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Dublin: 4°C Thursday 13 May 2021

Two Irish players made Midi Olympique's world XV for 2014

The French paper picked a solid line-up.

2014 was Paul O'Connell's best year in a long time.
2014 was Paul O'Connell's best year in a long time.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THERE IS PROBABLY nothing more subjective – yet has the ability to troll fans to extraordinary levels – than a team of the year.

After the autumn tests there were numerous efforts put forward by journalists from around the world and they almost all seemed designed to rile up rival fan bases.

One journalist based in New Zealand not only omitted Johnny Sexton - fair enough – but also threw in that Handré Pollard ‘did what Ireland’s Johnny Sexton will probably never do — and played two huge games against the All Blacks. Sexton has all the skills, but no bottle when it counts.’

French rugby bible Midi Olympique have released their selection, and it is probably a pretty accurate reflection of rugby in 2014.

15. Willie le Roux

14. Ben Smith

13. Tevita Kuridrani

12. Jean de Villiers

11. Julian Savea

10. Johnny Sexton

9. Aaron Smith

1. Joe Marler

2. Agustin Creevy

3. Owen Franks

4. Brodie Retallick

5. Paul O’Connell

6. Juan Martin Fernandez-Lobbe

7. Richie McCaw

8. Duane Vermeulen

Joe Marler is probably the biggest surprise in that selection but it is good to see Argentina’s strong finish to 2014 get rewarded in at least one publication’s team of the year.

There was also an ‘honourable mentions’ section (or the French equivalent – my grasp of the language has regressed a great deal since my Leaving Cert listening test) that featured Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross, Jamie Heaslip and Conor Murray.

Are the French acknowledging a good year for Ireland or trying to kill Joe Schmidt’s men with kindness ahead of next year’s World Cup?

What do you think, is this a fair selection?

H/T to Stephen Phillips for the team.

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