Fantasy Rugby: British Olympians XV
As the attention of the sporting world turns to London 2012 this week, we thought a British Olympic XV would be in order.
Here’s a fine looking team made up of some of Britain’s finest athletes and competitors that could be a match for anyone, with Steve Redgrave captaining the side.
1. Audley Harrison
A handy candidate at loosehead to shore up the scrum, and won’t be afraid to get stuck in around the field. Concerns over his temperament will be allayed by his reluctance to throw punches.
2. Steve Backley
His stature suits the hooker position superbly, and he’s got a pretty good arm for throwing into the lineout.
3. Geoff Capes
A fearsome proposition at tighthead, Capes’ strength will ensure the scrum is rock solid and doesn’t take a backward step.
4. Luol Deng
The giant basketball hero will win lineout ball for fun, and his rangy physique and delicate hands should enable a significant contribution in the loose.
5. Matthew Pinsent
Pinsent can act as the enforcer alongside Deng, adding bulk and power in the scrum’s engine room.
6. Chris Hoy
The sheer power of Hoy will make him a master in close contact areas, and he’ll be immovable over the ball at the breakdown. Strength in the legs should offer a forceful carrying option, staying on his feet whilst support arrives.
7. James Cracknell
The fitness and tenacity of Cracknell should serve him well as he relentlessly strives to be first at everything, including to the breakdown, while his height will offer a useful lineout option.
8. Steve Redgrave (capt)
One of the greatest Olympians of all time will provide composure at the back of the scrum, with explosive power and a wise old head in a Dean Richards-esque approach to the game.
9. Ben Ainslie
Deceptively strong, but slight enough for the scrum-half role, Ainslie will link backs with forwards. Sailors are renowned for barking orders and staying calm under pressure, and with a fair wind, he could become a fine number nine.
10. Daley Thompson
His mastery of so many different sporting disciplines suggests that he has the all-round ability required of a modern fly-half. Strength and pace and legendary moustache will all hold him in good stead in the playmaker role.
11. Eric Liddell
Won Olympic Gold in the 400m in 1924, and also won 7 caps for Scotland on the wing in 1922 and 1923. Pace to burn on the outside and a proven aptitude for the game.
12. John Regis
A sprinter with significant bulk, he could be the quickest ball-carrying inside centre in world Rugby. Footballing cousins suggest that he could offer a useful kicking option.
13. Derek Redmond
Redmond’s prowess at running the bends of an athletics track should mean we see some delightful attacking arcs that see him glide past defenders. Will also galvanise the team in adversity and instil a never-give-in attitude.
14. Seb Coe
Another legendary Olympian that had to make the team, Coe’s sprint endurance should see him cause opposition defenders plenty of trouble in the final stages of matches. Leadership skills could also be depended upon.
15. Linford Christie
Christie’s speed off the mark, pace over short distances and a potentially ferocious hand-off will offer a dangerous counter-attacking threat at full-back. Would need to work on lines of attack to avoid running straight ahead every time.
Coach: Sir Clive Woodward: Who else?
What do you think? With plenty of competition for places, let us know who you think is missing.