For the past two weeks, fans of the official Rugby World Cup Facebook page have been voting on which players would make their 2011 Rugby World Cup Dream Team.
Based on suggestions from the online community, a shortlist of names per position was created each day and put to the vote, with over 160,000 votes being cast along the way.
The final 15 is below, and as a collective would certainly compete with any of the great sides to have played at Rugby World Cups.
The selection includes three Ireland players – centre and captain Brian O’Driscoll, out-half Ronan O’Gara and lock Paul O’Connell.
The trio made vital contributions as Ireland finished top of their pool for the first time, beat Australia on Southern Hemisphere soil for the first time since 1979 and gained many new fans from New Zealand and elsewhere.
2011 RUGBY WORLD CUP DREAM TEAM:
15 – Israel Dagg (New Zealand)
14 – Cory Jane (New Zealand)
13 – Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
Ireland captain O’Driscoll took nearly 50% of the votes to make the Dream Team. A consistent performer for Ireland, O’Driscoll added to his impressive tally of international tries with a well-taken try in the must win pool match against Italy.
12 – Jamie Roberts (Wales)
11 – Richard Kahui (New Zealand)
10 – Ronan O’Gara (Ireland)
The second Irish player to make the Dream Team, O’Gara earned his place after scoring 44 points during the tournament. His cool head and calmness under pressure make him a valuable addition to the side.
9 – Mike Phillips (Wales)
1 – Jean-Baptiste Poux (France)
2 – Keven Mealamu (New Zealand)
3 – Owen Franks (New Zealand)
4 – Brad Thorn (New Zealand)
5 – Paul O’Connell (Ireland)
Voted man-of-the-match in Ireland’s first match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup against the USA, O’Connell was the overwhelming favourite for the number 5 shirt in the Dream Team. Appearing in his third World Cup tournament, O’Connell was the heartbeat of the Irish side in their run to the quarter-finals.
6 – Thierry Dusautoir (France)
7 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
8 – Imanol Harinordoquy (France)
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