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Irish Clubs Heavily Represented In The Guardian's All Time European Cup XV

Irish Clubs Heavily Represented In The Guardian's All Time European Cup XV
By Gary Reilly
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European club rugby is 20 years old this year, in a fully competitive manner of speaking at least. And to celebrate the Guardian have gone and started a heated debate.

The competition, in its various guises, can be awkwardly divided into three eras. Early English dominance, the golden era of Leinster and Munster and now the undoubted control of the French sides. But how do you marry all those different teams. Mam for man, how would Leicester Tigers at their best circa 2001 deal with Toulon of the past couple of years?

It's very difficult to compare eras but Robert Kitson in the Guardian has had a go at it and he's come up with a best ever selection from the past 20 years of European rugby.

Given that there's seven players from Irish provinces in the starting XV and three more in the replacements it's is not a bad indication of just how impressive those vintage Munster and Leinster teams were.


This is the final team that emerged.

Euro XV: Geordan Murphy (Leicester); Sitiveni Sivivatu (Clermont Auvergne), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster), Matt Giteau (Toulon), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse); Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/Racing Métro), Philippe Carbonneau (Toulouse/Brive); Cian Healy (Leinster), Trevor Leota (Wasps), Carl Hayman (Toulon), Martin Johnson (Leicester), Paul O’Connell (Munster), Rocky Elsom (Leinster), David Wallace (Munster), Anthony Foley (Munster).

Replacements: Raphaël Ibañez (Wasps), Graham Rowntree (Leicester), John Hayes (Munster), Simon Shaw (Wasps), Juan Martin Fernández-Lobbe (Toulon), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster), Ronan O’Gara (Munster), Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne)

The initial reaction from many of the England fans seems to be that Austin Healy was unlucky not to get a mention, while you have to think if this was done in five years time, Toulon would be even better represented. And we won't even start the debate about Sexton over O'Gara.

However, from an Irish point of view, we're going to say it's an absolute disgrace that Isa Nacewa is not there somewhere. We could make claims for Doug Howlett, Sean O'Brien and Rob Kearney as well but we won't be greedy.

[The Guardian]



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