Andrea Masi: My Greatest XV

Two decades have passed since Italy joined the Guinness Six Nations and the Championship has provided countless memorable moments in that time.

Two decades have passed since Italy joined the Guinness Six Nations and the Championship has provided countless memorable moments in that time.

As we reflect on the past 20 years, we are asking some of the great players who have played a part to select their Greatest XV.

Today we have Andrea Masi, who amassed 95 caps for Italy during his 16-year career and was awarded the 2011 Player of the Championship.

You can join in too on the Guinness Six Nations app where you can pick your own ultimate team and compare it to Masi’s Greatest XV below.

15. Jason Robinson (England)

Jason Robinson only played Test rugby for six years but he was the most exciting player to watch.

He was electric on the ball and it was a nightmare to play against him, you didn’t know which way he was going and exactly when he was going to put his foot down. He was unbelievable.

He scored 14 tries from 24 Championship matches and so is an obvious choice at full-back for me, although he could have played wing too.

14. Vincent Clerc (France)

Vincent was just so consistent for France over a number of years and a complete try-machine.

He was a great finisher, with 34 Test tries in his career, and is France’s all-time leading Guinness Six Nations try-scorer.

13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

I can’t imagine anyone picking a team without Brian in it and the reason is clear.

He was phenomenal in defence and he was really good over the ball at the breakdown.

He had incredible timing in attack and was a fantastic leader who led Ireland incredibly well. He is an easy pick.

12. Yannick Jauzion (France)

I think Manu Tuilagi deserves a mention. When he is fit, he is just unplayable but Yannick Jauzion played for such a long time.

He was amazing technically and he was very physical as well. He was impossible to bring down, he was so physical.

He also had ability to keep the ball alive in the contact to stay on his feet and keep it alive.

11. Shane Williams (Wales)

My back three is certainly exciting! Shane is very similar to the others in that he was so exciting to watch on the ball, blink and you miss him.

He had the ability to beat anyone, was a really consistent scorer for Wales and also won two Grand Slams, so he goes down as one of the greats.

10. Jonny Wilkinson (England)

Jonny is an inspirational player. He achieved everything possible in his career thanks to his dedication and commitment.

He was also a very intelligent player and excellent game-manager.

9. Dimitri Yachvili (France)

I had the pleasure of playing with Dimitri when I was with Biarritz in France and he was one of those players who would win games on their own.

He is one of the most technical players I have ever played with. He had incredibly big hands and he was just phenomenal.

1. Cian Healy (Ireland)

Although Cian has been around for such a long time, he has always been a really modern prop.

He has been playing for Ireland for almost ten years, he has always been dynamic and really strong physically. He also works incredibly hard.

He’s only 32 so he can easily carry on for a few more years.

2. Leonardo Ghiraldini (Italy)

Leonardo had lots of experience, he is a true warrior.

He was someone who was very tough mentally and he achieved a lot with Italy, he played more than 100 times for them so he has to be my hooker.

3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)

Tadhg is my choice because he epitomises modern props. Not only is he really good in the scrums but he is also incredible around the rest of the pitch.

Furlong is only going to get better and better for Ireland.

4. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)

He gets better with age.

Alun has always had an incredible work-rate and a really nice off-loading game. What he has achieved and the longevity of his career is phenomenal.

It’s incredible, fair play to him for staying in the game for such a long time. He must be so professional off the pitch.

5. Paul O’Connell (Ireland)

Another easy one, here! Paul was excellent on the line-out and carried an aura with him. When you played against his Ireland, you knew it would always be hard.

He is an inspirational figure and a great captain.

6. Thierry Dusautoir (France)

Thierry is probably one of the toughest tacklers ever and I can still remember how hard he hit.

His all-round game was impressive and his work rate was incredible.

7.  Sean O’Brien (Ireland)

This is an interesting pick and I’m going for Ireland’s Sean O’Brien.

He has such incredible power for an openside and carries the ball like a No.8. He’s a real nuisance at the breakdown too, so he has it all.

8. Sergio Parisse (Italy)

I have to go with Sergio here!

He was just a phenomenal player with incredible skill and a strong personality. When he was in his prime, he was probably the best player in the world.

It’s a nice way to finish.

David Flatman and Tom Shanklin

Mike Phillips

Jamie Heaslip

Tim Visser

Lee Byrne

Kenny Logan