POLL: Help us decide the greatest Irish scrumhalf of the professional era
Stringer. Reddan. Murray.
On August 26, 1995, rugby was declared 'open' after a unanimous vote from the International Rugby Football Board [now World Rugby] in Paris.
A game that was proudly amateur for over a century had, overnight, become professional. Ireland were slow on the uptake but eventually adapted to the pro game and are now the Northern Hemisphere's leading nation.
SportsJOE is marking the 20-year anniversary by compiling Ireland's Greatest Pro XV.
We start with the scrumhalf position. Following an intensive, in-house debate, we have pared it down to three top-class options. Performances for the national team are the consideration, which means that players such as Eoin Reddan and Isaac Boss just missed out.
Vote in our poll [below] and let know who you want in the No 9 jersey.
Made his name as a nippy, tenacious No.9 with Munster and was Ireland's go-to guy behind the scrum for a decade. Pass like tracer bullet, a dangerous sniper and infamous tap-tackler. Won three Triple Crowns and was in Ireland's 2009 Six Nations and Grand Slam-winning squad.
The former Cork hurler's flame burned brightly yet briefly in Test rugby. 24 caps [19 starts] from 2007 to 2012 but will forever be known as the first-choice scrumhalf for Ireland's 2009 Grand Slam. Selected for that year's Lions Tour until a bad knee injury intervened.
Declan Kidney selected him as a bolter in his World Cup 2011 warm-up squads and started him in three big RWC matches. His true evolution to a world-class scrum-half arrived on the 2012 tour to New Zealand. He went from physical presence and handy distributor to a punisher kicker. Can adapt his game to countless scenarios.