Let’s face it , rugby’s not the most attractive sport for many youngsters to join given the greater financial incentives available from other options like football. For this reason many fantastic athletes never even consider rugby as a genuine option.
I therefore thought it might be interesting to take a look at players from other sports who I would love to see turn out on the rugby field. I’m obviously aware that this is just for a bit of fun, these players obviously don’t have the skill set currently to succeed in the game but I do feel they have some transferable skills that may benefit them when playing rugby.
10. Behdad Salimi
The Iranian weightlifter is an absolute beast of a man having set World Records and claimed and Olympic Gold in the heaviest weight lifting categories. Now obviously scrummaging requires a specific set of skills but imagine a bloke this powerful packing down in the front row, his power along could be enough to push the opposition off the ball.
9. Calvin Johnson
Nicknamed ‘Megatron’, the Detroit Lions wide receiver has pace and power in abundance and has huge potential as a winger. His ability to leap and catch the ball would also be a huge bonus should his side opt to chip a few balls over the top. He’s clearly got pace to burn and isn’t afraid of taking a big hit, especially if it results in a score.
8. Gary Ablett Jr
The Aussie Rules man is considered by many to be just about the best in the game currently. Ablett could potentially make an excellent half back with his complete skill set that includes kicking, passing and running. His playmaking and leadership experience could also play a vital role in such a key position.
7. Cain Velasquez
The UFC heavyweight may not have the experience of playing with a ball, but I’m sure he could more than compensate with his physicality. He may have to reign in the aggression slightly but imagine a bloke like this playing in the back row and using his grappling experience in at the breakdown to win turnovers and get the opposition out of the way, plus nobody would want to mess with him!
6. Bastian Schweinsteiger
Yes I’ve opted to include a wendyball player in this list, but in fairness to Schewinsteiger he’s not exactly your average footballer. The German is built more like a rugby player and isn’t afraid of a physical confrontation. Kicking a ball all day could also come in pretty handy, particularly if he were to turn out in the centres where he could combine physicality with playmaking.
5. Yohan Blake
The Jamaican sprinter may have spent much of his career in the shadow of a certain Usain Bolt, however if choosing one of them to turn out for a rugby team I’d opt for Blake every time. The guy is an absolute freak of nature, built like an animal (he’s nicknamed The Beast) whilst being the second fastest man in the world. Imagine this guy bombing it down the wings.
4. Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers has been touted by some as the NFL’s best Quarterback of the modern era. Now whilst he may be more used to passing the ball forwards rather than backwards, that kind of ability should be quite easily transferable. Imagine a guy with Rodgers distribution skills slotting in at fly half where he could cause all sorts of problems for the opposition.
3. Jonathan Thurston
There’s no doubting that Jonathan Thurston could be a huge signing for a rugby union side. The League player is quite possibly the best the NRL has at the moment and would make an ideal half-back. It wouldn’t take him as long as the others to convert and for anyone who hasn’t seen his kicking videos I’d highly suggest checking them out now.
2. LeBron James
James is rated by some as possibly the greatest player the NBA has ever seen. At 6’8″ and weighing in at 113kg there’s no doubting that he has the physical stature to play rugby. I’d also be tempted to play him in the centres where his ball handling skills would flourish. Just imagine a guy this size charging down the middle of the pitch before pulling off a sublime offload…
1. Marshawn Lynch
The Super Bowl winning running back seems perfectly suited to rugby. A beast of a man with quick feet and pace to burn, he could be absolutely devastating on a rugby field. There would be a temptation to play him through the centre but as I couldn’t be too sure about his handling skills I’d play him down the wing where if he got ball in hand he would be truly devastating.
If you could choose absolutely anyone in the world to play rugby who would it be and why?