Ireland

Ireland at 'tipping point' as COVID-19 cases rise

Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said: "We are at a tipping point."

He added that a few weeks ago there were just 61 new reported cases for a seven day period but last week there were 533 cases.

The tightening of restrictions comes ahead of the reopening of schools over the next two weeks.

Taoiseach (Irish PM) Mícheál Martin said that if the current rates of COVID-19 continue to rise "it will be impossible to stop the spread of the virus to our most vulnerable and our most compromised".

TikTok to open $500m data centre in Ireland

It will store videos, messages and other data generated by European users from the short-form video-sharing app.

Until now all of its users' records were stored in the US, with a back-up copy held in Singapore.

The announcement comes at a time when President Trump has threatened to ban the app in the US on the grounds its Chinese ownership makes it a national security risk.

TikTok's Beijing-based parent company Bytedance denies the charge. However, it is in talks to sell its US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand operations to Microsoft.

     

Rugby Australia CEO admits July series with Ireland 'highly unlikely' to go ahead

The Wallabies are set to take on Andy Farrell’s Ireland in Brisbane on July 4 and Sydney on July 11, before playing Fiji in Townsville on July 18.

Yet with the global rugby calendar facing huge uncertainty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, those games look set to be postponed, or even cancelled.

Rugby Australia held their annual general meeting on Monday, where they revealed a $9.4 million operating deficit for the World Cup year of 2019.

Six Nations over for Ireland prop Healy

The Leinster stalwart was withdrawn after suffering the blow during a 24-12 defeat to England at Twickenham on Sunday

Healy has been ruled out of the clash with Italy at the Aviva Stadium on March 7 and will not face leaders France in Paris on the final day of the tournament.

Pro14 champions Leinster will be hoping the 32-year-old is available for a European Champions Cup quarter-final against holders Saracens in Dublin on April 4.

Healy will have to wait to bring up a century of caps, with his appearance against England taking him to 98.

Justin Marshall completely writes off Ireland's chances of upsetting All Blacks

The 46-year-old pundit – who won 81 caps for the All Blacks – slammed Ireland’s playing style and tipped his countrymen to put a big score on Joe Schmidt’s side.

Talking to News hub, Marshall explained: “I’m not convinced they’re as good a side as they have been in the past.”

“They’ve got a little laborious in the way they’ve been attacking. They’re predictable.

“The All Blacks will be up for it and I think we could actually see them put some points on them and win quite comfortably.”

All Blacks team to play Ireland named

The in-form Anton Lienert-Brown and Jack Goodhue will partner in the midfield in an otherwise experienced All Blacks line up.

Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Nepo Laulala make up the front row, Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock are the starting locks, while Ardie Savea, Sam Cane and Kieran Read are the loose forward trio.

Aaron Smith has been named the starting halfback, Richie Mo'unga at first five, George Bridge and Sevu Reece are on the wings and Beauden Barrett is at fullback.

Bundee Aki handed three week ban

The New Zealand born player was sent off in the 47-5 Pool A win over the Samoans in Fukuoka on Saturday, for a high tackle on UJ Seuteni.

Aki faced a disciplinary hearing in Tokyo on Monday night, contesting the red card decision in a bid to be available for Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand.

But the 29-year-old failed in that quest and was hit with a three-week ban, that would even rule him out of the World Cup final, should Ireland make it that far.

Typhoon Hagibis set to wreck Ireland's quarter-finals hopes

A typhoon-watch warning has been issued for their final pool game against Samoa in Fukuoka on Saturday night.

Typhoon Hagibis is developing off the south coast of Japan, and could bring heavy rain and high winds this weekend.

If the match is called off, the two sides would share the points, taking Ireland's quarter-final ambitions out of their hands.

Should Scotland beat Russia with a bonus point and follow that with victory over Japan, the Irish would miss the playoffs and a potential final-eight showdown with the All Blacks. 

Aki hoping to achieve 'proud' moment against Samoa

The Ireland juggernaut centre admitted it would be a source of huge family pride should he get the nod to take on Samoa in Fukuoka on Saturday.

Aki was born in Auckland to Samoan parents and starred with the Chiefs before joining Connacht in 2014, committing to Ireland in both rugby and community.

The 29-year-old conjured a barnstorming performance when Ireland dispatched New Zealand 16-9 in Dublin in November, producing the perfect riposte to All Blacks coach Ian Foster who had questioned his residency qualification.

Rugby hosts Japan stun Ireland 19-12 in massive World Cup upset

The Brave Blossoms came from behind at Shizuoka Stadium with Kenki Fukuoka's second-half try and Yu Tamura's boot beating a side recently ranked number one in the world in a shock to match their victory over twice world champions South Africa at the 2015 World Cup.

While they stunned world rugby then, to win this time in front of an uproarious home crowd with so much focus on Asia's first World Cup was arguably more significant.