The discussion around Matt Banahan and the suggestion of turning him into a second row got me thinking about players that could play in other positions – so here is the Out of Position XV.
It’s taken from current players only, although there is certainly scope for an ‘All Time Out of Position XV’ both for England and a World XV. I’ve also avoided shifting players from the back row to the second row, which would have been easier, but isn’t that interesting.
The front row comprises Andy Robinson’s favourite centre partnership, Mike Tindall and Jamie Noon. Both show prop-like characteristics, both in their build and their tendency to run at the nearest man, rather than the nearest gap.
Shaun Perry, the barrel-shaped scrum-half, makes the ideal hooker in the Steve Thompson mould, only without the height. Moreover, as a scrum-half, his throwing should be fairly accurate.
Banahan features in the second row, alongside Delon Armitage. The latter might need to bulk up a little, but neither will give too much away in terms of height, and their contribution in the loose would be exciting to see.
The back row has a very balanced look to it, with the strength and speed of Dan Hipkiss at blindside complementing the ferociously competitive Jonny Wilkinson at 7. Wilko is often found at the bottom of a ruck, so the change of mentality shouldn’t be too great. Ugo Monye at number 8 offers power and pace from the base of the scrum that most people would pay to see.
James Simpson-Daniel is a shoo-in at scrum-half, with his low centre of gravity, incredible acceleration and elusiveness. Jordan Crane slots at fly-half, primarily because he is a proven kicker in high-pressure situations. He’d be strong in defence, not afraid to stand flat and ship the ball to the threatening back line.
Steffon Armitage and James Haskell is a strong centre-combination, with a surprising amount of gas. Both players regularly make yards with the ball in hand, and each have enough speed to make a half-break and offload to one of the pacey back three.
Tom Croft is often found on the wing even when selected at blindside flanker, so this isn’t a huge departure for him, and Luke Narraway on the other wing offers similar options and reasonable pace.
Nick Kennedy would make the ideal full-back, safe under the high-ball and tall enough to out-jump anyone – he’s also pretty quick and would be a real threat hitting the line at pace between Armitage and Haskell.
What are your thoughts? Have I missed anyone that would be an asset to the team?
1. Mike Tindall
2. Shaun Perry
3. Jamie Noon
4. Matt Banahan
5. Delon Armitage
6. Dan Hipkiss
7. Jonny Wilkinson
8. Ugo Monye
9. James Simpson-Daniel
10. Jordan Crane
11. Luke Narraway
12. Steffon Armitage
13. James Haskell
14. Tom Croft
15. Nick Kennedy