2013/14 Rugby Thread

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  • 2013/14 Rugby Thread
  • If you like we’ll swap you Matt Morgan for one of your locks. He’ll give you some attacking threat from outside half.
    [video]http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=frSiJ1qLNW0[/video]

    No idea why he isnt being played on the wing….. Reminds me of someone!!

    tinybits
    Member

    Well, when Flood goes to France next year (there no point hanging around playing second fiddle to Farrell, so he’ll be off to play for a fortune) and Leicester get Burns as per the rumours, then I think well see a pretty damn good player.
    Until then, he’ll be a speed bump for teams with real forwards!

    toys19
    Member

    Reminds me of someone!!

    Who?

    That was an awesome try by the way.

    Pigface
    Member

    Matthew Morgan is tiny, when I saw him a few times last season he looks like a kid from school has scampered on. A bit like Arwel he is the wrong size at the wrong time, 30 years ago he would be touted as another Welsh wizzard at 10, these days he is just going to get smashed.

    toys19
    Member

    My MIL refers to Shane as that lovely little lad, but I’ve stood next to him in the street and he isn’t that tiny (compared to my 1670mm), it’s just every one else on the field is massive. He was very successful in the modern era.

    On the other hand I thought O’Gara was kinda failed by his size in recent years. I remember 2009 or 10 in the 6N when I think it was Richie Gray just ran through him.

    Morgan 5ft 8
    Shane 5ft 7
    Ronan 6ft (suprising)
    Farrel 6ft 2
    Carter 5ft 10 (also suprising)
    Flood 6ft 2

    duckman
    Member

    Gray’s “wee” brother is in with a chance of playing on Sat. 🙂

    Ok a serious bit;
    I started teaching in 2003 and being 34 I decided to step back from playing for a club that involved weight sessions/video analysis etc. My school club had folded so I ended up playing for a team in St Andrews. They were largely composed of farmers and as such struggled to get teams out in August. Never an issue as soon as the harvest was in,but the SRU docked points at the drop of a hat. The club pres had made me feel very welcome and the whole club had a family,friendly social vibe that was as good as anything I encountered in the 5 or six clubs I played for.
    One August the weather was good so there were about six call off on Sat am for a bus trip to Langholm down in the borders. The 56yo Pres turns up with kit and the plan of playing for 10mins and then going down, thus avoiding any problems from the SRU. He played the whole game in the second row in a National 3 league match…Fast forward 2.5 years and I am sitting with him as he tries to pick up a straw,eventually telling me with a wry smile that is was too heavy. 😕 Motor Neurone Disease

    I was thinking of him as I read of another player this morning who is fighting this hideous condition. From today’s Times.

    Meeting Joost van der Westhuizen is distressing, even though you do your damnedest to show otherwise. He offers a hand though he cannot shake yours or even grip it. He is strapped into his wheelchair to prevent him falling forwards.

    He wants to tell you about his life. Actually, what he really wants is to tell you how he can help other lives. But motor neuron disease (MND) has afflicted him so badly that he struggles to enunciate. This is a 25-minute interview and at the end he is tired of having to overcome a heavy slur to produce words that are comprehensible.

    Yet still he wants to explain exactly what has happened to him.

    “With MND, all the signals from your brain to your muscles break down,” he says. “That means you lose the function of your muscle. The way I speak is because my tongue is a muscle.”

    As the motor neurones gradually break down, he explains further, you become increasingly disabled: “Every month you have to adapt. In my case, it started in the upper body so I can’t use my arms any more and I walk assisted. So it is very difficult.”

    And all the time, his brain is operating perfectly and dealing with the frustration of his situation and the reality of his future.

    When the illness was diagnosed in May 2011, Van der Westhuizen was 40. He was given the horrible truth: he had a 20 per cent chance of living another five years, but he may not make it to Christmas. “It is a death sentence,” he says. “Though there is no time to worry about death.”

    This is a man transformed, and not just physically so. A decade ago, he wrapped up a playing career so great that he finished with more caps and more tries than any Springbok before him. He was part of the great Nelson Mandela team that won the World Cup in 1995; he is still asked about that day and how he, the scrum half, was the one who tackled Jonah Lomu. He was phenomenally strong and rumbustious for a No ?9. And handsome with it. MND has no respect for the mighty.

    He was somewhat taciturn in those days, too, cool behind his Afrikaner reserve. Even after rugby, his life remained in the newspapers, first via a rock-star marriage, then a lurid adultery scandal and a marriage breakdown.

    Yet sitting in his wheelchair, struggling to produce the words, he seems to have a veritable warmth. “I am humbled by the disease,” he says. “I know now what life is all about.”

    His story with MND began really as far back as 2008. That was when he noticed weakness in his right arm. He believed it was an old rugby injury. His friend, a doctor, was the one who eventually noticed the weakness too and insisted he have it checked out.

    No research has yet identified the exact causes of MND; there is no suggestion that it is related to contact sport. Van der Westhuizen, nevertheless, was stuck with it. When the news is delivered, he says, “it is very emotional”. He was offered counselling to deal with the situation but politely declined.

    “It was my choice not to have it,” he says. “Every person is different. Because of my rugby background, I handled it myself. I am mentally strong and my life has always been choosing to be positive.”

    The toughest part was his children. “That was very difficult,” he says. “Back then they were only 5 and 7, and to realise that you won’t be able to see them grow up or be there for them is tough.” Initially he told them nothing. As he says: “What does a kid of 5 know?”

    Pretty much immediately, though, he resolved to define the remainder of his life by his fight against the disease.

    So while Van der Westhuizen is here in the UK to see the Springboks’ autumn tour, his real mission is to strike in the midst of the international rugby season to raise money.

    He flies today to Edinburgh, where a fundraiser has been organised by Scott Hastings. He was in Wales last week, where he was able to see South Africa win at the Millennium Stadium, but really so that he could attend another fundraising dinner. He says that Rob Howley, an old foe, had helped to organise the dinner, which he clearly relished.

    “Everyone was there,” he says. “Rob Jones, Rob Howley. I saw Neil Jenkins and we had a good laugh — a laugh about all the fun we had, the on-field banter, everything.”

    For all of his 89 caps and vast accomplishments as a player, he was still thrilled that his old hero from his own schooldays was also able to attend: Gareth Edwards.

    He likes talking about friends and old adversaries. He likes talking also about his old Springbok team-mates with whom he is in close contact. “Especially the ’95 guys,” he says. “Whenever I ask them for help, they are always there.”

    His real passion now, though, is the J9 Foundation. He explains: “The moment I experienced difficulty, I realised what other families must go through and that’s when I decided to set up the foundation. Seventy per cent of MND sufferers are male and they are often the bread-winners in the family too. I know what sufferers are going through and I know what they need. For me it is not about the money alone; it is about the time we give to help others.”

    The dinners and the fundraisers, he says, are directed specifically at helping families dealing with MND: “We now have 34 families we are looking after, I want 40 by the end of the year and next year we will go to 50.”

    Each family is helped financially and given bespoke assistance to meet their particular needs in terms of healthcare and counselling. Van der Westhuizen visits all of them. They all have a direct phone line through to him.

    One of Van der Westhuizen’s goals is to open a research centre in South Africa. He has had early discussions with leading universities. “We are busy putting figures together to see what we need,” he says.

    This is hard work; although the mind works as fast as ever, the body is tired and needs rests. Yet tackling his disease this way has clearly given him a purpose. “I travel a lot by choice,” he says. “It keeps me busy and happy and I need to find a cure.”

    His domestic life has also found a peaceful settlement. He lives now almost next door to his wife and their children and, when home, is round for dinner most nights. They have prepared a bedroom for him in what used to be the study. At the start of the year, he gave his children a full explanation of his illness. “Now they ask questions and can understand it better,” he says.

    How are they handling it? “Difficult to say. They hug me a lot. They phone a lot. They spend time with me more. They realise what is going on.” And how is he handling it? “Now I have made peace with it,” he says. “I am still alive.”

    Read more about the J9 Foundation on http://www.joost.co.za. The Foundation has an SMS donation line; to donate £5, text JOOST to 60999.

    Worth a fiver; Stuart

    ijs445ra
    Member

    “wee” Gray is supposed to be the better of the two as well, although Sale fans may not think much of that 🙂

    Thanks for the Joost link, will be donating.

    toys19
    Member

    MY stepmum does a fair bit of work for the UK based MND charity.

    Donate

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    Tom B – Member

    10 situation is pretty depressing for England (and those Welshists too!)

    As for Wales, who knows….maybe Henson is the answer

    You know I don’t think Wales have too much to worry about for a few years. Biggar is what, 22? Priestland is 26ish? (So actually rather old to continually be thought of as a work-in-progress!)

    But coming through we have players like Sam Davies, etc. There’s plenty of talent around, it’ll be interesting to see if they develop enough.

    toys19 – Member

    My MIL refers to Shane as that lovely little lad, but I’ve stood next to him in the street and he isn’t that tiny (compared to my 1670mm), it’s just every one else on the field is massive.

    He IS tiny, it’s just you are a midget! 😉

    Living around here I see loads of rugby players and very few of them look huge. Alan Wyn Jones (coming out of Morrisons a few years ago on crutches..) didn’t look as big as I’d have thought. But Justin Marshal (changing in the gym next to me) was considerably taller than me – I’m 5ft10″ – and very polite. Nice guy but very aware that HE was the superstar! But I was surprised how tall he was.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    The BBC interview with Joost van der Westhuizen.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/24890861

    toys19
    Member

    IdleJon, yer I know, my point was that it’s dangerous to assume that because Morgan is small (not as small as Shane) that he will not make the cut. I am sure it will make it harder for him, but you never know..

    Patchel could be the next big thing at ten for wales.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    Yep, a_a. I was trying to remember his name… He looks good already. Pity he’s playing at the underperforming Blues.

    duckman
    Member

    J Gray,despite being 19 is 6″6″ and 18 stone 9lbs 😯 God save us from that food bill! The chat is that he is a better player as he has had to work harder,including a year in NZ.

    ijs445ra
    Member

    I don’t think the lack of a world class 10 is a Welsh or English thing as very few countries (only NZ and Ireland?) have what most view as a proper world class 10 at present.

    I think there is a bit of a “Dan Carter factor” in the perception of every other 10 in that he is, and has been, so much better than the rest for the last however many years that we expect more from every 10.

    I really rated Jonny W as an international 10 he never did a huge amount of flash stuff but by all accounts he is one of the harder working players in the game, so his tackling/kicking things he could practice were always top notch add that to good decision making and he looked better than almost everyone, until Carter appeared and moved the game on.

    For me the best 10s still playing internationals are DC, Sexton and Cruden all generally do the basics very well, make good decisions and to varying degrees can produce bits of rugby magic that win games. Until the NH can overcome a fear of losing and the trend in over coaching our 10s are 90% of the time going to pick the safe option, we see it quite often that when a game is already won or lost the rugby gets better and the game more expansive.

    On a different note I met Jim Hamilton once, the biggest human I have ever come across!

    DanW
    Member

    Living around here I see loads of rugby players and very few of them look huge. Alan Wyn Jones (coming out of Morrisons a few years ago on crutches..) didn’t look as big as I’d have thought. But Justin Marshal (changing in the gym next to me) was considerably taller than me – I’m 5ft10″ – and very polite. Nice guy but very aware that HE was the superstar! But I was surprised how tall he was.

    My MIL refers to Shane as that lovely little lad, but I’ve stood next to him in the street and he isn’t that tiny (compared to my 1670mm), it’s just every one else on the field is massive.

    The height/ size thing is very deceptive in rugby players. I certainly wouldn’t go around believing every published height/ weight you see. Wiki has Shane as 1.7m and 80kg for example but having lived with an ex-Wales prop he just burst out laughing to read that (partly at the height, mostly at the weight) and said there was a lot of “bigging up” going on in the stats/ media 😀 I know Shane was more robust towards the end of his career but the stats are rarely accurate! Is it a short person thing to measure yourself in mm too? 😆

    Also worth bearing in mind is that height isn’t everything. Seeing Mike Phillips (thankfully non-aggro) shopping in Cardiff… it wasn’t the height that was in any way intimidating but the fact he is so damn barrel chested. Same with the Toulon props who were walking around Cardiff recently- not huge in height but about as wide as they were tall! 😀

    ijs445ra
    Member

    England and NZ teams

    England team: Mike Brown; Chris Ashton, Joel Tomkins, Billy Twelvetrees, Ben Foden; Owen Farrell, Lee Dickson; Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw (c), Billy Vunipola.

    Replacements: Tom Youngs, Matt Mullan, David Wilson, Geoff Parling, Ben Morgan, Ben Youngs, Toby Flood, Alex Goode.

    New Zealand team: Israel Dagg; Charles Piutau, Ben Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read.

    Replacements: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano, Steven Luatua, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Cruden, Ryan Crotty.

    toys19
    Member

    I dont think they were lying about Shanes height, he was defo taller than me..

    I agree that height is not everything.

    I normally quote 5ft 5, but did it there in mm for accuracy as it was pertinent to the discussion and as a self deprecating thing, otherwise I have to say 5ft 5 and 7/10 and everyone takes the mick for making the 7/10 so important..

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    England and NZ teams..

    I’m almost glad I’m not going to be able to watch it until Sunday night. We’re getting squished.

    I really rated Jonny W as an international 10 he never did a huge amount of flash stuff but by all accounts he is one of the harder working players in the game, so his tackling/kicking things he could practice were always top notch add that to good decision making and he looked better than almost everyone, until Carter appeared and moved the game on.

    Wilkinson wasnt even the best ten in the world cup final,Larkham was better. Him going off when Ben who stood on his face made the difference. Excellent player a top class international but Larkham was better. He wasnt much better than Steven Jones.

    What happen to Conrad Smith?

    Pigface
    Member

    Meh Jonny W asnt even the best 10 playing in the British Isles, anyway I have made my thoughts on Wilkinson known way to often to bother going back over old ground.

    Is Sexton that good??? never seen him do anything that special. Carter hasnt been at his best for a while, he is very composed though.

    I thought Smith was on the bench, well that is what it said on the radio this morning.

    Messam, McCaw Read wouldnt want to be Farrel 😆

    DanW
    Member

    What happened to Conrad Smith?

    On sabbatical… awesome player

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I really rated Jonny W as an international 10 he never did a huge amount of flash stuff but by all accounts he is one of the harder working players in the game, so his tackling/kicking things he could practice were always top notch

    You’re not alone mate. I agree.
    Although our ‘factual knowledge’ about rugby isn’t quite up there with some 🙄

    ekul
    Member

    I think Conrad Smith has taken a sabbatical hasn’t he?

    On the subject of player size – I bumped into Ashton Sims the other day, one of the Fijian brothers playing in the RL WC. I’m 6’4″ and 17st but my god he’s a monster… Nearly walked straight into his chest!

    I think the player size thing is starting to become an issue even in the amateur game. At the club I play at you’ve got such a mix of sizes. Small 5’6″ 9/10st players playing against guys who are 6’6″ 20st gym monkeys. One day someones going to end up seriously hurt.

    However, i’m not sure how it could ever really be resolved. People suggest splitting the game up by weights but to me that ruins the whole game. In all the best teams i’ve played in/against its been big strong guys hitting great lines but its always a small wiry player pulling the strings from flyhalf/scrumhalf or cutting teams apart on the wings.

    I think there will always be a place for small players in rugby but they’ll have to adapt. Look at Will Genia, undoubtably one of the best scrumhalves in the world and he’s mixing it with the biggest and best players in the world at just 5’8″. The difference is he’s built like a brick outhouse and is one of the strongest players in his team. Maybe thats the approach the small guys will go down in the future? Certainly the best scrumhalf i’ve ever played with was only tiny but was virtually a solid ball of muscle. Used to be amazing – impossible to tackle due to his height and as strong as an ox, bouncing second rows and props all over the park.

    In terms of the result on Saturday I have to go with a NZ win, I look at the England backs and just can’t see them offering anything at all. At least with Barrett and Tuilagi we had a nigh on inpentrable defence. Now we don’t even have that! Pretty uninspired for 2015 atm i’m afraid.

    By the way, first post on this thread so please be kind 🙂

    Pigface
    Member

    Dez stop stirring please 😉

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Me stirring?! 😆

    ijs445ra
    Member

    Welcome Ekul

    DezB – i will have you know my factual knowledge of rugby is far in excess of at least Andy Nicol? 😀

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I can tell 🙂

    DanW
    Member

    Good points ekul.

    However, the fact people like Genia have to be built like a brick outhouse to survive/ prosper kind of suggests the gym monkey element is still hugely important. Height, not really… but weight/ muscle yes.

    Leigh Halfpenny was always hugely talented too but just look at the size of him lately. He has gone from quite wirey/ normal to a real defensive machine. No-one would doubt his or Genia physicality despite the height… but it did require quite a bulk up. I can only really think of people like Parra or Laidlaw who buck this trend on the international scene.

    Also reminds me of seeing the Argentinian front row wandering around Cardiff a year or two back- not tall by any stretch of the imagination but balls of muscle as you say ekul!

    Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Blues); George North (Northampton Saints), Cory Allen (Blues), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Liam Williams (Scarlets); Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (unattached); Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Blues, capt), Toby Faletau (Dragons), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys).
    Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets), Paul James (Bath), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Blues), James Hook (Perpignan), Ashley Beck (Ospreys).

    😯 Rhodri Jones 😯 Cory Allan 😯 .. Suppose Allan will fit with Gatlands plan A approach. I thought Beck did OK the other day, not got as good form as last season but I think he’s a good player.

    Gethin’s 100th cap. He may not be playing at the level he once did but he’s still an awesome player.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
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    ijs445ra – Member

    Welcome Ekul

    DezB – i will have you know my factual knowledge of rugby is far in excess of at least Andy Nicol?

    No, Nicol’s got loads of knowledge but it’s deeply enmeshed within his bigotry that he can’t get it out sensibly. Sort of like a_a on an advanced rant but scaled up by 10. 😉

    DanW – Member

    Also worth bearing in mind is that height isn’t everything. Seeing Mike Phillips (thankfully non-aggro) shopping in Cardiff… it wasn’t the height that was in any way intimidating but the fact he is so damn barrel chested.

    True. Mind you, Shane claiming to be 80kg is funny.

    Pigface – Member

    Is Sexton that good??? never seen him do anything that special.
    It’s not just me? Phew. I read Sexton in the same sentence as ‘world-class players’ and wondered if I’d lost what little rugby knowledge I ever had. 😆

    ekul
    Member

    Dan W – you also have to take into consideration the protection the likes of Parra gets (not so much Laidlaw) from the French pack. It negates the need to be particularly big. However, on the wings/fullback or even at 10 there is much greater exposure to the bigger boys so to speak. An example of this would be Courtney Lawes tackle on Parra a while back that dislocated his shoulder. Although that was a hell of a hit it does make you wonder whether a bigger built player such as Genia would have suffered the same injury?

    Like I said though it is affecting the amateur game and its starting to become less about the game on Saturday but also about the amount of time they spend in the gym of a week which I think is a shame as its a huge barrier to entry.

    toys19
    Member

    True. Mind you, Shane claiming to be 80kg is funny.

    well I am 90kg and shorter than him, muscle weighs more than fat, he is more bulky these days. Having seen him in the flesh I believe it.

    Hopefully, due to the lack of suntan in this pic, aa will be able to stop himself from letting the swimmers go..

    DanW
    Member

    Some info from the team announcement:

    Dan Lydiate is injured

    Anyone know anything about this?

    Gatland: “At 10 the plan was to play one in the first game and one in the second. We will look at Hook next week and then make a decision on the Australia game.

    “Rhodri has been training really well. We have been impressed with him. Scott Andrews is injured so again its a chance for a youngster.
    Hook might start a game 😯 Scarlets main tight-head is on the bench for Wales and their third choice loose head is starting on tight head 😯

    Gatland: “We don’t want to inhibit them. When Rhys Priestland ran the ball from behind his own line that was really exciting. We want the players to express themselves.”

    Step in the right direction which is good.

    Gatland: “Giving players experience for the World Cup is important, so this is our chance to give some players on the edge some experience.”

    Seems fair enough although the team does look odd on first viewing!

    Edit: also talk of Priestland to Clermont or Glos????

    muscle weighs more than fat

    No! Muscle is denser than fat. Expecting Shane to be 80kg, especially for most of his playing days not just post- retirement bulk up, is highly unlikely. As I said, an ex-team mate laughed out loud seeing 80kg quoted and I think they are far better placed than us to judge

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    toys19 – Member

    Hopefully, due to the lack of suntan in this pic, aa will be able to stop himself from letting the swimmers go..

    Which one are you?

    🙂

    edit: which one is you? Of the two of them…. I can’t make that 4 word question sound right! More coffee needed.

    toys19
    Member

    I am both of them.

    Muscle is denser than fat

    Indeed which means for the same volume, it is an actual scientific fact that muscle weighs more than fat, which was was my implication.

    Anyway I am happy to believe it. 80kg is only 12.5 stone.

    Lydiate has an ankle injury, he always plays with heavily strapped ankles.
    Hook will start with the other canon fodder v tonga… good luck mate!
    I am presuming Samson Lee isnt starting due to his lack of fitness, Gatwards demand fitness from players first and foremost.. Lee is a tub of lard. Hope to see him get a half though… surprised James wasnt the one asked to switch sides

    BlindMelon
    Member

    Ire team to play the crims

    Ireland: R Kearney; T Bowe, B O’Driscoll, L Marshall, F McFadden; J Sexton, E Reddan; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D Toner, P O’Connell; P O’Mahony, S O’Brien, J Heaslip.

    Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, S Archer, M McCarthy, K McLaughlin, C Murray, I Madigan, R Henshaw.

    DD will love the Lions scrumhalf being dropped for D4’s finest 🙂 At least that crap flyhalf Sexton has made the team, phew!

    Premier Icon IdleJon
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    toys19 – Member

    I am both of them.

    Muscle is denser than fat

    Indeed which means for the same volume, it is an actual scientific fact that muscle weighs more than fat, which was was my implication.

    Anyway I am happy to believe it. 80kg is only 12.5 stone.

    You’re absolutely right. I think my brain needs a nap! 🙄 (In my addled head I translated 80kg to somewhere near Adam Jones weight..)

    DanW
    Member

    Hadn’t considered the cannon fodder aspect of Hook starting against Tonga 😕 Poor guy!

    Is Ryan Bevington in the mix for Wales or injured at the moment? He seemed to be coming on nicely along with Paul James…

    Just noticed… is Shane wearing Non’s shorts? Size womens small perhaps? 😀

    Premier Icon IdleJon
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    BlindMelon – Member
    At least that crap flyhalf Sexton has made the team, phew!

    Don’t recall anyone saying he was crap, just a bit premature calling him world-class.

    Pigface
    Member

    Don’t recall anyone saying he was crap, just a bit premature calling him world-class.

    +1

    toys19
    Member

    We all know BMI is bollocks, and it is common for muscly people to be considered obese, so according to the BHF Shane is just in the obese range.
    Given the level of bulking up he did towards the latter half of his int career I can’t see how anyone can say 80kg is out range of a fit powerful rugby player of his stature.

    duckman
    Member

    Ha ha,according to that, the upper ideal weight for my height is 14.5 stone. I don’t recall being less than 15 after the age of 15 😀 when I pushed the boat out trying to get a sustained run in 1xv championship rugby I was fit as a butchers dog and 17 stone.

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