaments. They compete annually in the Six Nations Championship with England, France, Ireland, Italy and Scotland. Wales have won the Six Nations and its predecessors 24 times outright, second only to England with...

 10–22.

Overall

Their Test record against all nations: As of 09 October 2011
Against Played Won Lost Drawn Win %
17
History of rugby union matches between Argentina and Ireland
The history of rugby union matches between Argentina and Ireland is one of a very even contest. the sides have met seventeen times with a result of nine wins to Ireland, seven to Argentina and one drawn game. At the end of the 2010 Autumn Internationals there was only a nineteen point difference...

 
9 7 1
27
History of rugby union matches between Australia and Ireland
-Overall summary:-Results:...

 
8 18 1
5 4 0 1
125
History of rugby union matches between England and Ireland
England first played against Ireland in 1875, beating them 15–0 at The Oval, London. The two teams have played a total of 125 Test matches, with England winning 71 of them, Ireland 46 and 8 resulting in a draw.-Overall summary:-Results:...

 
46 71 8
4 4 0 0
89
History of rugby union matches between France and Ireland
France and Ireland have played each other at rugby union a total of 89 test matches, with France winning 55 times, Ireland winning 29 times and five matches drawn.-Overall summary:-Results:-References:...

 
29 55 5
3 3 0 0
20
History of rugby union matches between Ireland and Italy
The Ireland and Italy rugby union teams have a rivalry dating back to New Year's Eve 1988 when Ireland defeated Italy in a friendly, 31-15. Ireland have dominated the meetings, with the Italians only having achieved three victories...

 
17 3 0
5 5 0 0
4 2 2 0
24
History of rugby union matches between Ireland and New Zealand
The New Zealand All Blacks first played against Ireland in 1905, beating them 15–0 at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. The two teams have played a total of 24 Test matches, with the All Blacks winning 23 of them...

 
0 23 1
1 1 0 0
8 8 0 0
2 2 0 0
5 4 1 0
127
History of rugby union matches between Ireland and Scotland
Ireland and Scotland have played each other at rugby union a total of 126 matches, with Scotland winning 65 times, Ireland winning 56 times and five matches drawn.-Overall summary:-Results:-References:...

 
57 65 5
20  4 15 1
2 2 0 0
7 7 0 0
116
History of rugby union matches between Ireland and Wales
Ireland and Wales have played each other at rugby union since 1882. A total of 117 matches have been played, with Wales winning 64 matches, Ireland winning 47 matches and six matches drawn.-Overall summary:-Results:...

 
46 64 6
1 1 0 0
Total 612 259 325 28

Current squad

Ireland's 30-man squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup
2011 Rugby World Cup
The 2011 Rugby World Cup was the seventh Rugby World Cup, a quadrennial international rugby union competition inaugurated in 1987. The International Rugby Board selected New Zealand as the host country in preference to Japan and South Africa at a meeting in Dublin on 17 November 2005...

.
  • Caps updated after Wales test.
  • Shane Jennings
    Shane Jennings
    Shane Jennings born 8 July 1981 in Dublin, Ireland is a rugby union player for Leinster Rugby in the RaboDirect Pro12 and Heineken Cup.He is also registered to St...

     was called up to replace the injured David Wallace
    David Wallace (rugby player)
    David P. Wallace is an Irish rugby union player for Munster and Ireland. He grew up in Limerick on the Ennis Road. He did not leave Limerick until the age of 17, when he started playing for Munster. He normally plays as an Openside Flanker, but has also played Blindside and Number 8...

    .
  • Damien Varley
    Damien Varley
    Damien Varley is a rugby union player for Munster. He plays as a Hooker. Varley was educated in St. Munchin's College in Limerick where he scored two tries as Munchin's won the Munster Schools Senior Cup final in 2002. He studied at the University of Limerick...

     was called up to replace the injured Jerry Flannery
    Jerry Flannery
    Jeremiah Paul "Jerry" Flannery is an Irish rugby union player who plays at Hooker for Munster and Ireland.-Early career:...

    .
  • Mike Sherry
    Mike Sherry
    Mike Sherry is a rugby union player for Munster. He plays as a Hooker. Sherry was educated at Ard Scoil Ris.-Munster:...

     was called up as precautionary cover for Rory Best
    Rory Best
    Rory Best from Poyntzpass is an Irish rugby union footballer. He plays at the position of Hooker for Ulster and is registered for Banbridge RFC.-Club/Provincial:...

    .

Head Coach: Declan Kidney
Declan Kidney
Declan Kidney is an Irish rugby union coach.-Early life:Kidney played rugby for UCC and later for Dolphin RFC....



Hall of Fame

Eight former Ireland players have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame
International Rugby Hall of Fame
The International Rugby Hall of Fame is a hall of fame for rugby union. It was created in 1997 in New Zealand and is run as a charitable trust with an address at Chiswick in London. Most of the trustees are also inductees. IRHOF accepts new inductees every two years...

. Five of these have also had the added honour of induction into the IRB Hall of Fame
IRB Hall of Fame
The IRB Hall of Fame is a hall of fame operated by the International Rugby Board that recognises special achievement and contribution to the sport of rugby union. The IRB Hall of Fame covers players, coaches, administrators, match officials, institutions and other individuals...

—Kyle in 2008; McBride, Millar and O'Reilly in 2009; and Gibson in 2011.
  • Mike Gibson
    Mike Gibson
    Cameron Michael Henderson Gibson MBE is an Irish former rugby union footballer.-Early life:...

  • Willie John McBride
    Willie John McBride
    William James McBride, MBE, better known as Willie John McBride is a former rugby union footballer who played as a lock for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions. He played 63 Tests for Ireland including eleven as captain, and toured with the Lions five times — a record that gave him 17...

  • Tony O'Reilly
    Tony O'Reilly
    Sir Anthony Joseph Francis O'Reilly is an Irish businessman and former international rugby union player. He is known for his involvement the Independent News & Media Group, which he led from 1973 to 2009, and as former CEO and Chairman of the H.J. Heinz Company. He was the leading shareholder of...

  • Jack Kyle
    Jack Kyle
    John Wilson Kyle OBE , commonly referred to as Jack Kyle or Jackie Kyle, is a former rugby union player who played for Ireland, the British Lions and the Barbarians during the 1940s and 1950s...

  • Syd Millar
    Syd Millar
    Sydney "Syd" Millar, CBE, is the outgoing chairman of the International Rugby Board. He was born in Ballymena and previously played for Ballymena RFC and represented Ireland in the pack, winning 37 caps as a prop. In addition, he played 9 times for the British and Irish Lions...

  • Keith Wood
    Keith Wood
    Keith Gerard Mallinson Wood and educated at St Munchin's College, Limerick is a former international rugby union footballer who played hooker for Ireland, the Lions, Garryowen, Harlequins and Munster....

  • Tom Kiernan
    Tom Kiernan
    Thomas Joseph Kiernan is a former Ireland international rugby union player. He won 54 caps for Ireland as a full-back between 1960 and 1973 and captained his country 24 times. At the time of his retirement he was Ireland's most-capped player, most experienced captain and record scorer in...

  • Fergus Slattery
    Fergus Slattery
    John Fergus Slattery is a former rugby union player who represented Ireland. He played schools rugby for Blackrock College and then moved on to play senior rugby for UCD, before earning a call up to the Ireland team in 1970. During his career Slattery earned 61 caps, 18 as captain, and scored 3...


  • British and Irish Lions

    The following Ireland players have represented the British and Irish Lions
    British and Irish Lions
    The British and Irish Lions is a rugby union team made up of players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales...

    .
    • Tom Crean
      Thomas Joseph Crean
      Major Dr. Thomas Joseph Crean, VC, DSO was an Irish rugby union player, British Army soldier and doctor. During the Second Boer War, while serving with the Imperial Light Horse, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. His VC medal is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum...

      : 1896
      1896 British Lions tour to South Africa
      1896 British Isles tour to South Africa was a rugby union tour undertaken by the British Isles, one of the first British and Irish Lions tours. The team toured South Africa for the second time in 1896. Between July 11 and September 5, they played 21 games, including four tests against South Africa...

    • Robert Johnston
      Robert Johnston (VC)
      Major Robert Johnston VC was an Irish rugby union player and soldier. During the Second Boer War, Johnston was awarded the Victoria Cross while serving with the Imperial Light Horse. The medal is displayed at the Light Horse Bar at The Saturday Club in Kolkata, India...

      : 1896
      1896 British Lions tour to South Africa
      1896 British Isles tour to South Africa was a rugby union tour undertaken by the British Isles, one of the first British and Irish Lions tours. The team toured South Africa for the second time in 1896. Between July 11 and September 5, they played 21 games, including four tests against South Africa...

    • Robert Alexander: 1938
      1938 British Lions tour to South Africa
      The 1938 British Isles tour to South Africa was the fourteenth tour by a British Isles team and the sixth to South Africa. The tour is retrospectively classed as one of the British Lions tours, as the Lions naming convention was not adopted until 1950....

    • Paddy Mayne
      Paddy Mayne
      Lieutenant Colonel Robert Blair "Paddy" Mayne DSO & Three Bars was a Northern Irish soldier, solicitor, Ireland rugby union international, amateur boxer, polar explorer and a founding member of the Special Air Service .-Early life and sporting achievements:Robert Blair "Paddy" Mayne was born in...

      : 1938
      1938 British Lions tour to South Africa
      The 1938 British Isles tour to South Africa was the fourteenth tour by a British Isles team and the sixth to South Africa. The tour is retrospectively classed as one of the British Lions tours, as the Lions naming convention was not adopted until 1950....

    • Jack Kyle
      Jack Kyle
      John Wilson Kyle OBE , commonly referred to as Jack Kyle or Jackie Kyle, is a former rugby union player who played for Ireland, the British Lions and the Barbarians during the 1940s and 1950s...

      : 1950
      1950 British Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia
      The British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia in 1950 was the first post-war tour made by the Lions; there had not been one since 1938....

    • Karl Mullen
      Karl Mullen
      Dr Karl Daniel Mullen was an Irish Rugby Union player and Consultant Gynaecologist who captained the Irish rugby team and captained the British Lions on their 1950 tour to Australia and New Zealand....

      : 1950
      1950 British Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia
      The British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia in 1950 was the first post-war tour made by the Lions; there had not been one since 1938....

    • Robin Roe
      Robin Roe
      Reverend Robin Roe CBE MC was an Irish clergyman known for his work as an army chaplain, and a rugby union player.- Early life and education :...

      : 1955
      1955 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1955 the British Lions rugby union team toured Southern and Eastern Africa. The Lions drew the test series against , each team winning two of the four matches. They won the first test by a single point and the third by three points and lost the second and fourth matches by wider margins...

    • Cecil Pedlow
      Cecil Pedlow
      Alexander Cecil Pedlow is a retired Irish rugby union player. He represented Ireland and the Lions, earning two caps for them on the 1955 tour to South Africa. He retired in 1963.-External links:**...

      : 1955
      1955 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1955 the British Lions rugby union team toured Southern and Eastern Africa. The Lions drew the test series against , each team winning two of the four matches. They won the first test by a single point and the third by three points and lost the second and fourth matches by wider margins...

    • Robin Thompson
      Robin Thompson
      Robin Thompson was a rugby union international for Ireland and a former British and Irish Lions captain.Robin Thompson won two Ulster Schools Senior Cup medals with RBAI and played for Ulster Schools...

      : 1955
      1955 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1955 the British Lions rugby union team toured Southern and Eastern Africa. The Lions drew the test series against , each team winning two of the four matches. They won the first test by a single point and the third by three points and lost the second and fourth matches by wider margins...

    • Tony O'Reilly
      Tony O'Reilly
      Sir Anthony Joseph Francis O'Reilly is an Irish businessman and former international rugby union player. He is known for his involvement the Independent News & Media Group, which he led from 1973 to 2009, and as former CEO and Chairman of the H.J. Heinz Company. He was the leading shareholder of...

      : 1955
      1955 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1955 the British Lions rugby union team toured Southern and Eastern Africa. The Lions drew the test series against , each team winning two of the four matches. They won the first test by a single point and the third by three points and lost the second and fourth matches by wider margins...

      , 1959
      1959 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand
      In 1959 the British Lions rugby union team toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against but lost the international series against the All Blacks by three matches to one. They also played two matches in Canada, on the return leg of the journey.Although New Zealand...

    • Ronnie Dawson
      Ronnie Dawson (rugby player)
      Alfred Ronald "Ronnie" Dawson played hooker for Ireland and was captain of the British Lions rugby union team on their 1959 tour to Australia, New Zealand and Canada.Ronnie was educated in St...

      : 1959
      1959 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand
      In 1959 the British Lions rugby union team toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against but lost the international series against the All Blacks by three matches to one. They also played two matches in Canada, on the return leg of the journey.Although New Zealand...

      , 1968
      1968 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1968 the British Lions toured South Africa. The tour was not success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the test series against South Africa by three matches to nil, with the other match drawn. The Lions won 15 of their 16 non-international matches, losing only to Transvaal...

    • Andy Mulligan
      Andy Mulligan
      Andrew Armstrong Mulligan, was born on 4 February 1936 et Kasauli, a small cantonment town in Solan district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, and died on 24 February 2001...

      : 1959
      1959 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand
      In 1959 the British Lions rugby union team toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against but lost the international series against the All Blacks by three matches to one. They also played two matches in Canada, on the return leg of the journey.Although New Zealand...

    • Noel Murphy: 1959
      1959 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand
      In 1959 the British Lions rugby union team toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against but lost the international series against the All Blacks by three matches to one. They also played two matches in Canada, on the return leg of the journey.Although New Zealand...

      , 1966
      1966 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand
      In 1966 the British Lions toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against but lost all four internationals against the All Blacks....

    • Raymond Hunter
      Raymond Hunter
      William Raymond Hunter is an Irish former cricketer and rugby union player.-Cricket:A right-handed batsman and right-arm medium pace bowler, he played 28 times for the Ireland cricket team between 1957 and 1967 including eleven first-class matches.-Playing career:Hunter made his debut for Ireland...

      : 1962
      1962 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1962 the British Lions rugby union team toured Southern and Eastern Africa. Overall the tourists played twenty-five matches, winning sixteen, losing five and drawing four....

    • Willie John McBride
      Willie John McBride
      William James McBride, MBE, better known as Willie John McBride is a former rugby union footballer who played as a lock for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions. He played 63 Tests for Ireland including eleven as captain, and toured with the Lions five times — a record that gave him 17...

      :1962
      1962 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1962 the British Lions rugby union team toured Southern and Eastern Africa. Overall the tourists played twenty-five matches, winning sixteen, losing five and drawing four....

      , 1966
      1966 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand
      In 1966 the British Lions toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against but lost all four internationals against the All Blacks....

      , 1968
      1968 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1968 the British Lions toured South Africa. The tour was not success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the test series against South Africa by three matches to nil, with the other match drawn. The Lions won 15 of their 16 non-international matches, losing only to Transvaal...

      , 1971
      1971 British Lions tour to New Zealand
      In 1971 the British Lions toured New Zealand, also playing two matches in Australia. Despite losing the first match to Queensland the tour was a great success, the Lions winning the test series against the All Blacks. They are still the only Lions side to have won a test series in New Zealand...

      , 1974
      1974 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1974 the British Lions toured South Africa, with matches in South West Africa and Rhodesia . The tour was a great success, the Lions winning 21 of their 22 matches and drawing the other. After winning the first three test matches, the Lions drew the final test to preserve their unbeaten record...

    • Tom Kiernan
      Tom Kiernan
      Thomas Joseph Kiernan is a former Ireland international rugby union player. He won 54 caps for Ireland as a full-back between 1960 and 1973 and captained his country 24 times. At the time of his retirement he was Ireland's most-capped player, most experienced captain and record scorer in...

      : 1962
      1962 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1962 the British Lions rugby union team toured Southern and Eastern Africa. Overall the tourists played twenty-five matches, winning sixteen, losing five and drawing four....

      , 1968
      1968 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1968 the British Lions toured South Africa. The tour was not success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the test series against South Africa by three matches to nil, with the other match drawn. The Lions won 15 of their 16 non-international matches, losing only to Transvaal...

    • Syd Millar
      Syd Millar
      Sydney "Syd" Millar, CBE, is the outgoing chairman of the International Rugby Board. He was born in Ballymena and previously played for Ballymena RFC and represented Ireland in the pack, winning 37 caps as a prop. In addition, he played 9 times for the British and Irish Lions...

      : 1962
      1962 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1962 the British Lions rugby union team toured Southern and Eastern Africa. Overall the tourists played twenty-five matches, winning sixteen, losing five and drawing four....

      , 1968
      1968 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1968 the British Lions toured South Africa. The tour was not success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the test series against South Africa by three matches to nil, with the other match drawn. The Lions won 15 of their 16 non-international matches, losing only to Transvaal...

    • Ray McLoughlin
      Ray McLoughlin
      Raymond John "Ray" McLoughlin is a former Ireland international rugby union prop. McLoughlin had a long and successful career playing for several clubs at club level, and played for Connacht at province level...

      : 1966
      1966 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand
      In 1966 the British Lions toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against but lost all four internationals against the All Blacks....

    • Barry Bresnihan
      Barry Bresnihan
      Finbarr Patrick Bresnihan was an international rugby union player. He was educated at Gonzaga College, Dublin.He was capped twenty-five times as a centre for Ireland between 1966 and 1971. He scored six tries for Ireland....

      : 1966
      1966 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand
      In 1966 the British Lions toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against but lost all four internationals against the All Blacks....

      , 1968
      1968 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1968 the British Lions toured South Africa. The tour was not success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the test series against South Africa by three matches to nil, with the other match drawn. The Lions won 15 of their 16 non-international matches, losing only to Transvaal...

    • Mike Gibson: 1966
      1966 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand
      In 1966 the British Lions toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against but lost all four internationals against the All Blacks....

      , 1968
      1968 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1968 the British Lions toured South Africa. The tour was not success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the test series against South Africa by three matches to nil, with the other match drawn. The Lions won 15 of their 16 non-international matches, losing only to Transvaal...

      , 1971
      1971 British Lions tour to New Zealand
      In 1971 the British Lions toured New Zealand, also playing two matches in Australia. Despite losing the first match to Queensland the tour was a great success, the Lions winning the test series against the All Blacks. They are still the only Lions side to have won a test series in New Zealand...

      , 1974
      1974 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1974 the British Lions toured South Africa, with matches in South West Africa and Rhodesia . The tour was a great success, the Lions winning 21 of their 22 matches and drawing the other. After winning the first three test matches, the Lions drew the final test to preserve their unbeaten record...

      , 1977
      1977 British Lions tour to New Zealand
      In 1977 the British Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand. The Lions played 26 matches, including four internationals against the All Blacks. They lost the series against the All Blacks by three matches to one. The team played as the British Isles in their internationals against the All Blacks...

    • Ken Kennedy
      Ken Kennedy (rugby player)
      Kenneth William Kennedy is a former Ireland international rugby union player. He toured South Africa in 1974 with the British and Irish Lions and at the time played club rugby for London Irish.He was a consultant geriatrician at St Stephens Hospital in London.-References:...

      : 1966
      1966 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand
      In 1966 the British Lions toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against but lost all four internationals against the All Blacks....

      , 1974
      1974 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1974 the British Lions toured South Africa, with matches in South West Africa and Rhodesia . The tour was a great success, the Lions winning 21 of their 22 matches and drawing the other. After winning the first three test matches, the Lions drew the final test to preserve their unbeaten record...

    • Jerry Walsh
      Jerry Walsh
      Jeremiah Charles Walsh was a former international rugby union player.He was capped twenty-six times by Ireland as a centre between 1960 and 1967:1960 v Scotland L 6-5 1960 v South Africa L 8-3...

      : 1966
      1966 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand
      In 1966 the British Lions toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against but lost all four internationals against the All Blacks....

    • Roger Young
      Roger Young (rugby player)
      Roger Michael Young is a former international rugby union player.He was capped twenty-six times as a scrum-half for Ireland between 1965 and 1971. He scored one try for Ireland....

      : 1966
      1966 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand
      In 1966 the British Lions toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against but lost all four internationals against the All Blacks....

      , 1968
      1968 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1968 the British Lions toured South Africa. The tour was not success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the test series against South Africa by three matches to nil, with the other match drawn. The Lions won 15 of their 16 non-international matches, losing only to Transvaal...

    • Mick Doyle
      Mick Doyle (rugby player)
      Mick Doyle was an Irish rugby union international player and coach.Doyle was born in Castleisland, County Kerry, and began playing rugby union at Newbridge College, County Kildare. He went on to study veterinary science at University College Dublin, who he also represented at rugby...

      : 1968
      1968 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1968 the British Lions toured South Africa. The tour was not success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the test series against South Africa by three matches to nil, with the other match drawn. The Lions won 15 of their 16 non-international matches, losing only to Transvaal...

    • Mike Hipwell
      Mike Hipwell
      Michael Louis Hipwell is a former Ireland international rugby union player. He toured New Zealand in 1971 with the British and Irish Lions and at the time played club rugby for Terenure College RFC.-Notes:...

      : 1971
      1971 British Lions tour to New Zealand
      In 1971 the British Lions toured New Zealand, also playing two matches in Australia. Despite losing the first match to Queensland the tour was a great success, the Lions winning the test series against the All Blacks. They are still the only Lions side to have won a test series in New Zealand...

    • Sean Lynch
      Sean Lynch (rugby player)
      John Francis 'Sean' Lynch is a former Ireland international rugby union player.Lynch was capped fifteen times as a prop for Ireland between 1971 and 1975]]) and toured New Zealand in 1971 with the British and Irish Lions playing in all four tests against the All Blacks. He played club rugby for...

      : 1971
      1971 British Lions tour to New Zealand
      In 1971 the British Lions toured New Zealand, also playing two matches in Australia. Despite losing the first match to Queensland the tour was a great success, the Lions winning the test series against the All Blacks. They are still the only Lions side to have won a test series in New Zealand...

    • Fergus Slattery
      Fergus Slattery
      John Fergus Slattery is a former rugby union player who represented Ireland. He played schools rugby for Blackrock College and then moved on to play senior rugby for UCD, before earning a call up to the Ireland team in 1970. During his career Slattery earned 61 caps, 18 as captain, and scored 3...

      : 1971
      1971 British Lions tour to New Zealand
      In 1971 the British Lions toured New Zealand, also playing two matches in Australia. Despite losing the first match to Queensland the tour was a great success, the Lions winning the test series against the All Blacks. They are still the only Lions side to have won a test series in New Zealand...

      , 1974
      1974 British Lions tour to South Africa
      In 1974 the British Lions toured South Africa, with matches in South West Africa and Rhodesia . The tour was a great success, the Lions winning 21 of their 22 matches and drawing the other. After winning the first three test matches, the Lions drew the final test to preserve their unbeaten record...

  • Tom Grace
    Tom Grace
    Thomas Oliver Grace was a University College Dublin RFC and St. Mary's College RFC winger in the 1960 and 1970s as well as playing for his province Leinster. He appeared for the Ireland during his career...

    :1974
    1974 British Lions tour to South Africa
    In 1974 the British Lions toured South Africa, with matches in South West Africa and Rhodesia . The tour was a great success, the Lions winning 21 of their 22 matches and drawing the other. After winning the first three test matches, the Lions drew the final test to preserve their unbeaten record...

  • Ken Goodall
    Ken Goodall
    Kenneth George Goodall was a former Irish international rugby union and British and Irish Lions player and vice principal at Faughan Valley High School, which is now part of Lisneal College....

    :1968
    1968 British Lions tour to South Africa
    In 1968 the British Lions toured South Africa. The tour was not success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the test series against South Africa by three matches to nil, with the other match drawn. The Lions won 15 of their 16 non-international matches, losing only to Transvaal...

  • John Moloney
    John Moloney (rugby player)
    John Joseph Moloney is a former Ireland international rugby union player. He toured South Africa in 1974 with the British and Irish Lions and at the time played club rugby for St. Mary's College R.F.C..-References:...

    : 1974
    1974 British Lions tour to South Africa
    In 1974 the British Lions toured South Africa, with matches in South West Africa and Rhodesia . The tour was a great success, the Lions winning 21 of their 22 matches and drawing the other. After winning the first three test matches, the Lions drew the final test to preserve their unbeaten record...

  • Moss Keane
    Moss Keane
    Maurice Ignatius "Moss" Keane was a rugby union footballer who played for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions.-Life and career:...

    : 1974
    1974 British Lions tour to South Africa
    In 1974 the British Lions toured South Africa, with matches in South West Africa and Rhodesia . The tour was a great success, the Lions winning 21 of their 22 matches and drawing the other. After winning the first three test matches, the Lions drew the final test to preserve their unbeaten record...

    , 1977
    1977 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1977 the British Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand. The Lions played 26 matches, including four internationals against the All Blacks. They lost the series against the All Blacks by three matches to one. The team played as the British Isles in their internationals against the All Blacks...

  • Willie Duggan
    Willie Duggan
    William Patrick Duggan is a former Ireland international rugby union player. He won 41 Irish Caps, the first in 1975 and finished his international career in 1984 as captain...

    : 1977
    1977 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1977 the British Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand. The Lions played 26 matches, including four internationals against the All Blacks. They lost the series against the All Blacks by three matches to one. The team played as the British Isles in their internationals against the All Blacks...

  • Philip Orr
    Philip Orr
    Philip Andrew "Phil" Orr , is a former Irish international and British and Irish Lions Rugby Union loosehead prop. Educated at The High School, Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, Orr played for Old Wesley for over 20 years and was, for many years, his country's most-capped prop with a then world...

    : 1977
    1977 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1977 the British Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand. The Lions played 26 matches, including four internationals against the All Blacks. They lost the series against the All Blacks by three matches to one. The team played as the British Isles in their internationals against the All Blacks...

    , 1980
    1980 British Lions tour to South Africa
    In 1980 the British Lions rugby union team toured South Africa . The tour was not a success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the first three tests before salvaging some pride with a win in the fourth...

  • Rodney O'Donnell
    Rodney O'Donnell
    Rodney Christopher O'Donnell is a former Ireland international rugby union player. He toured South Africa in 1980 with the British Lions and at the time played club rugby for St. Mary's College RFC. His rugby career was ended by a neck injury.- Notes :...

    : 1980
    1980 British Lions tour to South Africa
    In 1980 the British Lions rugby union team toured South Africa . The tour was not a success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the first three tests before salvaging some pride with a win in the fourth...

  • Colin Patterson
    Colin Patterson (Rugby player)
    Colin Patterson is a former international rugby union player. He toured South Africa in 1980 with the British and Irish Lions and at the time played club rugby for Instonians. His son Johnny captained the Regent House Grammar School side that reached the Ulster Schools Cup final in 2008.-Notes:...

    : 1980
    1980 British Lions tour to South Africa
    In 1980 the British Lions rugby union team toured South Africa . The tour was not a success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the first three tests before salvaging some pride with a win in the fourth...

  • John Robbie
    John Robbie
    John Cameron Robbie is a former international rugby union player. He went to The High School in Dublin, Ireland. He toured South Africa in 1980 with the British and Irish Lions and at the time played club rugby for Greystones RFC. He was later picked twice for the South African rugby team but...

    : 1980
    1980 British Lions tour to South Africa
    In 1980 the British Lions rugby union team toured South Africa . The tour was not a success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the first three tests before salvaging some pride with a win in the fourth...

  • Colm Tucker
    Colm Tucker
    Colm Tucker is a former international rugby union player. He toured South Africa in 1980 with the British Lions during a period when at club level he was representing Shannon RFC. Tucker was educated at St. Munchin's College in Limerick.-Notes:...

    : 1980
    1980 British Lions tour to South Africa
    In 1980 the British Lions rugby union team toured South Africa . The tour was not a success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the first three tests before salvaging some pride with a win in the fourth...

  • Tony Ward
    Tony Ward (rugby player)
    Anthony Joseph Patrick Ward , commonly referred to as Tony Ward, was an Irish rugby union and soccer player during the 1970s and 1980s. He played rugby as a fly-half for, among others, Munster, Leinster, , the British and Irish Lions and the Barbarians...

    : 1980
    1980 British Lions tour to South Africa
    In 1980 the British Lions rugby union team toured South Africa . The tour was not a success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the first three tests before salvaging some pride with a win in the fourth...

  • Ollie Campbell
    Ollie Campbell
    Seamus Oliver Campbell was an Irish rugby union player from 1976 to 1984. He was educated at Belvedere College, a famous Irish rugby school, where he was on the teams that won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup twice in a row in 1971 and 1972...

    : 1980
    1980 British Lions tour to South Africa
    In 1980 the British Lions rugby union team toured South Africa . The tour was not a success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the first three tests before salvaging some pride with a win in the fourth...

    , 1983
    1983 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1983 the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand for the first time since 1977. The Lions went down to a 4-0 whitewash for only the second time in history - the previous was also inflicted by the All Blacks on the 1966 Lions. Overall the Lions played eighteen matches, winning twelve and...

  • John O'Driscoll: 1980
    1980 British Lions tour to South Africa
    In 1980 the British Lions rugby union team toured South Africa . The tour was not a success in terms of international results, the Lions losing the first three tests before salvaging some pride with a win in the fourth...

    , 1983
    1983 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1983 the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand for the first time since 1977. The Lions went down to a 4-0 whitewash for only the second time in history - the previous was also inflicted by the All Blacks on the 1966 Lions. Overall the Lions played eighteen matches, winning twelve and...

  • Ciaran Fitzgerald
    Ciaran Fitzgerald
    Ciaran Fitzgerald in Loughrea, County Galway is a former Irish rugby union footballer and coach of the national team.- Biography :...

    : 1983
    1983 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1983 the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand for the first time since 1977. The Lions went down to a 4-0 whitewash for only the second time in history - the previous was also inflicted by the All Blacks on the 1966 Lions. Overall the Lions played eighteen matches, winning twelve and...

  • David Irwin
    David Irwin
    David George Irwin is a former rugby union player who played for and the British Lions.-Ireland:Between 1980 and 1990, Irwin made 25 appearances for , scoring 8 points including 2 tries...

    : 1983
    1983 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1983 the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand for the first time since 1977. The Lions went down to a 4-0 whitewash for only the second time in history - the previous was also inflicted by the All Blacks on the 1966 Lions. Overall the Lions played eighteen matches, winning twelve and...

  • Mike Kiernan
    Mike Kiernan
    Michael Joseph Kiernan is a former international rugby union player. In 1983 he toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions and a the time played club rugby for Dolphin RFC. His uncle, Tom Kiernan, was also an Irish rugby union international.-References:...

    : 1983
    1983 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1983 the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand for the first time since 1977. The Lions went down to a 4-0 whitewash for only the second time in history - the previous was also inflicted by the All Blacks on the 1966 Lions. Overall the Lions played eighteen matches, winning twelve and...

  • Hugo MacNeill
    Hugo MacNeill (rugby player)
    Hugh Patrick "Hugo" MacNeill is a former Ireland international rugby union player. In 1983 he toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions and a the time played club rugby for Oxford University RFC....

    : 1983
    1983 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1983 the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand for the first time since 1977. The Lions went down to a 4-0 whitewash for only the second time in history - the previous was also inflicted by the All Blacks on the 1966 Lions. Overall the Lions played eighteen matches, winning twelve and...

  • Gerry McLoughlin
    Gerry McLoughlin
    Gerard Anthony Joseph McLoughlin is a former international rugby union player. He played club rugby for Shannon RFC and played on the 1983 British Lions tour to New Zealand....

    : 1983
    1983 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1983 the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand for the first time since 1977. The Lions went down to a 4-0 whitewash for only the second time in history - the previous was also inflicted by the All Blacks on the 1966 Lions. Overall the Lions played eighteen matches, winning twelve and...

  • Trevor Ringland
    Trevor Ringland
    Trevor Maxwell Ringland, MBE is a solicitor, former rugby union winger and Unionist politician. After attending Larne Grammar School Ringland studied law at Queen's University Belfast.-Rugby career:...

    : 1983
    1983 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1983 the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand for the first time since 1977. The Lions went down to a 4-0 whitewash for only the second time in history - the previous was also inflicted by the All Blacks on the 1966 Lions. Overall the Lions played eighteen matches, winning twelve and...

  • Donal Lenihan
    Donal Lenihan
    Donal Gerard Lenihan is a retired Irish rugby union player with 52 international caps.- Biography:Donal was raised in a sporting background. His father, Gerald Lenihan, was an All-Ireland heavyweight boxing champion and Gaelic footballer of distinction, and played in the same team as Jack Lynch...

    : 1983
    1983 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1983 the British and Irish Lions toured New Zealand for the first time since 1977. The Lions went down to a 4-0 whitewash for only the second time in history - the previous was also inflicted by the All Blacks on the 1966 Lions. Overall the Lions played eighteen matches, winning twelve and...

    , 1989
    1989 British Lions tour to Australia
    In 1989 the British Lions toured Australia for the first time since 1971. Despite losing the first test, the Lions won the remaining two to take the series 2-1...

  • Paul Dean
    Paul Dean (rugby player)
    Paul Michael Dean is a former Irish international rugby union player. He toured Australia in 1989 with the British and Irish Lions and at the time played club rugby for St. Mary's College RFC.-Notes:...

    : 1989
    1989 British Lions tour to Australia
    In 1989 the British Lions toured Australia for the first time since 1971. Despite losing the first test, the Lions won the remaining two to take the series 2-1...

  • Brendan Mullin
    Brendan Mullin
    Brendan John Mullin is a former Ireland international rugby union footballer. He played as a centre.-Profile:Mullin was educated at one of the leading Irish schools rugby nurseries Blackrock College, Dublin...

    : 1989
    1989 British Lions tour to Australia
    In 1989 the British Lions toured Australia for the first time since 1971. Despite losing the first test, the Lions won the remaining two to take the series 2-1...

  • Steve Smith
    Steve Smith (Irish rugby player)
    Stephen James Smith is a former Ireland international rugby union player. He played as a hooker.Smith had 25 caps for Ireland, from 1988 to 1993, scoring 2 tries, 8 points in aggregate...

    : 1989
    1989 British Lions tour to Australia
    In 1989 the British Lions toured Australia for the first time since 1971. Despite losing the first test, the Lions won the remaining two to take the series 2-1...

  • Philip Matthews
    Philip Matthews
    Phillip Michael Matthews is the current President of the National College of Ireland, in Dublin, since February 2009...

    : 1989
    1989 British Lions tour to Australia
    In 1989 the British Lions toured Australia for the first time since 1971. Despite losing the first test, the Lions won the remaining two to take the series 2-1...

  • Vince Cunningham
    Vince Cunningham
    Vincent John Gerald Cunningham is a former Ireland international rugby union player. He played as a centre.He had 16 caps for Ireland, from 1988 to 1994, scoring 3 tries and 1 conversion, 14 points in aggregate. The Irish centre played two matches at the 1991 Rugby World Cup finals...

    : 1993
    1993 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1993 the British Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand. This tour followed the Lions' 1989 tour to Australia and preceded their 1997 tour to South Africa. It was the last Lions tour in the sport's amateur era....

  • Mick Galwey: 1993
    1993 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1993 the British Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand. This tour followed the Lions' 1989 tour to Australia and preceded their 1997 tour to South Africa. It was the last Lions tour in the sport's amateur era....

  • Richard Wallace: 1993
    1993 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1993 the British Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand. This tour followed the Lions' 1989 tour to Australia and preceded their 1997 tour to South Africa. It was the last Lions tour in the sport's amateur era....

  • Nick Popplewell
    Nick Popplewell
    Nick Popplewell is an Irish former rugby union player who won 48 caps for his country between 1989 and 1998. He played club rugby for Greystones RFC and the Newcastle Falcons. He started all 3 tests for the British & Irish Lions on the tour to New Zealand in 1993-External links:*...

    : 1993
    1993 British Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 1993 the British Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand. This tour followed the Lions' 1989 tour to Australia and preceded their 1997 tour to South Africa. It was the last Lions tour in the sport's amateur era....

  • Eric Miller
    Eric Miller (rugby player)
    Eric Roger Patrick Miller is a former Irish rugby union and Gaelic football player. As a rugby player Miller played for, among others Old Wesley, Leicester Tigers,[Ulster],Leinster, the Barbarians, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions...

    : 1997
    1997 British Lions tour to South Africa
    The 1997 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa was a series of matches played by the British and Irish Lions rugby union team in South Africa.This tour followed the Lions' 1993 tour to New Zealand and preceded their 2001 tour to Australia....

  • Paul Wallace: 1997
    1997 British Lions tour to South Africa
    The 1997 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa was a series of matches played by the British and Irish Lions rugby union team in South Africa.This tour followed the Lions' 1993 tour to New Zealand and preceded their 2001 tour to Australia....

  • Jeremy Davidson
    Jeremy Davidson
    Jeremy Davidson is a rugby union lock who played club rugby for Dungannon RFC, Ulster, London Irish and Castres Olympique. At international level he represented Ireland with 32 caps and also represented the British and Irish Lions...

    : 1997
    1997 British Lions tour to South Africa
    The 1997 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa was a series of matches played by the British and Irish Lions rugby union team in South Africa.This tour followed the Lions' 1993 tour to New Zealand and preceded their 2001 tour to Australia....

    , 2001
  • Keith Wood
    Keith Wood
    Keith Gerard Mallinson Wood and educated at St Munchin's College, Limerick is a former international rugby union footballer who played hooker for Ireland, the Lions, Garryowen, Harlequins and Munster....

    : 1997
    1997 British Lions tour to South Africa
    The 1997 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa was a series of matches played by the British and Irish Lions rugby union team in South Africa.This tour followed the Lions' 1993 tour to New Zealand and preceded their 2001 tour to Australia....

    , 2001
  • Rob Henderson
    Rob Henderson
    Robert Alexander James Henderson is a rugby union footballer who plays at centre for Esher RFC. He has represented Ireland with 32 caps and toured with the 2001 British and Irish Lions....

    : 2001
  • Tyrone Howe
    Tyrone Howe
    Tyrone Gyle Howe is a former rugby union footballer who played on the wing for University of St Andrews RFC, Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions....

    : 2001
  • David Wallace
    David Wallace (rugby player)
    David P. Wallace is an Irish rugby union player for Munster and Ireland. He grew up in Limerick on the Ennis Road. He did not leave Limerick until the age of 17, when he started playing for Munster. He normally plays as an Openside Flanker, but has also played Blindside and Number 8...

    : 2001, 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

  • Malcolm O'Kelly
    Malcolm O'Kelly
    Malcolm O'Kelly is a retired Irish rugby union player who played as a lock for Ireland and Leinster....

    : 2001, 2005
    2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 2005 the British and Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing 7 tour matches against first and second division clubs from the National Provincial Championship series, 1 tour match against the national New Zealand all Māori club, and 3 official test...

  • Brian O'Driscoll
    Brian O'Driscoll
    Brian O'Driscoll is an Irish professional rugby union player. He is the current captain of the Ireland Rugby team and captained Leinster Rugby until the start of 2008 season. He also captained the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand...

    : 2001, 2005
    2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 2005 the British and Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing 7 tour matches against first and second division clubs from the National Provincial Championship series, 1 tour match against the national New Zealand all Māori club, and 3 official test...

    , 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

  • Ronan O'Gara
    Ronan O'Gara
    Ronan John Ross O'Gara is an Irish rugby union player, playing at fly-half for both Munster and Ireland. He is the all time highest point scorer for both Munster and Ireland. In addition to his prolific point-scoring, he has captained Munster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions...

    : 2001, 2005
    2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 2005 the British and Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing 7 tour matches against first and second division clubs from the National Provincial Championship series, 1 tour match against the national New Zealand all Māori club, and 3 official test...

    , 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

  • Shane Byrne: 2005
    2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 2005 the British and Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing 7 tour matches against first and second division clubs from the National Provincial Championship series, 1 tour match against the national New Zealand all Māori club, and 3 official test...

  • Gordon D'Arcy
    Gordon D'Arcy
    Gordon William D'Arcy is an Irish rugby player, more specifically an inside centre. He is registered to Lansdowne RFC and plays for provincial and RaboDirect Pro12 side Leinster.-Career:...

    : 2005
    2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 2005 the British and Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing 7 tour matches against first and second division clubs from the National Provincial Championship series, 1 tour match against the national New Zealand all Māori club, and 3 official test...

    , 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

  • Simon Easterby
    Simon Easterby
    Simon Easterby is an English-born Irish rugby union footballer. He plays for Scarlets, for whom he is a player-coach, and is a recently retired Ireland international. His regular position is at blindside flanker, but he is equally adept on the openside.-Early life:Easterby's father is English and...

    : 2005
    2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 2005 the British and Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing 7 tour matches against first and second division clubs from the National Provincial Championship series, 1 tour match against the national New Zealand all Māori club, and 3 official test...

  • John Hayes
    John Hayes (rugby player)
    John Hayes is an Irish rugby union player, who plays in the RaboDirect Pro12 and Heineken Cup for Munster. Having spent his underage career playing with the local Cappamore GAA club, he was 18 when he started playing rugby. It was his size which enabled him to overcome his late start to the sport...

    : 2005
    2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 2005 the British and Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing 7 tour matches against first and second division clubs from the National Provincial Championship series, 1 tour match against the national New Zealand all Māori club, and 3 official test...

    , 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

  • Denis Hickie
    Denis Hickie
    Denis Anthony Hickie born 13 February 1976 in Dublin, Ireland is a retired professional rugby union footballer employed by the Irish Rugby Football Union. He played his club rugby for Leinster. His primary position was on the wing. He is also known as Disco Denis as a result of his quick feet...

    : 2005
    2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 2005 the British and Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing 7 tour matches against first and second division clubs from the National Provincial Championship series, 1 tour match against the national New Zealand all Māori club, and 3 official test...

  • Shane Horgan
    Shane Horgan
    Shane Patrick Horgan born 18 July 1978 in Bellewstown, County Meath is a rugby union player who plays wing or centre for Leinster and Ireland. He is tall. While he was young he played for Boyne RFC. He also played Gaelic football at Minor level with Meath.Horgan joined Lansdowne on leaving...

    : 2005
    2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 2005 the British and Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing 7 tour matches against first and second division clubs from the National Provincial Championship series, 1 tour match against the national New Zealand all Māori club, and 3 official test...

  • Donncha O'Callaghan
    Donncha O'Callaghan
    Donncha O'Callaghan is an Irish rugby union footballer. He plays as a lock for Munster and Ireland.- Early career :He began his rugby education in Highfield Rugby Club, on the Model Farm Road in Cork. During the 1997/98 season he won a Schools Senior Cup with the Christian Brothers College, Cork,...

    : 2005
    2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 2005 the British and Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing 7 tour matches against first and second division clubs from the National Provincial Championship series, 1 tour match against the national New Zealand all Māori club, and 3 official test...

    , 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

  • Paul O'Connell
    Paul O'Connell
    Paul O'Connell is an Irish rugby union player who plays lock for Munster and Ireland. He also captained the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa.-Early life:...

    : 2005
    2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand
    In 2005 the British and Irish Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, playing 7 tour matches against first and second division clubs from the National Provincial Championship series, 1 tour match against the national New Zealand all Māori club, and 3 official test...

    , 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

  • Stephen Ferris: 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

  • Jamie Heaslip
    Jamie Heaslip
    James Peter Richard "Jamie" Heaslip is a Leinster & Irish rugby union player.- Early life :Heaslip was born in Tiberias, Israel, while his father, retired Brigadier General Richard Heaslip, was there on duty with UNIFIL. He attended Newbridge College before starring at the 2004 U-21 World Cup in...

    : 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

  • Keith Earls
    Keith Earls
    Keith Earls is an Irish rugby union footballer for Munster in the RaboDirect Pro12 and Heineken Cup. Internationally, Earls plays for Ireland, and he represented the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa. He plays as an Outside Centre, Winger or Fullback. He won a Munster...

    : 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

  • Tommy Bowe
    Tommy Bowe
    Thomas John "Tommy" Bowe is an Irish rugby union footballer from County Monaghan, Ireland...

    : 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

  • Luke Fitzgerald
    Luke Fitzgerald
    Luke Matthew Fitzgerald is a Rugby Union footballer. He currently plays at winger or centre for Leinster. Having previously studied at Blackrock College he won two Leinster Schools Senior Cups, in 2004 and 2006. He won his first cap for Ireland in November 2006...

    : 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....

  • Rob Kearney
    Rob Kearney
    Robert Kearney , also referred to as Rob Kearney, is an Irish rugby union footballer who currently plays for UCD, Leinster and Ireland. As a youth he also played rugby union for Clongowes Wood College and Gaelic football for Louth in the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship...

    : 2009
    2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
    The 2009 British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa was an international rugby union tour which took place in South Africa from May to July 2009....


  • See also List of Ireland national rugby union footballers

    Individual records

    • Of the 34 players known to have earned 90 or more Test caps, four are current members of the Ireland team. Ireland's all-time caps leader is Brian O'Driscoll
      Brian O'Driscoll
      Brian O'Driscoll is an Irish professional rugby union player. He is the current captain of the Ireland Rugby team and captained Leinster Rugby until the start of 2008 season. He also captained the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand...

       with 117. Trailing him are Ronan O'Gara
      Ronan O'Gara
      Ronan John Ross O'Gara is an Irish rugby union player, playing at fly-half for both Munster and Ireland. He is the all time highest point scorer for both Munster and Ireland. In addition to his prolific point-scoring, he has captained Munster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions...

       with 116 and John Hayes with 105. One other member of this club has been recently active—Peter Stringer
      Peter Stringer
      Peter Alexander Stringer is an Irish rugby union player who plays at scrum half for Munster and Ireland. He is one of the most recognisable players in world rugby as Stringer stands only 1.7m tall and weighs in at just over 70 kg .-Career:In February 2000, he made his debut for Ireland...

      , with 98 caps. Malcolm O'Kelly
      Malcolm O'Kelly
      Malcolm O'Kelly is a retired Irish rugby union player who played as a lock for Ireland and Leinster....

      , with 92 caps, made his last international appearance in the 2009 Six Nations and retired from rugby in May 2010. This does not include caps for the Lions. When those are included, O'Driscoll's combined total of 123 international caps places him first among players currently active at Test level, and second in all-time. Ronan O'Gara (118) and John Hayes (107) are fourth and twelfth respectively on the all-time caps list, and second and seventh respectively for players still active in international rugby union.

    • O'Gara
      Ronan O'Gara
      Ronan John Ross O'Gara is an Irish rugby union player, playing at fly-half for both Munster and Ireland. He is the all time highest point scorer for both Munster and Ireland. In addition to his prolific point-scoring, he has captained Munster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions...

       holds the Ireland record for Test points with 1,075, placing him fourth all-time in international rugby union, and making him one of only five players to have reached the 1,000 points mark. The only active players ahead of him are Dan Carter (1,250), the all-time leader, and Jonny Wilkinson
      Jonny Wilkinson
      Jonathan Peter "Jonny" Wilkinson OBE is an English rugby union player and member of the England national team. Wilkinson rose to acclaim from 2001 to 2003, before and during the 2003 Rugby World Cup and was acknowledged as one of the world’s best rugby players...

       (1,244). David Humphreys
      David Humphreys (rugby union)
      David Humphreys MBE is a retired rugby player. He played for 72 times for Ireland and for Ulster.-Life & Career:...

       lies 2nd in the national list with 560 points & Michael Kiernan is 3rd on 308 points.

    • As of 20 March 2011, O'Gara is the highest points scorer in the Six Nations with 551 points. Jonny Wilkinson is second with 546, and Stephen Jones
      Stephen Jones (rugby player)
      Stephen Michael Jones is a Welsh international rugby union player who plays primarily at fly-half for Wales, the British and Irish Lions and Scarlets....

       is third with 467.

    • Ireland's record try scorer is O'Driscoll
      Brian O'Driscoll
      Brian O'Driscoll is an Irish professional rugby union player. He is the current captain of the Ireland Rugby team and captained Leinster Rugby until the start of 2008 season. He also captained the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand...

      , with 45 tries in his 117 appearances. Denis Hickie
      Denis Hickie
      Denis Anthony Hickie born 13 February 1976 in Dublin, Ireland is a retired professional rugby union footballer employed by the Irish Rugby Football Union. He played his club rugby for Leinster. His primary position was on the wing. He is also known as Disco Denis as a result of his quick feet...

       (29 tries), Shane Horgan
      Shane Horgan
      Shane Patrick Horgan born 18 July 1978 in Bellewstown, County Meath is a rugby union player who plays wing or centre for Leinster and Ireland. He is tall. While he was young he played for Boyne RFC. He also played Gaelic football at Minor level with Meath.Horgan joined Lansdowne on leaving...

       (21), Tommy Bowe
      Tommy Bowe
      Thomas John "Tommy" Bowe is an Irish rugby union footballer from County Monaghan, Ireland...

       (19) & Girvan Dempsey
      Girvan Dempsey
      Girvan Dempsey is a retired rugby union footballer who played at full back for Leinster and Ireland.- Rugby career :...

       (19) complete the top 5 Irish try scorers.

    • O'Driscoll is also second behind John Smit
      John Smit
      John William Smit is the 50th and current captain of the South African national rugby union team, the Springboks. He has played most of his career as a hooker, but played twice for the Springboks off the bench as a prop prior to the South Africa coaching staff's decision to use him as a tighthead...

       on the all-time list for Test matches as captain. Smit has captained South Africa 83 times, whilst O'Driscoll has captained Ireland 80 times and the Lions
      British and Irish Lions
      The British and Irish Lions is a rugby union team made up of players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales...

       once.

    • Keith Wood
      Keith Wood
      Keith Gerard Mallinson Wood and educated at St Munchin's College, Limerick is a former international rugby union footballer who played hooker for Ireland, the Lions, Garryowen, Harlequins and Munster....

       currently holds the world rugby union record for most International Test tries scored by a hooker, which is 15.

    • Thomas Gisborne Gordon
      Thomas Gisborne Gordon
      Thomas Gisborne Gordon, was a rugby football player who played for North of Ireland F.C. and represented Ireland. He has the distinction of being the only one-handed/armed man ever to play international rugby ....

      , who played for Ireland between 1877–78, is the only one handed player to have competed in international rugby of either code.

    Coaches

    The IRFU first decided to appoint a coach in 1968
    • Ronnie Dawson
      Ronnie Dawson (rugby player)
      Alfred Ronald "Ronnie" Dawson played hooker for Ireland and was captain of the British Lions rugby union team on their 1959 tour to Australia, New Zealand and Canada.Ronnie was educated in St...

       1971? – 1975
    • Roly Meates
      Roly Meates
      T.W.Roland "Roly" Meates is a former Ireland national rugby union team coach and chairman of the Irish Rugby Football Union board of selectors....

       1975–1977
    • Noel Murphy 1977–1980
    • Willie John McBride
      Willie John McBride
      William James McBride, MBE, better known as Willie John McBride is a former rugby union footballer who played as a lock for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions. He played 63 Tests for Ireland including eleven as captain, and toured with the Lions five times — a record that gave him 17...

       1980–1984
    • Mick Doyle
      Mick Doyle (rugby player)
      Mick Doyle was an Irish rugby union international player and coach.Doyle was born in Castleisland, County Kerry, and began playing rugby union at Newbridge College, County Kildare. He went on to study veterinary science at University College Dublin, who he also represented at rugby...

       1984–1987
    • Jim Davidson
      Jim Davidson
      Jim Davidson may refer to:* Jim Davidson , American actor* Jim Davidson , American football player, played for Ohio State Buckeyes and drafted by the Buffalo Bills* Jim Davidson , Australia author, see Meanjin...

       1987–1990
    • Ciaran Fitzgerald
      Ciaran Fitzgerald
      Ciaran Fitzgerald in Loughrea, County Galway is a former Irish rugby union footballer and coach of the national team.- Biography :...

       1990–1992
  • Gerry Murphy 1993–1995
  • Murray Kidd
    Murray Kidd
    -Coaching career:He worked as a coach in Ireland, at Garryowen Football Club, in 1991/92, and at Sunday's Well, in Division Two of the AIB League. He was nominated head coach of Ireland, on 13 October 1995, and held the office for a year, until resigning. In 9 games, he achieved 3 wins and 6...

     1995–1997
  • Brian Ashton
    Brian Ashton (rugby player)
    William Brian Ashton MBE is a former rugby union player and the former Head Coach of the England and Ireland national rugby union teams.-Biography:...

     1997–1998
  • Warren Gatland
    Warren Gatland
    Warren David Gatland is a former New Zealand rugby footballer and the current head coach of the Wales national team.Gatland was born in Hamilton, New Zealand and educated at Hamilton Boys' High School and Waikato University...

     1998–2001
  • Eddie O'Sullivan
    Eddie O'Sullivan
    Eddie O'Sullivan is an Irish rugby union coach and a former footballer. He is a former head coach of the United States national rugby union team and of the Ireland national rugby union team....

     2001–2008
  • Declan Kidney
    Declan Kidney
    Declan Kidney is an Irish rugby union coach.-Early life:Kidney played rugby for UCC and later for Dolphin RFC....

     2008 – present

  • See also

    • Ireland national rugby union team tours
      Ireland national rugby union team tours
      This article is a list of tours by the Ireland national rugby union team- Ireland Rugby Tours :- Tour stats :...

    • Irish Rugby Football Union
      Irish Rugby Football Union
      The Irish Rugby Football Union is the body managing rugby union in Ireland. The IRFU has its head office at 10/12 Lansdowne Road and home ground at Aviva Stadium, where Irish rugby union international matches are played...

    • Six Nations
      Six Nations Championship
      The Six Nations Championship is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales....

    • World Cup
      Rugby World Cup
      The Rugby World Cup is an international rugby union competition organised by the International Rugby Board and held every four years since 1987....

    • British and Irish Lions
      British and Irish Lions
      The British and Irish Lions is a rugby union team made up of players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales...

    • Magners League
    • Millennium Trophy
      Millennium Trophy
      The Millennium Trophy is a rugby union award contested annually by Ireland and England as part of the Six Nations Championship. It was initiated in 1988 as part of Dublin's millennial celebrations...

    • Rugby union in Ireland
      Rugby union in Ireland
      Rugby union is a popular team sport played in Ireland. The sport is organised on an all-Ireland basis with one team, governing body and league for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland...

    • History of rugby union matches between Ireland and:
      • Argentina
        History of rugby union matches between Argentina and Ireland
        The history of rugby union matches between Argentina and Ireland is one of a very even contest. the sides have met seventeen times with a result of nine wins to Ireland, seven to Argentina and one drawn game. At the end of the 2010 Autumn Internationals there was only a nineteen point difference...

      • Australia
        History of rugby union matches between Australia and Ireland
        -Overall summary:-Results:...

      • England
        History of rugby union matches between England and Ireland
        England first played against Ireland in 1875, beating them 15–0 at The Oval, London. The two teams have played a total of 125 Test matches, with England winning 71 of them, Ireland 46 and 8 resulting in a draw.-Overall summary:-Results:...

      • Italy
        History of rugby union matches between Ireland and Italy
        The Ireland and Italy rugby union teams have a rivalry dating back to New Year's Eve 1988 when Ireland defeated Italy in a friendly, 31-15. Ireland have dominated the meetings, with the Italians only having achieved three victories...

      • New Zealand
        History of rugby union matches between Ireland and New Zealand
        The New Zealand All Blacks first played against Ireland in 1905, beating them 15–0 at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. The two teams have played a total of 24 Test matches, with the All Blacks winning 23 of them...

      • South Africa
      • Wales
        History of rugby union matches between Ireland and Wales
        Ireland and Wales have played each other at rugby union since 1882. A total of 117 matches have been played, with Wales winning 64 matches, Ireland winning 47 matches and six matches drawn.-Overall summary:-Results:...

    • Ireland national rugby league team
      Ireland national rugby league team
      The Ireland national rugby league team, known as the Wolfhounds, represent the island of Ireland in rugby league football. The team is organized by Rugby League Ireland and are accredited as an affiliate member of the Rugby League International Federation...


    Sources


    External links

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