THEY MAY have been the first team to seal a semi-final spot, but Munster provide only one player in the Magners League Dream Team – fly-half Ronan O’Gara, writes Rob Cole.
Munster’s Irish rivals Leinster on the other hand provide a third of this season’s team, which is chosen by a panel of 19 journalists from the four participating nations.
Half the players in the pack are from Leinster – Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip – while Isa Nacewa is selected at full-back.
Magners League record-breaker Tim Visser and Ireland No 8 Heaslip are the only two players to retain their places in the dream team.
Edinburgh wing Visser overtook Jamie Robinson and Kevin Morgan as the league’s record try-scorer in a season with his 13th touchdown in Edinburgh’s win over Aironi last month and gathered more votes than any other player selected in the team.
That score against Aironi also extended his lead as the top try-scorer in this campaign – a title he also held last season with ten touchdowns.
Fionn Carr – the first Connacht player ever to be picked in the dream team – is the other wing.
Glasgow’s Richie Gray led the way in the voting among the locks. Ospreys skipper Alun Wyn Jones is picked alongside him – the only representative for the defending champions.
The loosehead spot goes to one of the most consistent performers over the history of the Magners League – the Scarlets’ former Wales prop, Iestyn Thomas.
Another Scarlet has been selected behind the scrum. Wales centre Jonathan Davies picked up 14 votes for one of the two centre berths with Cardiff Blues’ Casey Laulala outside him.
At scrum half, Ulster’s match-winner Ruan Pienaar was a runaway winner with 13 votes.
The big question now is how many of these players will have a part to play in the Magners League Grand Final on Saturday 28 May.
MAGNERS LEAGUE DREAM TEAM 2011
FULL BACK – ISA NACEWA (LEINSTER)
RIGHT WING – FIONN CARR (CONNACHT)
OUTSIDE – CENTRE - CASEY LAULALA (CARDIFF BLUES)
INSIDE CENTRE – JONATHAN DAVIES (SCARLETS)
LEFT WING – TIM VISSER (EDINBURGH)
OUTSIDE HALF – RONAN O’GARA (MUNSTER)
SCRUM HALF - RUAN PIENAAR (ULSTER)
LOOSE HEAD PROP – IESTYN THOMAS (SCARLETS)
HOOKER – RICHARDT STRAUSS (LEINSTER)
TIGHT HEAD PROP – MIKE ROSS (LEINSTER)
LOCK – ALUN WYN JONES (OSPREYS)
LOCK – RICHIE GRAY (GLASGOW WARRIORS)
BLINDSIDE FLANKER – SEAN O’BRIEN (LEINSTER)
OPENSIDE FLANKER – SAM WARBURTON (CARDIFF BLUES)
N0 8 – JAMIE HEASLIP (LEINSTER)
Teams (9): Leinster 5, Blues 2, Scarlets 2, Ospreys 1, Connacht 1, Glasgow Warriors 1, Edinburgh 1, Munster 1, Ulster 1
MAGNERS LEAGUE DREAM TEAM 2010/11
Isa Nacewa (Leinster), Fionn Carr (Connacht), Casey Laulala (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Sean O’Brien (Leinster), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues)
Tim Visser (Edinburgh), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)
Ronan O’Gara (Munster – 08/09), Iestyn Thomas (Scarlets – 06/07), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys – 06/07, 08/09)
MAGNERS LEAGUE DREAM TEAM HISTORY
Dream Team 2009/10: Ben Blair (Cardiff Blues); Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster), James Hook (Ospreys), Tim Visser (Edinburgh); Dan Parks (Glasgow Warriors), Tomas O’Leary (Munster); Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Leo Cullen (Leinster), Ali Kellock (Glasgow Warriors), Jerry Collins (Ospreys), John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)
Teams (7): Ospreys 4, Glasgow Warriors 3, Leinster 3, Blues 2, Edinburgh 1, Munster 1, Scarlets 1
Dream Team 2008/09: Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster), Lifeimi Mafi (Munster), Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); Ronan O’Gara (Munster), Mike Phillips (Ospreys); Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Jerry Flannery (Munster), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Paul O’Connell (Munster), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Rocky Elsom (Leinster), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)
Teams (4): Ospreys 5, Munster 4, Leinster 3, Blues 3
Dream Team 2007/08: Ben Blair (Cardiff Blues); Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Lifeimi Mafi (Munster), Nick de Luca (Edinburgh), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Felipe Contepomi (Leinster), Mike Blair (Edinburgh); Ollie Le Roux (Leinster), Bernard Jackman (Leinster), Stan Wright (Leinster), Malcolm O’Kelly (Leinster), Leo Cullen (Leinster), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)
Teams (6): Leinster 7, Blues 2, Edinburgh 2, Ospreys 2, Munster 1, Ulster 1
Dream Team 2006/07: Ben Blair (Cardiff Blues); Denis Hickie (Leinster), Regan King (Scarlets), Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Felipe Contepomi (Leinster), Mike Phillips (Cardiff Blues); Iestyn Thomas (Scarlets), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Euan Murray (Glasgow Warriors), Justin Harrison (Ulster), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Simon Easterby (Scarlets), Colin Charvis (Dragons), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)
Teams (7): Leinster 4, Scarlets 4, Blues 2, Ospreys 2, Ulster 1, Dragons 1, Glasgow 1
Do you agree with this selection? Send us your Magners League team of the season to firstname.lastname@example.org
This article appeared in the June 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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