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Dragons Enter the Lions Den

Sir Clive Woodward has named Newport Gwent Dragons’ Michael Owen and Gareth Cooper in his British and Irish Lions squad to tour New Zealand this summer.

Kath McCarthy | 11/04/2005

Sir Clive Woodward has named Newport Gwent Dragons’ Michael Owen and Gareth Cooper in his British and Irish Lions squad to tour New Zealand this summer.

It caps a tremendous season for Michael Owen who enjoyed a successful RBS Six Nations campaign with Wales. He was elevated to the captaincy when Gareth Thomas was ruled out injured and led them in their remarkable second half fight back against France. He retained the captaincy for the match against Scotland before leading them to Grand Slam glory against Ireland. “It is a great honour to be selected for the Lions squad,” commented Michael Owen. “I am extremely delighted. It is the highlight for any player in their career and for me personally it caps a tremendous season. I have played and captained my country, won a Grand Slam and now this, it doesn’t get much better.”

Gareth Cooper’s selection is a fantastic achievement for the talented scrum half who has suffered unfortunate injuries this season. He featured as second half replacements for Wales against England, Italy and France before sustaining an ankle injury in the Tsunami Rugby Aid match in March. Gareth is delighted to have been selected commenting, “It is a great honour to have been selected for the Lions tour. It is every players ambition to be selected and I am delighted.”

Chief Executive Andy Marinos commented, “Everyone at the Newport Gwent Dragons is delighted to have two players named in the squad for the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. Both players have worked extremely hard this season and both fully deserve their selection.”

David Watkins, a director at Rodney Parade knows all about Lions tours having toured with the team in 1966. Speaking on the selection of two Dragons players in the squad he commented, “I am personally delighted to see two of our players named in the Lions squad. From my point of view it maintains the tradition of having players from Rodney Parade in the squad and I know they will do the region proud when they fly out for the tour next month.”

Lions squad:

Backs: I Balshaw (England and Leeds), G Murphy (Ireland and Leinster), J Robinson (England and Sale Sharks), G Thomas (Wales and Toulouse), S Williams (Wales and Neath-Swansea Ospreys), J Lewsey (England and Wasps), S Horgan (Ireland and Leinster), D Hickie (Ireland and Leinster), T Shanklin (Wales and Cardiff Blues), B O'Driscoll (Ireland and Leinster, capt), G Henson (Wales and Neath-Swansea Ospreys), O Smith (England and Leicester), G D'Arcy (Ireland and Leinster), W Greenwood (England and Harlequins), S Jones (Wales and Clermont Auvergne), R O'Gara (Ireland and Munster), C Hodgson (England and Sale Sharks), M Dawson (England and Wasps), D Peel (Wales and Llanelli Scarlets), G Cooper (Wales and Newport Gwent Dragons), C Cusiter (Scotland and Borders).

Forwards: G Rowntree (England and Leicester), A Sheridan (England and Sale Sharks), M Stevens (England and Bath), G Jenkins (Wales and Cardiff Blues), J White (England and Leicester), J Hayes (Ireland and Munster), G Bulloch (Scotland and Glasgow), S Thompson (England and Northampton), A Titterrell (England and Sale Sharks), S Byrne (Ireland and Leinster), D Grewcock (England and Bath), B Kay (England and Leicester), M O'Kelly (Ireland and Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Ireland and Munster), P O'Connell (Ireland and Munster), M Owen (Wales and Newport Gwent Dragons), R Hill (England and Saracens), N Back (England and Leicester), M Williams (Wales and Cardiff Blues), L Moody (England and Leicester), S Taylor (Scotland and Edinburgh), M Corry (England and Leicester), L Dallaglio (England and Wasps).

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