The Munster midfield has had no shortage of quality operators in the professional era.

What is noticeable though is that the vast majority of the very best players in the position have been imports from abroad or elsewhere in Ireland.

Prior to Rory Scannell, the last home-grown centre good enough to hold a place in the strongest possible starting XV was Barry Murphy circa 2007.

Before Murphy you're going back to pre 2000. Obviously players like Dan Goggin, Keith Earls and John Kelly have played the role intermittently but you could still easily argue that centre has been the position the province have had the greatest difficulty filling from within.

With that said, the list of candidates is still impressive.

A bit like Christian Cullen at 15, Jean De Villiers is probably the best player to play in midfield for Munster but he never quite showed his best form with the province.

Francis Saili and Casey Laulala were two other wildly talented players who didn’t quite have the impact envisioned.

Rob Henderson, despite some great days, including his memorable post-match interview having just defeated Leicester in Welford Road, battled with injury throughout his time down south.

Even when attempting to draw up a shortlist of six the criteria needs to be crystal clear.

Since, as in the case of De Villiers, it’s not about the best players to have worn the jersey, then it must be about those who made the greatest impact.

How do you compare the undoubted excellence of Tipoki, who effectively had one full injury-free season with the province, with the 100 plus caps at a slightly lower level of performance enjoyed by Mike Mullins.

For the sake of this exercise we’ve decided on those who had the highest peak performance in a Munster jersey, regardless of how short lived that peak may have been for.

Candidates: Rua Tipoki, Lifeimi Mafi, Trevor Halstead, Barry Murphy, Mike Mullins and Jaco Taute

You could argue, Mullins aside, that none of these players enjoyed more than a season or two at their very best. It’s incredibly harsh on people like Rory Scannell and Jason Holland who had a far greater level of consistency than those above.

I think plenty will disagree with Taute as well but he became something of a talisman during the rollercoaster of a season that followed Anthony Foley’s tragic passing.

When it comes to a final selection Tipoki is nailed on at 13 but it’s a very difficult decision to make between Mafi and Halstead at 12.

For me Mafi’s peak form from 2007-2010 was on a slightly higher level than Halstead’s in 2005/06.

Mafi had a few fairly average years as well and it could be argued that he needed the intelligence of Tipoki outside him to get the best from himself but since Tipoki is already in that’s something of a moot point.

RTÉ selection: Rua Tipoki, Lifiemi Mafi