To celebrate the release of Elverys new Rugby Hub, Elverys are giving you the chance to win VIP tickets to Ireland's game against South Africa next week. For your chance to win, click the link here, and give your favourite #RealRugby moment
To get you in the mood, we at balls.ie have come up with our top 10 greatest #RealRugby moments of Irish rugby from the professional era. There are many moments that narrowly missed out, with Connacht's victory in Toulouse, O'Driscoll's pass to himself and Ulster's Heineken Cup victory narrowly missing out.
We'd also love to hear your moments, so please comment below.
10. Brian O'Driscoll's hat-trick v France in 2001
The game that catapulted Brian O'Driscoll into the public consciousness, and signalled the start of Ireland's golden era. Ireland hadn't won in France in 27 years, and thanks to O'Driscoll's hat-trick and David Humphrey's boot.
9. Gordon D'Arcy's try v France in 2009
After over a year out from a broken arm, Gordon D'Arcy sealed the win over France in 2009 with this well taken try. This moment more than others signifies a lot to me. First, the relief on D'Arcy's face after he gets up, knowing that the talk of him being 'finished' is over. Second, the reaction of the team around him show how together that group of players Ireland had were, and third, it was only the 2nd victory over France in 9 years, and the start of something special to come.
8. Ireland beating England
There are three classic Irish try against England in the olden era; Keith Wood's try from a lineout to beat England for the first time in years in 2001, Girvan Dempsey's try against the recently crowned world champions in 2004 and this try from Shane Horgan in the corner with a minute to go to win the Triple Crown.
7. Irish Ladies beat the All Blacks
As we put into context; The Irish men having been trying since 1905 to beat New Zealand to no success. Earlier this year, the Irish women had a remarkable result over the Black Ferns in the World Cup. It made everyone sit up and take notice of women's rugby in Ireland, and it was fantastic to build upon after the Grand Slam the year before. Ireland went on to finish 4th in the tournament.
6. The Miracle Match
Needing to win by four clear tries and at least 27 points against Gloucester in the final round of the pool stages of the Heineken Cup in 2003, Munster pulled off something remarkable. They had lost to Gloucester 35-16 already in the tournament, and were given little chance of leapfrogging their opponents who had a better points and tries difference. John Kelly's second try in the final minute gave Ronan O'Gara the sideline conversion to get the exact points required. The rest is history.
5. Peter Stringer's try in the Heineken Cup Final 2006
Peter Stringer scored 11 tries in 232 appearances for Munster, none more important than this legendary moment. With the score tied and 10 apiece, and Biarritz aware of Stringer's lack of try scoring, the little scrum-half did the rest.
4. Jonny Sexton and Leinster's comeback in the Heineken Cup Final in 2011
We all remember exactly where we were for games like these. Such was the unlikely nature of the Sexton inspired comeback, that it is still mentioned whenever any match involving an Irish team has a 16 point deficit at half time. Sexton took the team on his shoulders and showed them the way in a remarkable 20 minutes of rugby.
3. The Drop Goal
Need I even mention what game. Described by Paul O'Connell as the "manky drop goal", Ronan O'Gara's strike to put Ireland ahead in the crucial game in Cardiff in 2009 ended up being enough for Ireland to win the Grand Slam for the first time in 61 years. Watching the video still leaves me on the edge of my seat.
2. The Munster Haka
A rematch of the historic 1978 Munster victory, a touring New Zealand side came to Thomond Park on a blustery night back in 2008. It was a throwback to the amateur ethos of international touring sides playing local teams, and what was served up was another game that will forever be etched into Munster folklore. Preceding a wonderful match, was a spine-tingling moment where the New Zealanders in the Munster side performed a haka.
1. England in Croke Park
Listed as one of the greatest moments in Irish sporting history, the day England came to Croke Park is Irish rugby's greatest moment. The respect that was given to 'God Save The Queen' was one of Ireland's proudest moments, and the beating that we gave the English put the icing on the cake. It was fitting in the home of the GAA, that the iconic moment of the match featured a cross kick try from Ronan O'Gara to Shane Horgan.
Let us know what your favourite Irish rugby moment is.