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McCafferty tops magazine poll

Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty has been voted the sport's most influential figure after leading a successful campaign to overhaul European club competition.

McCafferty tops a list of 50 power brokers in the latest issue of Rugby World magazine as reward for being the driving force behind establishing the Champions Cup, successor to the Heineken Cup.

The club game now has far greater autonomy, secured at the expense of the unions after a fierce two-year dispute that saw McCafferty hold his nerve despite coming under heavy criticism.

The top three of the list is completed by International Rugby Board referees manager Joel Jutge in second place and Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie in third.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster features in 10th place with New Zealand's Steve Hansen the highest-placed manager, claiming fourth.

The best performing player is Brian O'Driscoll in fifth - although the former Ireland captain retired at the end of last season - with Jonny Wilkinson in eighth.

Of those still playing the game, All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw is ranked highest at 13th.

Top 10: 1 Mark McCafferty, 2 Joel Jutge, 3 Ian Ritchie, 4 Steve Hansen, 5 Brian O'Driscoll, 6 Agustin Pichot, 7 Eric Bale, 8 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Brett Gosper, 10 Stuart Lancaster.

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