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Kit Bag

From rugby to the ring: Five players battling out in Dubai this summer

  |  February 26, 2013

Samoa's Brian Pala Lima will step into the boxing ring in Dubai this May. Pic: Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP
Samoa's Brian Pala Lima will step into the boxing ring in Dubai this May. Pic: Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP

Some of the most recognisable names in rugby will meet in the boxing ring in Dubai in May to settle the debate over who is tougher: players from the northern hemisphere or the south...

1 Brian Lima (South) Quite why anyone would want to get in a ring with this Samoan wrecking ball is baffling. Opposing him on a rugby field, where there was plenty of room to escape, must have been intimidating enough. One of the most ferocious hard men in rugby history made trained assassins seem like pet hamsters by comparison.

2 Gareth Thomas (North) The former Wales captain must be fairly tough Ė judging by the fact Mickey Rourke could not handle the prospect of acting out the stunts for a movie planned on Thomasís life. The Hollywood star tore his biceps arm-wrestling other rugby players while he was researching the biopic on one of the sportís most storied players.

3 Carlos Spencer (South) The former New Zealand fly-half was renowned for his silken handling skills and the grace he brought to playing the game. Yet that disguised a rugged touch. The former All Blacks No 10 is such an adept boxer, apparently, the Fighting Chance organisers have been struggling to find a willing opponent to take him on.

4 Shane Williams (North) More likely to float like a butterfly than sting too viciously. And a particularly elusive butterfly at that. He only retired from the Wales wing in 2011. Williams, the record try scorer for Wales, will be tricky to land a punch on, judging by the sidestepping skills that landed him the World Player of the Year award in 2008.

5 Chester Williams (South) If Thomas is looking forward to seeing a film about his life, Williams has already done that. Having won the World Cup as a wing with South Africa in 1995, he saw the achievement immortalised in the film Invictus. He coached Matt Damon et al for the rugby scenes.