Rob Howley and Lawrence Dallaglio at the ERC15 Awards
The ERC conferred the following European Awards:
• ERC European Player Award
• ERC European Coaching Award
• ERC European Fair Play Award
• ERC European Dream Team
Players from five nations and six different clubs have been selected by a nine-man ERC panel of former players, coaches and members of the media to form an ERC European 'Dream Team'.
Stade Français Paris prop forward Sylvain Marconnet is the only player in the 'Dream Team' not to have won a Heineken Cup winners medal - he reached the 2001 final with his club - while the Toulouse trio of Yannick Jauzion, Vincent Clerc and William Servat all featured in the 15th tournament final win against Biarritz Olympique.
For the ERC European Dream Team, the selectors also chose two players who have won both ERC tournaments, the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup, in London Wasps backs Josh Lewsey and Rob Howley, while Australian Rocky Elsom is also the only southern hemisphere star after his one sensational season in Europe with 2009 Heineken Cup winners Leinster.
The nine-man ERC15 selector panel of Sir Ian McGeechan, Lawrence Dallaglio, Ieuan Evans, Fabien Galthie, Donal Lenihan, Michael Lynagh, Stuart Barnes, Stephen Jones and Jacques Verdier deliberated long and hard to come up with the elite and honour the ERC European Dream Team of the past 15 years.
They were also charged with selecting the best ERC European Player of the last 15 years, the top ERC European Coach over the same period and choosing a winner for the ERC Fair Play Award.
Josh Lewsey was named in the European Dream Team
ERC European Dream Team consists of:
Toulouse, who recently won their fourth Heineken Cup in a record 110th tournament appearance, supply five members of the ERC European Dream Team. Prop Christian Califano, who also played for Saracens, Gloucester and Agen, won six French Championship titles at Toulouse and was also in their first Heineken Cup winning team in 1996. He blazed a trail that has seen other Toulouse ERC European Dream Team' members – Clerc, Jauzion, Servat and Pelous – follow suit in 2003, 2005 and now 2010.
Double champions Munster provide three of the stalwarts of the Heineken Cup in O'Gara (91 matches), Anthony Foley (86) and David Wallace (79), while there are two each from double winning English giants Leicester Tigers and London Wasps.
Rob Howley was selected as the best scrum half over the 15 years of European rugby
As well as being a World Cup winning captain with England in 2003, and the last British & Irish Lions captain to win a series, Leicester lock Johnson remains the only man to captain back-to-back Heineken Cup winning teams in 2001 & 2002. He is joined in the ERC European Dream Team by Tigers team-mate Geordan Murphy, while the Wasps duo of Josh Lewsey and Rob Howley also make the ERC Elite.
Two of Leinster's 2009 Heineken Cup winning team were voted in, Brian O'Driscoll and Rocky Elsom, with the latter providing the southern hemisphere with its only team member.
The ERC15 selector panel also chose the nominees and decided upon the inaugural ERC European Player Award, ERC European Coach Award and ERC European Fair Play Award from all that played and coached in European Club Competitions over the first 15 years. A public vote online was held at ercrugby.com during this season but this did not impact on the final selections. The ERC15 panel's independence had to be paramount for the credibility of the conferral of these Awards, and thus the public got to contribute but the Selector Panel were the final decision makers.
Munster outside half O'Gara, who has scored a tournament record 1,138 points in 91 appearances at an average of 12.5 points per game, was the only "double" winner, becoming the inaugural recipient of the ERC European Player Award in addition to his ERC European Dream Team selection.
There was a unanimous decision from the panel when it came to selecting the best ERC European Coach Award. Guy Noves has been with Toulouse, and the Heineken Cup, from their first game on 31 October, 1995 right through to the 2010 Heineken Cup final next weekend. In that time he has masterminded 77 victories and four draws in 109 European outings, led his team to six finals and won three of the five to date.
Cardiff Blues flanker Martyn Williams, who made his European debut for Pontypridd in 1996, is the winner of the ERC European Fair Play Award. The panel voted for him as it was widely felt that he is the embodiment of the player who upholds the values of the game of rugby in these European club competitions and in so doing is an inspirational role model as to how the game should be played.
ERC EUROPEAN DREAM TEAM
15 Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers)
14 Josh Lewsey (London Wasps)
13 Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster)
12 Yannick Jauzion (Toulouse)
11 Vincent Clerc (Toulouse)
10 Ronan O'Gara (Munster)
9 Rob Howley (London Wasps)
1 Christian Califano (Toulouse)
2 William Servat (Toulouse)
3 Sylvain Marconnet (Stade Français Paris)
4 Martin Johnson (Leicester Tigers)
5 Fabien Pelous (Toulouse)
6 Rocky Elsom (Leinster)
7 David Wallace (Munster)
8 Anthony Foley (Munster)
1. ERC EUROPEAN PLAYER AWARD
- For the Best Player in Europe over the past 15 years
ERC debut: Munster v NEC Harlequins - Heineken Cup - 07.09.97
Heineken Cup matches: 91
Heineken Cup points: 1,138 (8T, 156C, 248PG, 14DG)
ERC honours: Heineken Cup winner 2006 and 2008; Elite 50 Caps and Elite 1,000 Points
2. ERC EUROPEAN COACH AWARD
- For the Best Coach in Europe over the past 15 years
ERC debut: Farul Constanta v Toulouse - Heineken Cup - 31.10.95
Heineken Cup matches: 109
ERC honours: Heineken Cup winning coach 1996, 2003, 2005; Heineken Cup finalist coach 2004, 2008, 2010
3. ERC EUROPEAN FAIR PLAY AWARD
- For the Fairest and Most Sportsmanlike Player in Europe over the past 15 years
Club: Cardiff Blues
Other club: Pontypridd
ERC debut: Pontypridd v Benetton Treviso - Heineken Cup - 12.10.96
Heineken Cup matches: 75
Heineken Cup points: 35 (7T)
Amlin Challenge Cup matches: 2
Amlin Challenge Cup points: 5 (1T)
ERC honours: Elite 50 Caps