Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

RBS 6 Nations: Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell voted Ireland’s all-time greats

Brian O'Driscoll is set to feature against England tomorrow
Brian O'Driscoll is set to feature against England tomorrow

Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell have been crowned as Ireland’s greatest back and Ireland’s greatest forward of all-time, according to a survey released today by Ulster Bank.

The survey - which generated over 1,360 responses from fans across Ireland – revealed O'Driscoll as Ireland’s best back of all-time, with the Leinster player gaining 75% of the vote – fending off Irish rugby greats such as Ronan O’Gara (second place with 8%), Mike Gibson (third place with 4%) and Jack Kyle (fourth place with 2%).

2014 captain-fantastic, Paul O’Connell, was crowned Ireland’s best forward of all-time, with 45% of the vote. Fellow Munster-man and Irish rugby legend, Keith Wood, came in second place with 23% of the vote. O'Connell was also chosen ahead of Irish greats, such as Willie John McBride (15%), Fergus Slattery (3%) and Ciaran Fitzgerald (2%).

When asked about the RBS 6 Nations, 68% of those surveyed voted England as the team fans most enjoy seeing Ireland beat. France came in second place with 15%. A massive 75% of those surveyed also said they would cut a holiday short to watch Ireland play a Grand Slam decider at the Aviva Stadium.

Potentially the most important statistic to emerge from the survey – for those in the Ireland camp – came in the form of a vote for Ireland’s best-looking player. It was neck-and-neck at the beginning but, Rob Kearney shot ahead securing 34% of the vote (one in three), while Tommy Bowe stole the hearts of 17% of those surveyed.    

Ulster Bank rugby ambassador, Alan Quinlan, said: "I am delighted for Brian and Paul. Both players have given their bodies and hearts to rugby from a young age and both can now go down in history as the all-time greats."

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