drawings of muscles and exercise apparatus

Sunday, January 15, 2006

"All backs ... over 105kg" - is this the future of rugby?

In a comment on the post titled, "Rugby - the most strength-oriented code of football," Nick Tatalias writes:

all backs should weigh in over 105Kg and loose forwards 115kg and tight forwards at least 125 plus ... always capable of great speed of course.

Now there's a brave call, and one that should spark some controversy. Personally, I'm in broad agreement with him, as I indicate in my reply to Nick's comment. What do others think?


Philip Copeman said...

I would not go as far as to say "All Backs", but certainly 4 or 5 out of the 7.

The reason for the sized increase in the backs is that we need to recognise the specialist fuction of Defense. So if 4 of our backs (SH, FH, C, C) are defense and 3 of them are offensive runners (W, W, FB), then we need 4 heavy backs.

In Offensive runners, Speed and "running ability" are the most important factors. Also these players would play in the 'secondary' in a decent 3 tiered defense (Line, sweepers, secondary.)

Even in the NFL, Running Backs and Safetys can be smaller, but not much smaller than 90kg. However these guys must produce 4.5 type 40 yrd Dash.

Yeah so there you have it - 3 guys in the team under 90Kgs.

Bruce Ross said...

One of the biggest differences that I see, Philip, between rugby and American football is that in rugby every player has to be a competent defender. If I understand it right, running backs in the American game do not have to have any physical presence; what they need is a high pain threshold whenever they are tackled.

By contrast the rugby winger is frequently involved in physical contact so increased body mass confers definite advantages. It is worth remembering that the heaviest back in the modern era, Jonah Lomu, is a winger. Also some of the fastest wingers in world rugby, particularly those of Polynesian background, are by no means small.

I have put a link on this blog to your own website, www.ironrugby.com/. Any site that offers a downloadable 183 page rugby training manual where "many of the ideas ... are based on Gridiron Football" deserves to be publicised.

I will certainly read it with great interest.

Bruce Ross said...

Evidence that rugby is trending in the direction forecast by Nick is provided in my recent post, Building bigger and stronger rugby players - the Sydney University experiment.

It reports a young backline in a non-professional club averaging over 95 kilograms, which is more than that of Australia's national squad or its four Super 14 franchises.

How long before we see 100 kilogram backlines?