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Afghanistan beat Ireland to make Cricket World Cup

Afghanistan beat Ireland to qualify for the World Cup. Credit: AP

Ireland will not participate at next year's World Cup after suffering an agonising defeat to Afghanistan in their all-or-nothing encounter in Harare.

The two latest full member nations of the International Cricket Council were both vying for a place in England and Wales next summer as the qualification tournament reached its crescendo.

And it was Afghanistan who prevailed as they overhauled Ireland's 209 for seven with five wickets and five balls to spare to join the West Indies in the 10-team global tournament.

It is a spectacular reversal of fortunes for Afghanistan, who lost their first three group games and only progressed to the Super Six stage through net run-rate before hitting their straps.

While they will be contemplating a World Cup qualifier final against the Windies on Sunday, Ireland miss out on the tournament proper for the first time since 2003.

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Ireland win the 6 Nations after England lose to France

Credit: PA

England's defence of their Six Nations title has ended in failure following a 22-16 loss in France.

Ireland had moved to the brink of glory by claiming a 28-8 bonus-point win over Scotland in Dublin earlier today.

Eddie Jones' side headed into their game knowing they needed to match Ireland's result against Scotland to keep the championship alive, but defeat at the Stade de France handed the NatWest 6 Nations crown to Joe Schmidt's men.

To get more reaction and highlights from the 6 Nations head to our dedicated site here

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Former Ireland captain Heaslip announces retirement

Former Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip has announced his retirement from the game at the age of 34. Credit: PA

Former Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip has announced his retirement from the game at the age of 34.

The 95-cap international made his debut in 2006 and went on to lead the side 13 times.

Heaslip, who spent his club career with Leinster, has been struggling with back problems.

"Jamie was an intelligent and incredibly robust player," Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said of Heaslip.

"The string of trophies he contributed to is lengthy, including three European Cups, three Six Nations, including the 2009 Grand Slam and a couple of PRO12 trophies thrown in for good measure."

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