With the Rugby World Cup kicking off today as hosts Japan take on Russia in Tokyo, it had us thinking which Blues past and present would make our Chelsea XV.
Introducing the Chelsea rugby team compiled from our current and former players…
1. Loosehead prop – Michy Batshuayi
To be a good prop you need to be strong in the neck, upper body and legs. We feel Michy ticks all those boxes. His nickname is also the Batsman - which is a play on the name Batman, and that superhero strength will stop that scrum going backwards.
2. Hooker – Branislav Ivanovic
Not only would Brana be good at throwing the ball in at the lineout, we all know how gritty, determined and aggressive he’d be on the pitch, which is just what you want in a hooker.
3. Tighthead prop - William ‘Fatty’ Foulke
At 6ft 4in and hitting the scales at 24 stone, it would take one almighty pack to get the better of our late goalkeeper, who signed for the Blues back in 1905.
4. Second row – Petr Cech
With Big Pete’s hands, you are guaranteed a second row who’ll catch the ball in the lineout. You can expect zero knock-ons from the Chelsea great and he’ll also look the part in his helmet.
5. Second row – Kurt Zouma
Our French defender can jump so high there’s no need to lift him in the lineout, so not only will he be highly effective in set pieces, he’ll saving energy elsewhere in the pack. With pace and power in abundance, he’ll be a threat in attack as well as defence.
6. Blindside flanker – John Terry (c)
You can expect a high work rate and a high tackle count from our captain, leader, legend. We all know John’s dedication on the field of play is unmatched, and we anticipate him being the first in the team to put his body on the line and pay the price with a concussion or split forehead.
7. Openside flanker - N’Golo Kante
You underestimate N’Golo at your peril. He may only be 5ft 6in inches tall, but pound for pound he’s the strongest man on earth, and he’ll be turning over ball quicker than the Uni rugby lads can down a pint.
8. Number 8 - Ross Barkley
At 6ft 1in tall and a dead ringer for John Cena, Ross is a big powerful lad. He’s also mobile, and we think he’d be a strong ball-carrying number 8 who will get about the pitch. He’s also our number 8 in the 11-a-side game, so we’ll save on printing costs.
9. Scrum-half - Eden Hazard
A key player in organising our attacks, Eden’s speed, lightning-fast reactions and quick feet will terrify any opposition (just ask Francis Coquelin) – and his vision will be crucial in linking the play between our forwards and backs.
10. Fly-half – Cesc Fabregas
Cesc’s creativity and game management would make him a sterling choice at fly-half. He’ll be organising the backline and orchestrating the attack with that pin-point distribution we all love to see.
11. Left winger - Callum Hudson-Odoi
The young Blue’s pace, quick feet, and all-round trickery will prove a problem for any defence. Expect the crowd to be on the edge of their seats every time that oval ball reaches the hands of our Academy graduate.
12. Inside centre – Frank Lampard
Defensively Frank will not take a backwards step and in attack we all know he can finish. He’ll also be an additional playmaker next to Cesc, offering perfect distribution as the Blues look to cross that white line. And with the Bison next to him, we see a formidable midfield pairing, familiar to all Blues fans.
13. Outside centre – Michael Essien
The Bison is the team’s battering ram. Whether he finds the gaps or not, with his powerful running it will take Herculean strength to bring the Ghanaian down.
14. Right winger – Arjen Robben
With that raw speed and quick feet, he’ll be stepping in off his right foot to get that ball over the line.
15. Full-back - Ashley Cole
Can one of the greatest full-backs ever to play the 11-a-side game make the transition to the 15-a-side game? We think he can. Our attack will be so menacing we can afford to have a full-back who can sit back in a defensive role. But, we need a 100 per cent reliable last line of defence, and who better as the last man standing than Ashley Cole. Not only would he stop that ball from getting over the line at all costs, as he did so many times for the Blues, he’s also got a big clearance in him. You’ve only got to look at his 60-yard hoof-up-the-field to Fernando Torres in the Camp Nou!