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Mick Cleary's top five players of all time

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Jonah Lomu, New Zealand, is tackled by Ireland's Denis Hickie in 2001

Jonah Lomu, New Zealand, is tackled by Ireland's Denis Hickie in 2001

Jonah Lomu, New Zealand, is tackled by Ireland's Denis Hickie in 2001

Rugby expert goes through who he feels have been the most influential players in the history of rugby union.

1 David Campese (Australia): The great entertainer and deliverer – 64 tries in 101 Tests proved he wasn't a maverick but the most potent player of his generation.

2 Jonah Lomu (New Zealand): Lomu was unique, a powerful man who was also fast on his feet. It was not his size alone that caused such havoc but his pick-up speed. A wonder of the age.

3 Gareth Edwards (Wales): Edwards stood apart even in a team of such multi-talented individuals as graced the Wales shirt in the late 1960s and early '70s, an athlete and a master of his trade.

4 Martin Johnson (England): The only forward to make the cut, an implacable presence for club and for country – a captain, a rallying point, as well as a ferocious competitor.

5 Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland): He burst on to the scene with real vividness and continued to evolve as his physical powers waned, an asset in attack and defence.

Most caps earned

1 G Gregan (Aus) 139 caps 1994-2007

2 B O'Driscoll (Ire) 138 caps 1999-?

3 R O'Gara (Ire) 130 caps 2000-2013

4 R McCaw (NZ) 124 caps 2001-?

5 J Leonard (Eng) 119 caps 1990-2004

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent