Fantasy Rugby: London 2012 XV
As we emerge from post-Olympic hangovers, could there be a better way to manage the transition from enjoying the exploits of London 2012 superstars into the build-up to a huge Rugby season?
There were so many standout performers over the last fortnight that it is impossible to reward them all with a place in this team, but we have assembled a dangerous collection of potential rugby stars. There is a slight Team GB bias, but in our defence, the BBC coverage in the UK has encouraged us down that path.
1. Zhou Lulu
The Chinese weightlifter is the first name on the teamsheet. Probably not as the most valuable player, but because she has the perfect attributes as a loosehead – strength, size, aggression and endurance make her a force to be reckoned with. Click here for a Google Image search.
2. Robert Harting
The German discus champion gets the nod at hooker after a dominant gold medal-winning display. Throwing into the lineout shouldn’t be a problem, and his shirt-ripping exploits should be enough to strike fear into the opposition.
3. Bert Le Clos
Admittedly not an athlete, but undeniably a star of the Games. The father of South African swimmer Chad Le Clos stole the show in a BBC interview that instantly made him a hero, and he even mentioned his tighthead prop physique on camera. ‘Unbelievable!’
4. Michael Phelps
The most-decorated Olympian of all time has the sort of rangy physique required of our lock – tall, strong and with a proven record of success, he’ll be an asset in the engine room.
5. Greg Rutherford
Rutherford edges the other second row position from Robbie Grabarz, the high-jumper, and will be an go-to man in the lineout with his height and jumping ability. Also showed good speed over 30 metres or so.
6. Chris Hoy (capt)
Our blindside flanker in the British Olympian XV retains his position after further proving his indomitable attitude to competition and gritty determination to keep driving the legs to glory.
7. Ben Ainslie
Like any good number 7, Ainslie has a mean streak and demonstrated that if you get on the wrong side of him, he’ll hunt you down and beat you into submission. Just ask Jonas Hogh-Christensen.
8. Anthony Joshua
Britain’s heavyweight boxing hero would anchor the scrum effectively with bulk and explosive power to terrify any opposition. Should always be in the right place at the right time and not afraid of a scrap.
9. Mo Farah
The great long-distance runner clearly has the engine required of a scrum-half to cover a lot of ground and get to every breakdown. Clearly not shy of a bit of pushing and shoving as well as a sprint, he’d be a handful at the base of the scrum.
10. Danny Boyle
The orchestrator of a fine opening ceremony proved his ability to run the show at fly-half. After coordinating such a large, diverse range of people from Mr Bean to Her Majesty The Queen, leading the line at 10 should be no problem for Boyle.
11. Usain Bolt
The fastest man on earth is a shoo-in on the wing, and will be very difficult to catch if he takes the ball at pace. Should combine nicely with Blake in the centres, running dangerous lines off his shoulder.
12. Ed McKeever
The gold medal-winning Kayaker has the strength and burst of speed of any good inside centre. Would be rock solid in defence and selfless enough to distribute the ball to the fiery danger runners outside him. Might need some work on his aggression.
13. Yohan Blake
What an exciting prospect at outside centre. A proven speed merchant, he’s also built like a tank and would take a lot of stopping. Can anyone name a team that wouldn’t want someone nicknamed ‘The Beast’ in their backline?
14. Jessica Ennis
The greatest all-round athlete at the games showed impressive speed and deserves a spot on the wing. Her wide-ranging talents give her the edge over other out and out speedsters like Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce or Adam Gemili, and could contribute at the breakdown as well as offer a deadly finishing threat.
15. David Rudisha
The record-breaking 800m winner from Kenya would make a frightening full back. A muscly physique, impressive top speed and incredible sprint endurance would keep any defence on its toes.
What do you think? Is there anyone missing that you would have selected? Can you find a role for the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Katherine Grainger?