The Premier League footballers we'd want in our rugby XV
Footballers are often given a bad rep, but these are the Premier League players we reckon could combine to form a formidable outfit on the rugby field.
1. Loosehead prop = Troy Deeney (Watford)
"I've got a big head and teeth like a shark. So what? It is what it is."
That's precisely the sort of unflinching attitude we need in our front row, which is why Deeney is the first name on the teamsheet.
You need plenty of cojones to play at prop, and the Watford skipper has ‘em in abundance. He's used to being picked for physicality, can get the blood pumping in the dressing room, and isn't afraid to dish out the odd sly dig when he thinks the ref isn't looking.
Welcome aboard, Troy.
2. Hooker = Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal)
Kolasinac's barrel chest and bulging muscles mean he will fit right in among the forwards.
He's also not one to shy away from confrontation, as the gang of knife-wielding robbers that he chased away unarmed will testify.
The extra mobility and throw-in expertise that comes with being a full-back means the combative Bosnian gets the nod at hooker.
3. Tighthead prop = Harry Maguire (Manchester United)
With his lumbering running style, old-fashioned black boots and surprisingly preppy haircut, 'Slabhead' already looks like he belongs on a rugby field.
And, having been recruited to help return Manchester United to their former glories, he's presumably accustomed to doing most of the heavy lifting.
Best of all, by being deployed at tighthead – where he'll have an opponent either side of him at scrum time – he can use that big bonce to cause maximum discomfort to the opposition.
4. Second row = Shane Duffy (Brighton)
Tall, physical and great in the air - Duffy has all the attributes of a classic second row.
And, as an Irishman, we're banking on him having thrown around an oval ball during his school days.
Crucially, he also adds an air of authenticity to what is a suspiciously good-looking rugby team. Sorry, Shane.
5. Second row = Yerry Mina (Everton)
At 6ft 5in, Mina is one of the tallest players in the Premier League, so is being selected as our primary jumper in the line-out.
The Colombian is athletic enough to get around the pitch and, with three goals from corners at the 2018 World Cup, will make a real difference at set pieces.
Like a skinnier, South American version of Maro Itoje.
6. Blindside flanker = Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
Blindside flanker is rugby’s equivalent of a water carrier.
The bloke you barely even notice, whose job is simply to keep things ticking along. The guy who's happy to do all the dirty work while his more fashionable colleagues hog the headlines.
You see where we're going with this.
7. Openside flanker = Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United)
This was a tough call. An openside flanker needs to be your team's best tackler, which narrowed it down to two players who consistently top the Premier League charts.
However, they also need to be able to get away with a few dark arts, because they're no good to you in the sin bin.
Wan-Bissaka averages a card every five games compared to one every 3.7 for Leciester’s Wilfred Ndidi, which is why the United full-back makes the cut.
8. Number eight = Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)
Our number eight must possess both brains and brawn.
They need to be strong enough to make a big impact in defence and skilful enough to receive the ball anywhere on the pitch. A calm head and leadership qualities are also essential, since they often decide the direction of play.
All of which makes the current favourite to win the Ballon d’Or the perfect candidate.
9. Scrum-half = N'Golo Kante (Chelsea)
The scrum half is the fulcrum through which all play flows.
They are traditionally the smallest player on the pitch but, given how much time they spend on the edge of the breakdown, need to be able to survive a bit of rough and tumble.
There's nobody better than Kante at mopping up messes all over the pitch while running rings around the bigger boys.
10. Fly-half = Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
A fly half needs to be a good footballer, so it makes sense to give the No. 10 jersey to the Premier League's most-accomplished playmaker.
De Bruyne is a master at pulling the strings for his team by sitting deep and recycling possession until he spots the killer pass.
There are, admittedly, some concerns over his injury record, which is why we've got James Maddison waiting in the wings.
12. Inside centre = Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham)
An inside centre can be many different things, but they're rarely the star of the show.
Their main job is to pin back the defence by running in a straight line, and then giving the ball to more creative teammates once gaps start to appear.
Remind you of anyone?
13. Outside centre = Adama Traore (Wolves)
We're picking a classic wrecking ball at outside centre in order to punch a few holes in the opposition defence.
Footballers find it hard enough to tackle Traore with his squat physique and low centre of gravity – so just imagine the havoc he could cause in a full-contact sport once he gets those pistons pumping.
11. Left wing = Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
Vardy has the pace, finishing ability and in-your-face attitude that you need to survive on the wing.
He's also the best in the business at timing runs to collect balls over the top, so he'll be invaluable when it comes to winning back possession from box kicks.
14. Right wing = Daniel James (Manchester United)
Given their rich rugby history, we had to include at least one Welshman.
But, having been clocked running at speeds of over 10 metres per second – which is enough to rival any winger in world rugby – James is being picked on merit.
The only condition is that he agrees to stop all that diving nonsense.
15. Full-back = Ederson (Manchester City)
The full-back is responsible for acting as the last line of defence and sweeping up any hopeful punts downfield.
They need to be comfortable with both their hands and feet, and join attacking moves when the opportunity presents itself.
It's basically the same as Ederson's current job description for Manchester City, only with a license to come out of goal every now and again.