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7 Irish players make The Guardian's European best XV of the past 20 years

Munster’s Paul O’Connell is among the legends to make the cut for the fantasy team.

Munster's Paul O'Connell features in the best European XV team.
Munster's Paul O'Connell features in the best European XV team.

WITH THE UPCOMING Champions Cup final marking 20 years of European club rugby, one influential newspaper has created a best XV from down through the years.

The Guardian’s team features an inevitable array of interesting inclusions and omissions.

Ireland has a healthy representation in the imaginary side, with seven players, in addition to one-time Leinster star Rocky Elsom.

Meanwhile, Ronan O’Gara, John Hayes and Ulster’s Ruan Pienaar make the bench.

There is no room, however, for some top players, including Sean O’Brien, Clement Poitrenaud and Jonny Wilkinson.

Best 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).

Champions Cup regrets? If only the final had stayed in the San Siro>

France are hopeful of hosting next season’s Champions Cup final in Marseille>

 

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Paul Fennessy

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