With the prospect of warmer weather on the horizon (yeah, right), many sports fans around the world dust off the cobwebs and start to get excited about things other than football.
In February’s case, it’s a time when rugby fans come together, sing loud and sing proud during the Six Nations.
Unlike football, fans of England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy unite for their love of the game, but there’s no escaping that rugby supporters – and players – also love their football clubs as well, contrary to popular belief.
Here’s who some of the stars of European rugby support…
England’s fly-half has been a crucial part of the national camp since 2014, racking up over 70 caps.
But he also enjoys watching the Blues having lived in the area in his youth, revealing in an interview (via chelseafc.com): “I always liked players such as John Terry and Frank Lampard, so from then on I just wanted Chelsea to win and I haven’t changed since.”
Another star in the England set up, Maro Itoje is another to appreciate football as well as rugby.
Itoje, who has also featured for the Lions, is an Arsenal fan and even trained at the Gunners’ facilities in the summer of 2019, telling Sky Sports: “I’m an Arsenal fan so it was great that I had the opportunity to go there and train in my off-season.
“They were very kind to me in allowing me to use their facilities so I’m very grateful. They were very accommodating. Who knows, hopefully I will be there again one summer.”
Thomas Partey alongside Itoje in midfield? Talk about powerhouse.
Now that’s a photo.
Curry grew up in Hounslow but, with his twin Ben, sided with Manchester City as a football club to support.
Both are involved heavily in the England set up but only Tom made the cut for this year’s Six Nations tournament…awkward.
The Saracens and England legend seems to be more of a fan of Roger Federer and safaris then any football team.
But the two-times Lions man holds a soft spot for Manchester United and has evidently put the same fate on his son, kitting him out in the Red Devils strip above.
The prolific points scorer is considered a legend in Wales, having received over 80 caps for the national side, but opted out of supporting a local side.
“That’s what on my TV quite a lot at the moment! I’m a big Manchester United fan so I’ve had some tough years to put up with recently, but they look like they’re back on the up.”
Hallam Amos, stalwart of the Wales side, grew up in rural Wales, attending a very rugby-orientated school, so you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s no chance he likes football.
But, as it turns out, Amos old holds a soft spot for the sport.
While he probably doesn’t get to see them much, the full-back is fond of Barcelona – and he’s definitely visited the club shop.
A true legend of the rugby world.
But Johnny Sexton’s first love was, in fact, football. The Irish international is a huge Red Devils fan and, in an interview with Rugby Wold magazine (via Sports Joe), listed his three favourite United players as Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona and Roy Keane.
After Leinster’s remarkable 2011 European Cup final comeback against Northampton, Sexton compared it to Liverpool’s famous 2005 Champions League comeback against AC Milan, prompting many to mark him as a Liverpool fan.
Speaking to Irish Examiner, the fly-half said: “I have a lot of Man Utd friends who texted me, abusing me. I did a thing with John O’Shea last week and he thought I was a Liverpool fan. For him to think that killed me.”
Not getting John O’Shea’s approval – a horror story for any United fan.
The French international star has already been capped over 50 times for his country and seems likely to make himself a legend for Les Bleus and Paris-based side Stade Francais.
Despite not seeming to associate himself with any football teams, the centre is clearly a Kylian Mbappe fan and, in 2018, congratulated the Paris Saint-Germain forward for achieving a fourth-placed finish in the Ballon d’Or.