Joey Barton's secret passion for rugby

NEWCASTLE midfielder Joey Barton has blown the lid off the unwritten rule that football and rugby union don't mix. Barton has revealed a passion for the 15-man code and, particularly, New Zealand captain Richie McCaw.

Barton said in the Newcastle programme: "I have got a lot of respect for Richie McCaw. He epitomises what I like about competitive sport. He's first at the breakdowns, brave as a lion and strong as a wildebeest and he sums up what being a competitive personality is about. He seems quite a decent guy off the pitch as well."

Just like our boy Joey. Ahem....