It doesn't get any easier with some serious competition in the second row. Just whittling it down to six contenders is difficult.
For pure talent, Malcolm O’Kelly and James Ryan are right up there.
In terms of imports you have Brad Thorn, Scott Fardy and Nathan Hines. If it's longevity and achievement you’re after look, no further than Leo Cullen and Devin Toner.
In truth there are a few others worthy of mention as well but seeing as those listed makes seven we need to eliminate one to settle on a short list.
In a call I’ll no doubt be roundly abused for, we’ll lose Scott Fardy to leave Cullen, Thorne, Hines, Toner, Ryan and O’Kelly
If I were forced to pick two of the above to play one match, in their prime, I would probably go for Thorne and Hines.
Many, I’m sure, would rate O’Kelly and James Ryan over Hines; it’s extremely close between them. On the basis of his career still being in its fledgling stage I will omit Ryan.
Pick this team in 10 years and he’s a certainty, as it looks like Ryan Baird could be. By the same token, O’Kelly’s longevity probably nudges him ahead of Hines.
In terms of a contribution to Leinster, as captain, cultural architect or coach, it’s impossible to look beyond Cullen.
Toner is very unfortunate to miss out as well but it seems a case of three into two, with one of Thorne, O’Kelly or Cullen to miss out.
In yet another contentious call I’m going to go for Thorne and O’Kelly.
The fact that a European Cup-winning captain and coach misses out shows the incredible competition in the position.
I look forward to seeing the results of the public vote. The good news is that the back row selection is harder again!
Candidates Leo Cullen, Brad Thorne, Nathan Hines, Devin Toner, James Ryan, Malcolm O'Kelly
RTÉ selection Malcolm O'Kelly, Brad Thorne