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Monday, September 20, 1999 Published at 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK

UK: Wales

Edwards is 'simply the best'

Gareth Edwards was at the heart of the Welsh team in the Seventies

Welsh rugby legend Gareth Edwards has topped a poll as the best player of all time.

Gareth Edwards: "I am delighted and I deem it as a great honour"
The scrum-half took 26% of the vote in the Player of the Millennium survey on the Allied Dunbar Premiership website.

Edwards beat New Zealand hooker Sean Fitzpatrick into second place in the poll, which also helped create the best ever "dream team" of players drawn from around the world.

[ image: JPR Williams also featured in the dream team XV]
JPR Williams also featured in the dream team XV
The fantasy XV contains four players from Wales - Edwards, JPR Williams (full back), JJ Williams (wing) and Graham Price (prop) - more than any other country featured in the team.

That fact has been attributed to the great success of the Welsh national team of the 1970s.

Edwards was the youngest player ever to captain Wales and the first to top 50 caps.

Innovative style

His innovative playing style and sheer athleticism made the position of scrum-half his own for a decade.

England is represented by prop Fran Cotton and Scotland by flanker Finlay Calder.

Australian lock John Eales is the only current international still playing.

The team in full is:

Backs: full-back: JPR Williams (Wales); wings: David Campese (Australia); JJ Williams (Wales); centres: Philippe Sella (France); Mike Gibson (Ireland); fly-half: Michael Lynagh (Australia); scrum-half: Gareth Edwards (Wales);

Forwards: no 8: Zinzan Brooke (New Zealand); flankers: Francois Pienaar (South Africa); Finlay Calder (Scotland); locks: John Eales (Australia); Willie John McBride (Ireland); hooker: Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand); props: Fran Cotton (England); Graham Price (Wales).

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