NFL ace Marquette King is just one American taking note of rugby’s exposure during the shut down of US sports, but his comments about the game prompted fierce backlash.
King, a punter who represented the Oakland Raiders for six-years before signing with the Denver Broncos in 2018, is currently a free agent.
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But during the coronavirus pandemic, the 87kg punter has taken notice - like many Americans seeking their weekly fix of sport - of different footy codes.
This led to a bold prediction from the punter, who last played in the XFL.
“If I played rugby I would dominate it easily,” he said.
But he may have not expected the in-flood of invitations from rugby stars around the world after his brazen comments that he would ‘dominate’ rugby.
If I played rugby I would dominate it easily.— Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) June 20, 2020
The All Black’s official account got in on the action.
While hulking All-Blacks forward Jerome Kaino said he would ‘love to see it’ before adding the hashtag: ‘No pads’.
You’re welcome to join us for training anytime. https://t.co/QanJhkhV8z— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) June 20, 2020
South African forward Petrus du Plessis showed off the rigours of rugby with a tweet of an injury.
Play tighthead, it’s fun they said! 😉 pic.twitter.com/mtbhpaAQsc— Petrus du Plessis (@PetrusduPlessis) June 20, 2020
Fiji’s general manager of high performance invited King to come trial with some of the team’s toughest players including former Rugby League winger Semi Radradra.
I love the confidence. If you wish I could organise a little 10m gauntlet drill with Radradra, Tuisova, Yato, Nakarara and Mata as an introduction? I can even format the drill to suit, 15 seconds on, 15 minutes off... https://t.co/ehvp1el8dI— Simon Raiwalui (@SimonRaiwalui) June 20, 2020
Many England stars, past and present, took a dig.
King even got invitations to come trial for multiple teams, including the Seattle Seawolves rugby team.
I’d bend him right up, stick to wearing your bike helmet and shoulder cushions my boy.— Gengey (@EllisGenge) June 20, 2020
Really, leave your pads and helmet in your bag 👍🤣🥳— Neil Back MBE (@NeilBack) June 20, 2020
Seems many people what you to try. 😳.— Jamie Noon (@noony_13) June 21, 2020
Welcome to ‘ave a go in a session at Oval Park, anytime.— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) June 20, 2020
Come out and let’s see what you got, humble us or be humbled— Mathew Drew Turner (@Mat_turner11) June 21, 2020
Rugby wins over NFL in vote
King then conducted a Twitter poll, which received more than 22,000 votes, asking fans which sport had the better overall athlete.
Rugby ran out clear winners with 78.6 per cent of the votes.
He praised the spirit and passion of rugby fans from all over the world.
I’ve gotta admit. The love that people have for rugby internationally is deep. I love the passion y’all got. ☮️🖤— Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) June 20, 2020