Magners League 'Dream Team' announced
May 28, 2010
Leinster's Jamie Heaslip once again makes the grade for the Magners League 'Dream Team' © Getty Images
Leinster and the Ospreys have been given a massive pre-Magners League Grand Final boost by having no fewer than seven of their players named in the Magners League 'Dream Team'.
Selected by a panel of 16 media experts from the three Celtic nations, who have been following the Magners League all season, the 'Dream Team' features players from no fewer than seven of the 10 clubs in the competition.
Recently crowned Irish and Welsh Player of the Year, Tommy Bowe, polled the most votes, 12 on the wing and one at centre, while Edinburgh's young flyer Tim Visser, who celebrates his 23rd birthday on Saturday, received eight votes in both wing positions.
There are no fewer than three players from the Grand Finalists behind the scrum - Ospreys duo Bowe and centre James Hook are joined by Leinster centre Brian O'Driscoll. Up front, Ospreys prop Adam Jones and flanker Jerry Collins join Leinster No.8 Jamie Heaslip and lock Leo Cullen in the pack.
"It can be no surprise that the top two teams in the Magners League regular season are supplying almost half of the 'Dream Team'. They have both had excellent seasons and are set to provide us with a thrilling end in this weekend's inaugural Grand Final," said Celtic Rugby Director, David Jordan. "It is interesting to see six members of the 2009 British & Irish Lions squad being included in the side and there are also seven Grand Slammers from the Welsh and Irish triumphs in 2008 and 2009.
"That shows the increasing quality within the Magners League and there is no doubt the level of competition has grown dramatically this season thanks in no small measure to the introduction of the Play-Off system. I know the judges had a tough task in selecting their side and as well as the many big names they have included, there are also a host of other stars who have failed to make it this time."
Newly crowned European Challenge Cup Champions Cardiff Blues have Kiwi fullback Ben Blair and loose head prop Gethin Jenkins in the line-up, although No.8 Xavier Rush was pipped by one vote in his position by the outstanding Heaslip.
Beaten Play-Off semi-finalists Glasgow Warriors have record breaking outside half Dan Parks included at No 10 with a massive 11 votes, while openside flanker John Barclay was another outstanding favourite with 11 selections.
This is the fourth season the Magners League 'Dream Team' has been selected at the end of the campaign and there are some familiar names in the 2009-10 line-up. Heaslip is the only player to have appeared every year, while Bowe makes it three in a row and Blair makes the XV for the third time. Jenkins, Jones and O'Driscoll were also included in last year's team.
Magners League 2009-10 Dream Team:
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game