Players from five nations and six different clubs have been selected by a nine-man ERC panel of former players, coaches and members of the media to form an ERC European Dream Team.
Many of the greatest names in rugby’s professional era have been included among the ERC European Award winners as part of the celebrations of the landmark 15th season of European club rugby.
This year ERC, the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup organisers, have conferred the following European Awards.
ERC15 – European Club Rugby Award Categories:
• ERC European Player Award
• ERC European Coaching Award
• ERC European Fair Play Award
• ERC European Dream Team – (Best fifteen players from European club competitions over the past 15 years)
The Dream Team selection includes five players from Ireland as well as Australian flanker Rocky Elsom who starred for Leinster during their Heineken Cup-winning campaign last season.
The Irish players who have made the cut are Leinster’s Brian O’Driscoll, Geordan Murphy from Leicester Tigers and the Munster trio of Ronan O’Gara, David Wallace and Anthony Foley.
The quintet have all previously won the Heineken Cup, with Murphy, O’Gara and Wallace two-time champions.
Stade Francais prop Sylvain Marconnet is the only player in the Dream Team not to have won a Heineken Cup winners’ medal – he reached the 2001 final with his club.
The Toulouse trio of Yannick Jauzion, Vincent Clerc and William Servat are all set to figure in the 15th tournament final against Biarritz Olympique next Saturday.
For the ERC European Dream Team, the selectors also chose two players who have won both ERC tournaments, the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup, in London Wasps backs Josh Lewsey and Rob Howley.
Elsom is also the only southern Hemisphere star to be included, after his one sensational season in Europe with 2009 Heineken Cup winners Leinster.
The nine-man ERC15 selector panel of Sir Ian McGeechan, Lawrence Dallaglio, Ieuan Evans, Fabien Galthie, Donal Lenihan, Michael Lynagh, Stuart Barnes, Stephen Jones and Jacques Verdier deliberated long and hard to come up with the elite and honour the ERC European Dream Team of the past 15 years.
The inaugural ERC European Dream Team consists of:
• Players from 5 countries – France 6, Ireland 5, England 2, Wales 1 and Australia 1
• Players from 6 clubs – Toulouse 5, Munster 3, Leicester Tigers 2, Leinster 2, London Wasps 2 and Stade Francais 1
• 3 players who have captained their club to victory in the Heineken Cup – Martin Johnson (Leicester Tigers, 2001 and 2002), Fabien Pelous (Toulouse, 2003 and 2005), Anthony Foley (Munster 2006)
• 15 players with a total of 896 Heineken Cup matches and 43 Amlin Challenge Cup games
• 15 players with a total of 1,070 Test caps
• 3 members of the world game’s 100 cap club – Fabien Pelous 118, Brian O’Driscoll 107 and Ronan O’Gara 100
The ERC15 selector panel chose the nominees and decided upon the inaugural ERC European Player Award, ERC European Coach Award and ERC European Fair Play Award from all that played and coached in European club competitions over the first 15 years.
A public vote online was held at www.ercrugby.com during this season but this did not impact on the final selections.
The ERC15 panel’s independence had to be paramount for the credibility of the conferral of these awards, and thus the public got to contribute but the selector panel were the final decision makers.
ERC EUROPEAN DREAM TEAM:
15 – Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers)
14 – Josh Lewsey (London Wasps)
13 – Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster)
12 – Yannick Jauzion (Toulouse)
11 – Vincent Clerc (Toulouse)
10 – Ronan O’Gara (Munster)
9 – Rob Howley (London Wasps)
1 – Christian Califano (Toulouse)
2 – William Servat (Toulouse)
3 – Sylvain Marconnet (Stade Francais)
4 – Martin Johnson (Leicester Tigers)
5 – Fabien Pelous (Toulouse)
6 – Rocky Elsom (Leinster)
7 – David Wallace (Munster)
8 – Anthony Foley (Munster)
15 – GEORDAN MURPHY
Club: Leicester Tigers
ERC debut: Leicester Tigers v Leinster – Heineken Cup – 19.11.99
Heineken Cup matches: 63
Heineken Cup points: 142 (22T, 10C, 4PG)
ERC honours: Heineken Cup winner 2001 and 2002; Elite 50 Caps
Test Record: Ireland 66 caps / B&I Lions 2
13 – BRIAN O’DRISCOLL
ERC debut: Leinster v Leicester Tigers – Heineken Cup – 19.11.99
Heineken Cup matches: 68
Heineken Cup points: 143 (28T, 1DG)
ERC honours: Heineken Cup winner 2009; Elite 50 Caps and Elite 25 Tries
Test Record: Ireland 101 caps / B&I Lions 6
10 – RONAN O’GARA
ERC debut: Munster v NEC Harlequins – Heineken Cup – 07.09.97
Heineken Cup matches: 91
Heineken Cup points: 1,138 (8T, 156C, 248PG, 14DG)
ERC honours: Heineken Cup winner 2006 and 2008; Elite 50 Caps and Elite 1,000 Points
Test Record: Ireland 98 caps / B&I Lions 2
7 – DAVID WALLACE
ERC debut: Munster v Petrarca Rugby – Heineken Cup – 19.09.98
Heineken Cup matches: 79
Heineken Cup points: 70 (14T)
ERC honours: Heineken Cup winner 2006 and 2008; Elite 50 Caps
Test Record: Ireland 62 caps / B&I Lions 3
8 – ANTHONY FOLEY
ERC debut: Munster v Swansea – Heineken Cup – 01.11.95
Heineken Cup matches: 86
Heineken Cup points: 115 (23T)
ERC honours: Heineken Cup winner 2006; Elite 50 Caps
Test Record: Ireland 62 caps
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