Since social distancing measures were introduced every sports media outlet in the country has been looking for into the annals for inspiration.

While the most recent World Cup did not go to plan, we would still accept that the professional era of rugby has been a tremendous success in Ireland - Grand Slams, Heineken Cups and significant Test victories.

All that success has been built on the four provinces and over the next few weeks we will pick the greatest XV of the professional era for Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster.

The views of players, pundits and the public will all be canvassed to give you the definitive selection. 

Before starting we must decide on the criteria. 

Should selection be based on achievements with a respective province in terms of caps, points or trophies won or should it simply be who was the best player to wear the jersey? 

For example, there is no doubt that peak Christian Cullen was the best player to wear the Munster, or any other, 15 jersey but selecting him in a best Munster XV seems ridiculous.

This is though a fantasy exercise, so the criteria will be peak performance during a player's time with their given province unless another candidate for the spot's longevity and/or achievements make them impossible to ignore. 

Clear? No? Good, let the games begin.

Leinster – Back Three 

We will pick a unit from a given province each day and have decided to jump right in at the deep end. Perhaps the most talent rich unit across any of the provinces... the Leinster Back Three is wide open with no clear certainties for selection.


Rob Kearney and Girvan Dempsey have been the mainstays, with Jordon Larmour now making the jersey his own. The presence of Isa Nacewa, who can play anywhere across the back three further complicates matters.

We will keep the list of candidates for public vote to three per position so one of the above must go.

Candidates - In the first of no doubt many horrendously unpopular decisions Girvan Dempsey misses out on the shortlist.

We’ve come to this decision on the basis that, while Dempsey’s achievement in the jersey are legendary, Rob Kearney still trumps him in terms of caps, points and trophies won so if the ultimate decision is to be made on those grounds Kearney takes the shirt.

Why Nacewa and Larmour ahead of Dempsey - If you were an opposition player or coach who would you rather play against?  


Six candidates for two positions. Simple. 

Shane Horgan, Denis Hickie, Luke Fitzgerald, Fergus McFadden, Dave Kearney and James Lowe.

RTÉ Selection

Isa Nacewa, Shane Horgan, James Lowe 

Unbelievably harsh on Rob Kearney. It’s saying something when he could well be Ireland’s greatest ever full-back but not Leinster’s.

Nacewa just has to be accommodated. For his contribution across two spells with the province, his consistent excellence on both the big occasion and when the team was short its international contingent, Nacewa is arguably the greatest ever foreign signing by an Irish province. Better attacking game than Kearney. 

On the wings I’m sure Luke Fitzgerald and Denis Hickie will have their supporters but for me Horgan and Lowe round off a hugely physical and combative back three with loads of football and loads of leadership. 

Horgan was a Test match Lion and the other two were nailed on All Blacks had they stuck around New Zealand, or not opted to play for Fiji!

But, this is just my own opinion. Please vote above for your own Leinster full-back and wings, or get in touch at, if you want to make a more considered contribution. We will be discussing these teams at length across RTÉ platforms in the coming weeks.