What if there was a 5-a-side Team?

Rich Dore
10 August 2019

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And so the world’s second best sport returns to our screens, and what a return it was too as Liverpool eased to a comfortable 4-1 defence of fortress Anfield against newly promoted Norwich to kick off the season.

That got us thinking, if we were to form our very own Guinness PRO14 football team who would be the leading contenders to make the cut?

With one small caveat that we’re not completely sure if these guys have any hidden football talents, but these five are our nominees nevertheless.

Goalkeeper – Edinburgh’s Blair Kinghorn

Who better to pick for our last line of defence than the youngster who performs that very same role for Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh?

Initial transfer discussions focused on the issue of wingspan and Devin Toner’s name was mentioned, but after all there’s no lifting allowed in football and we think springiness could be an issue.

Leading us to Mr Kinghorn – 6’3’’ – scorer of some wonderfully acrobatic tries and with enough fast twitch fibres to reach those top corner efforts.

His young age of 22 is a potential issue, but he has time to mature into the role like any successful goalie.

Defender/enforcer – Ospreys’ Alun Wyn Jones

Was it Pepe or Sergio Ramos winding England’s rugby team up a treat in the Guinness Six Nations back in March? It was not, just ask Kyle Sinckler.

Leading us to our perfect centre-half enforcer, Alun Wyn Jones.

You’re probably not going to beat him to a header, whilst it’s a long way round the iron-cast lock and he’ll throw wily attackers around like ragdolls, so we calculate basically no shots conceded.

Useful for barking orders at the troops also.

Midfield maestro – Isuzu Southern Kings’ Masixole Banda

From a tackle machine to a creative force, move aside Michel Platini – we’ve opted for the versatile Masixole Banda to operate as our supplier of ammunition.

Moving around from full-back to fly-half, 38 defenders beaten, kicking duties and five assists in the 2018-19 Guinness PRO14 convince us that Banda is our central creator.

Winger – Benetton Rugby’s Monty Ioane

Let’s face it, Australians are not exactly renowned for their football, but ignoring that for a second we’re installing Benetton’s Monty Ioane on to our wing.

Obviously the Treviso-based wide man is fast, the first essential ingredient, whilst only Johnny McNicholl beat more defenders in the Championship last season so those George Best swivel hips are clearly present.

166 carries indicates he’ll be up and down the wing all day long, while the top-offload deliverer in the Guinness PRO14 will clearly be willing to cross.

Striker – Leinster’s Jonny Sexton

You can’t leave him out can you? Jonny Sexton’s stone-faced determination means his teams usually win, so we figure we can’t really lose if we have him in.

We could pick quicker strikers, but we think Sexton will provide the niggle to battle away up top for the duration and often come out on top, a la ex-Manchester City, Sunderland and Arsenal striker Niall Quinn.

Performance in those high-pressure moments, a laser-guided boot and his own teammates’ quiet fear of him? Sexton is our man to round off the Guinness PRO14 football team.

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