Rugby

Sam Warburton Selects Four Irish Players In Best International Team He Has Faced

Sam Warburton Selects Four Irish Players In Best International Team He Has Faced

Former Wales captain Sam Warburton has selected four Irish players in his 'best international team he has faced'.

The Welshman retired from rugby in July 2018 after struggling with a neck and knee injury. In his new autobiography, Open Side, the 31-year old picked a squad from all of his opponents.

Two players make the starting team, with Paul O'Connell and Brian O'Driscoll getting the nod. There are a further two on the bench with Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong included.

As a former backrow, there was one aspect of O'Driscoll in particular that Warburton admired:

His highlights reel, longer than almost anybody else's, shows his skill and flair. It doesn't show what a great jackaller he was; in all seriousness, better than quite a few international 7s.

He described Cian Healy as a "devastating athlete", Paul O'Connell as a "leader and Lions legend" and had a bold prediction for Furlong: "A massive man who will only get better."

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Team:

15. Israel Folau (Australia), 14. Bryan Habana (South Africa), 13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland), 12. Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand), 11. Julian Savea (New Zealand), 10. Jonny Wilkinson (England), 9. Will Genia (Australia);

8. Kieran Read (New Zealand), 7. David Pocock (Australia), 6. Jerome Kaino (New Zealand), 5. Sam Whitelock (New Zealand), 4. Paul O’Connell (Ireland) (c), 3. Carl Hayman (New Zealand), 2. Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa), 1. Andrew Sheridan (England).

Subs: 

16. Guilhem Guirado (France), 17. Cian Healy (Ireland), 18. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 19. Maro Itoje (England), 20. Richie McCaw (New Zealand), 21. Aaron Smith (New Zealand), 22. Dan Carter (New Zealand), 23. Stuart Hogg (Scotland).

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Maurice Brosnan

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