Munster Rugby quartet Dave Kilcoyne, Paul O’Connell, Ronan O’Gara and Peter O’Mahony have been voted onto the Guinness PRO14’s Ultimate XV.
The voting for the ultimate XV took place over three weeks with supporters getting the chance to vote for the best player in the respective positions.
Kilcoyne was the first Munster man selected on the team at Loosehead with the Pro 14 website saying,
“In the No 1 shirt for the 2013-14 and 2015-16’s Dream Team, Kilcoyne doesn’t look like he was attached to a squat rack from birth but his power in the tight, ball-carrying ability and V12 engine belie his generous frame.
Kilcoyne has made over 180 appearances for his province but has been a relatively slow-burner on the international stage where he has stood in the shadows of Cian Healy and Jack McGrath. However, in the last 18 months his form has reinforced what all those fans in Thomond Park already knew, Kilcoyne is the real deal.”
Paul O’Connell was selected a couple of days later as the undisputed first choice lock.
“When Munster were in their pomp between 2003 and 2011, winning the 2006 and 2008 Heineken Cup and three Pro12 titles, other teams spoke of their aura; an intangible that broke the mental resolve of opponents before entering the field of play.
The chief protagonists could be rolled off the tongue in a heartbeat; Anthony Foley, Jerry Flannery, David Wallace, Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer and many more, but one player stood literally head and shoulders above all of them.
Paul O’Connell was flame-haired, 6ft 6in and 18st of sinewy muscle who didn’t mind getting involved in the rough stuff.
A talented swimmer born in rugby-mad Limerick, he had the mighty wingspan of a butterfly specialist and was a menace at the set-piece but like all modern-day greats, constantly sought to improve, refining his handling and carrying game throughout his career.
His list of achievements is dizzying; 108 Ireland caps, four World Cups and three Lions tours, where he captained the 2009 tourists and a key part of Ireland’s first Grand Slam-winning squad since 1948. ‘Paulie’ had it all.”
“In many ways, Peter O’Mahony has been a flag bearer for Munster in recent years. Having come through under gnarled pack members Paul O’Connell, Donncha O’Callaghan and John Hayes, O’Mahony has shown that unbreakable spirit in the red of Munster repeatedly, after 133 appearances for the province.
Hailing from Cork, O’Mahony’s attitude, aptitude and steely resolve have led to him winning 67 caps in an Ireland jersey and was enough to see him leading the British & Irish Lions in 2017 in the First Test in Auckland.
A member of the 2018 Grand Slam-winning side under Joe Schmidt, O’Mahony’s work at the tail of the lineout was integral to bringing England’s 17-game winning run to an end in the squall of Dublin.
Having just turned 30 and after a decade in the Munster shirt, in which he made his debut against Australia in their famous 15-6 win, O’Mahony knows his job is to the kids through in ‘The Munster Way’. No backward step.”
The final Munster man selected on the team was Rronan O’Gara with the out-half the only man from the Provicne in the backline.
“There may have been bigger, gnarlier No 10s than Ronan O’Gara roaming the Pro12 in the 2000s but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone with his competitive zeal.
Famous for his quick wit that could reduce lesser mortals to quivering wrecks, ‘ROG’ was relentless in driving Munster and Ireland around the field to winning positions, with his pinpoint tactical kicking, vision and reading of the game.
With a fend that belied his modest frame, O’Gara was a conductor to some wonderful backs for province and country over a stellar 16-year career. With 128 Irish caps, including the never-to-be forgotten Grand Slam in 2009, O’Gara had close ties with Declan Kidney, having been taught by him in school, and it led to nearly 250 caps for Munster and 2625 points.
A Heineken Cup winner in 2006 and 2008, he won the Pro12 on three occasions with Munster. O’Gara’s standing in the game saw him travelling as a Lions tourist in 2001, 2005 and 2009.
After retiring in 2015, O’Gara’s acute rugby brain has seen him make a successful leap into coaching where he is very highly regarded after working with Racing 92, Canterbury Crusaders and currently La Rochelle.”
The nominees for the Ultimate XV were taken from the 13 Guinness PRO14 ‘Dream Teams‘ selected by the media since the 2006-07 season.
See the full Ultimate XV selection below.
Guinness PRO14 Ultimate XV: Isa Nacewa; Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Shane Williams; Ronan O’Gara, Ruan Pienaar; Dave Kilcoyne, Ken Owens, Adam Jones; Paul O’Connell, Alun Wyn Jones; Peter O’Mahony, Justin Tipuric, Jamie Heaslip.
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