Magners Irish Cider have announced the Magners League Dream Team for the 2008/09 season, with six Ireland internationals included as well as the Irish-based duo of Rocky Elsom and Lifeimi Mafi.
Rugby fans and media across Ireland, Scotland and Wales had been asked to vote for their Magners League Dream Team and the player who polled the highest number of votes in each position has been selected for the Dream Team.
Fourteen members of the team have been chosen to tour with the British & Irish Lions this summer, an indication of the strength of the competition.
Magners League champions Munster have provided four of the team, including 2009 Lions captain Paul O’Connell, which is representative of the way in which they have approached the competition.
Four players (Martyn Williams, Jamie Heaslip, Lifeimi Mafi and Tommy Bowe) have made the Dream Team for the second year running.
Leinster and Ireland number 8 Heaslip is the only player to have received the honour of being chosen in all three Magners League Dream Teams to date.
Commenting on his Dream Team selection, Heaslip said: “To be included in the Dream Team for the third consecutive year is a real honour, especially alongside such a quality list of players and rounds off a fantastic season.
“Winning the Magners League title last year was a real springboard for Leinster and gave us the confidence to challenge for European honours this season.”
Stephen Kent, Marketing Director, Wm Magner Ltd said: “I would like to congratulate every player who has been selected for the Magners League Dream Team.
“The team truly reflects this season’s competition and the inclusion of so many high profile players and British & Irish Lions representatives illustrates the exciting brand of rugby being played in the Magners League.
“Once again there has been some fantastic rugby played in the Magners League this season on both an individual and team basis and we are delighted that the competition continues to grow in stature.”
Celtic Rugby Director David Jordan added: “Selection of the Magners League Dream Team is made by some of the most knowledgeable people in the sport – rugby journalists and rugby fans.
“To have impressed these selectors, in some cases for the second year running, shows the quality and consistency of the players that appear in the Magners League; a fact that is reflected not only in increased attendances but also the success our players have achieved on the field.
“The RBS 6 Nations trophy and the EDF Energy Cup remain in Celtic hands, Leinster have reached the final of the Heineken Cup, and the majority of the players named in the original British & Irish Lions touring party play their rugby in the Magners League.
“I would like to add my congratulations to all those named in the Magners League Dream Team of 2008/09.”
Magners Irish Cider would like to thank all those fans and media who took the time to send in their votes and would like to take this opportunity to wish Leinster all the very best in the Heineken Cup final this Saturday and to say good luck to all the Magners League players who have been selected for the British & Irish Lions.
2008/09 MAGNERS LEAGUE DREAM TEAM:
1. Gethin Jenkins – Cardiff Blues
2. Jerry Flannery – Munster
3. Adam Jones – Ospreys
4. Paul O’Connell – Munster
5. Alun Wyn Jones – Ospreys
6. Rocky Elsom – Leinster
7. Martyn Williams – Cardiff Blues
8. Jamie Heaslip – Leinster
9. Mike Phillips – Ospreys
10. Ronan O’Gara – Munster
11. Leigh Halfpenny – Cardiff Blues
12. Lifeimi Mafi – Munster
13. Brian O’Driscoll – Leinster
14. Tommy Bowe – Ospreys
15. Lee Byrne – Ospreys