Happy Birthday Peter Stringer! Here's five reasons we love you
The great Peter Stringer turns 37-years-young today, and we're marking the occasion by looking back at some of the moments that made him a cult hero of Irish rugby for the last 15 or so years.
He's won Heineken Cups, a Grand Slam and the hearts of every Munster man alive today, so we've decided to list the five Peter Stringer moments that we feel set him apart from the rest.
1. THAT try
"HE'S FOOLED THEM ALL! HE'S FOOLED THEM ALL!"
It may be more than eight (yep, EIGHT!) years ago since Stringer pulled off the trick that even David Copperfield would have been proud of, but it'll still make the hairs on the back of my neck (of which there are plenty) stand up.
After spending his entire career hearing that he was never a man to break off the back of a scrum or a ruck, Stringer had the world and it's mother convinced that he was passing out to O'Gara from the back of a scrum in the Heineken Cup final in 06, before scampering down the blin-side, past the flat-footed Serge Betsen, and under the posts to send Munster into a lead they never gave up.
2. Master of the tap tackle
Peter Stringer was the reason that most young rugby players in the 2000's dreamed of taking down an opponent with an ankle tap, rather than busting them flat on their backside.
He famously chopped down Dan Luger from behind in Ireland's win against the English at Lansdowne Road when the winger was clear for the try-line, as Ireland held on for the win that denied England a Grand Slam.
We'll let Brian O'Driscoll and Keith Wood describe just how big a moment it was.
But not to be content with doing it just the once, there was deja vu in Twickenham in 2004, when he cut down Jason Robinson with an identical effort during Ireland's win against the reigning world champions.
Although Girvan Dempsey may have been back to cover, Robinson had English options either side of him, and it was a tackle that certainly saved Ireland from a score.
Oh, and he's done it to the Scots too...
3. Size doesn't matter
Stringer has often been the butt of a few jokes about his height, but he proved that the size of the fight in the man is far more important that the size of the man when he felled the great Jonah Lomu in Dunedin in 2002.
Lomu steamed onto a bouncing ball, brushing aside tackles from Girvan Dempsey and Keith Gleeson, and as he charged towards Stringer, it brought back flashes of Mike Catt getting trampled on as Lomu barged over for a try at the 1995 World Cup.
But Stringer flew down at Lomu's ankles, wrapping him up and getting him to ground in a manner that should be taught to children for generations.
The gap in size was so big that the New Zealand commentators didn't even seem to reaslise the big man had been tackled, saying "he just lost his footing", as Strings chopped him down.
4. He's a cheeky little fecker
It's almost compulsory for a scrum-half to be an irritating little so-and-so on the pitch, and Strings has been as good as any at it.
His peak moment of cheek came while playing for the Barbarians against Australia at Twickenham in 2011, ensuring that he would feature on the "What Happened Next" round on A Question of Sport some day in the future.
With James O'Connor lining up a conversion attempt by the touchline at the end of the first half, Stringer noticed that the Aussie had taken a small step forward, and decided to charge the kick.
By the time O'Connor realised what was happening, Stringer had the ball in his hands, and was trotting down the tunnel, to the amusement of the whole stadium.
5. He's got more restraint than you or I
I don't know of many people who could show this kind of restraint after getting spat in the face.
Stringer was the victim of a disgusting act by Stade Francais' Jerome Filol in the Challenge Cup in 2013, being spat at by his opposition scrum-half.
But rather than raging all out war like most rugby players would, Stringer simply reported the incident to referee Nigel Owens, and let his rugby do the talking.
Filol ultimately picked up a 14-week ban for the incident, while Stringer only strengthened his reputation as one of Irish rugby's class acts.