12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
Some of the greatest names from Irish, Welsh and Lions rugby were present to share their memories and to help raise funds for the IRFU Charitable Trust.
On a night when the spirit of rugby was alive and well, friendships were rekindled and memories shared as several generations of rugby greats joined the 400-strong gathering.
Former Leinster, Ireland and Lions winger Denis Hickie summed it up when saying: "For those of us privileged to play rugby at the highest level, this is a chance to give something back to the game and to those players who have suffered a serious injury."
MC for the night was rugby pundit George Hook who spoke passionately about the need to support seriously injured players.
You could have picked several members of an All-Time XV from the rugby legends who were present on the night.
Aptly enough, the wonderful Welsh full-back JPR Williams arrived just as the Welsh Male Voice Choir kicked into gear to entertain the guests.
The spirit of friendship that rugby engenders between rival teams was evident as Phil Bennett joined Fergus Slattery and Ray McLoughlin to swap stories and lend their support to the night.
1982 Triple Crown winner Ollie Campbell was there as was his inspiration 1948 Grand Slam winner Jack Kyle.
Welsh wizard Gareth Edwards also joined the night to lend his support, while Luke Fitzgerald helped to represent the current generation of players who will hopefuly carry on the grand traditions of rivalry on the field and camaraderie off it.
The auction on the night added to the funds raised and contained some amazing items such as a signed 2009 Lions jersey donated by Gordon D'Arcy, signed boxing gloves donated by Bernard Dunne, tickets to the first rugby International at Aviva Stadium donated by sponsors O2, and a copy of Edmund Van Esbeck's 'History of Irish Rugby' book signed by 245 Ireland internationals.
Charitable Trust Fundraiser and former Ireland international Mick Quinn spoke about the importance of the event. He said: "To be able to raise funds for seriously injured players in such a wonderful way is a real highlight.
''The presence of so many greats of the game shows just how much players support the Trust and our work.
''The work done by the army of volunteers to make the night a reality cannot be praised highly enough. I'd like to thank them, our sponsors O2 and all those who donated gifts to raise funds."
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