x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins admits he 'wouldn't dare' play rugby league

The die-hard Wigan Warriors fan and Olympic gold medalist, in Dubai to support the Joining Jack charity team, believes the 13-man code to be the 'hardest in the world'.

Olympic gold medal winner and Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins.
Olympic gold medal winner and Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins.

DUBAI // Bradley Wiggins, the Tour de France winner and Olympic time trial gold medallist, reckons rugby league is "the hardest sport in the world."

The Team Sky cyclist arrived in the UAE this morning to support the Joining Jack charity side, who are playing in the veterans tournament at the Dubai Rugby Sevens.

The team is made up of a variety of renowned ex-players from the 13-man code. As a fan of Wigan Warriors, many of the players rank among Wiggins' sporting heroes.

"I never have [tried rugby league] I wouldn't dare either," Wiggins said.

"It is the hardest sport in the world, I think, without a doubt. It is so physical."

Wiggins said he feared the Joining Jack side, which was set up to help raise funds for Duchenne muscular dystrophy research, would wonder who he was when he offered to help with the charity.

"I'm surprised half of them knew who I was," he said. "I did say to them, They are going to know who I am, aren't they?

"They are all my heroes. They always have been, especially the Wigan lads, the Invincibles like Steve Hampson, Mick Cassidy, Jason Robinson, Martin Offiah, Kris Radlinski."

Radlinski said it felt like there had been more chance of Wiggins, the favourite to win the BBC's sports personality of the year award, feeling star-struck than the other way around.

"It is the other way around," said the former Great Britain fullback.

"He collects rugby memorabilia, he wants to be in this environment with the boys. We just treat him as one of us, which is what he wants."

"We have got to know him well over the past few months. We didn't ask him to come here, he offered. Given the awards that are coming his way over the next few months and the success he has had, it is a great plus for the charity."

 

pradley@thenational.ae

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