The new Magners League was officially launched earlier today with a press conference at the lavish Carton House golf complex in County Kildare.
John Hussey, Chairman of Celtic Rugby, in welcoming new sponsors, Magners Irish Cider, said the quest for a title sponsor was, a long search but well worth the wait as we couldnt have secured a better partner. The League experienced a great season last year, and some of the best players in Europe are playing in our competition. Next season the standard should be even higher, up with any league in Europe and perhaps the world.
Maurice Breen, Marketing Director at Magners responded: One of the great joys of being a part of Magners is that occasionally we can put together a win-win situation. I truly believe that both Magners and Celtic Rugby have well established positions and are really great products, with Magners bringing a new vitality to the Magners League.
Simon Best Captain of Ulster, the defending champions said: The League has improved year on year and all the players agree it has the potential to be one of the very best rugby competitions in the world.
Asked if Ulster would be able to defend their crown, Best replied: It will be very tough, all the teams have got stronger, but well give it a good shot. Going into a World Cup year should see a really strong competition.
Brian ODriscoll, Captain of Leinster, who were in a close fought battle with Ulster for the 2005-06 title said, The involvement of Magners is a huge boost for the League. I expect the competition to go from strength to strength and the profile will increase immensely with the attraction of a major title sponsor.
Fans will be able to catch the first round of matches in the new Magners League beginning on Friday 1 September.