And on we go to the play-makers in blue.

We're into Day 3 of our mammoth task of selecting the definitive 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. 

Those of you who have already voted for the Leinster back three (it's not too late), and Leinster centres (ditto) will be aware of criteria, but for the rest here is our defence (explanation). 

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 continue.

Leinster half-backs


Despite Felipe Contepomi being a lightning rod for many of Leinster's best performances for most of the noughties, despite his leadership and the adoration reserved for him by the supporters and despite the sheer hatred for him among opposition supporters, there’s still only one real contender for the number 10 jersey.

From the moment Jonathan Sexton formally introduced himself during that seminal Croke Park coming of age against Munster he has been the driving force in the Leinster side.

His heroics against Northampton in Cardiff a couple of years later cemented his place as one of the very finest players ever to tog out for Leinster. At this point, arguably Ireland’s greatest out-half. We’ll give Ian Madigan the third slot over Nathan Spooner, David Holwell and Joey Carbery.

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Plenty of competition here but the fact that Peter Stringer, Tomas O’Leary and Conor Murray dominated the Irish number 9 jersey for so long tells a little bit of a story about the quality filling the position for Leinster for much of the professional era.

Eoin Reddan and Chris Whitaker are the most notable exceptions to this. Whitaker was under-rated, well respected by his peers and more than played his part in the province's inaugural Heineken Cup win.

It’s Reddan though whose been most synonymous with the Leinster 9 shirt in the pro era. His quick tempo, low maintenance approach was perfect for facilitating the kaleidoscopic talents outside him. Isaac Boss beats Brian O’Meara and Luke McGrath to the final spot amongst the contenders for selection.


Jonathan Sexton & Eoin Reddan

So that rounds off the Leinster backline selection, a quick recap...

15. Isa Nacewa

14. Shane Horgan

13. Brian O’Driscoll

12. Gordon Darcy

11. James Lowe

10. Jonathan Sexton

9. Eoin Reddan

It's not too late to vote for your own half-backs, or the other positions here, 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.