Rugby Players Bigger/Stronger Now

Take numbers with a pinch of salt, working with a few elite rugby players, ive know coaches and players enjoy adding a few lbs here and there. Afterall it makes strength coach look awesome.

Thats not to detract from the amazing feats i have seen in the gym.

[quote]Wayland wrote:
Take numbers with a pinch of salt, working with a few elite rugby players, ive know coaches and players enjoy adding a few lbs here and there. Afterall it makes strength coach look awesome.

Thats not to detract from the amazing feats i have seen in the gym.[/quote]

Agreed. A close friend and former training partner is an international tight head he was doing triples on the bench with 150kg right before the RWC which is decent but consider that he is a lean 120kg body weight, kinda put’s the numbers into perspective. Rugby players are strong in their own non comparable way.

The England team used to train at my gym and we had the All Blacks with us for a week in '04. The All Blacks were only here preparing!! for a Babarians game so they weren’t very serious but from what I did see they looked very strong.

Andrew Sheridan is by far the strongest of the English players and I would back up the numbers that were quoted by Ash Jones.

I have seen him bottom up Bench Press 195kg with no arch or belt and bottom up (Anderson) Squat 240kg.

Sheri is one guy whose lifts aren’t exaggerated.


[quote]LA wrote:
darraghoconaill wrote:
LA wrote:

It’s against the rules when taking a kick and line out jumps… in open play (a runner jumping over someone, getting cleaned) I don’t think it is a penalty, but it doesn’t happen much…

i don’t really understand what you are saying, but i can guarantee it is in no situation legal to tackle or make any contact with someone of the opposing team while they are airborne in rugby. be it open play, lineout, ruck, whatever.

OK… what I meant was that I knew that when a player is catching a kick or line out, tackling them while airborne was illegal. But I wasn’t sure that tackling an airborne runner, who jumped for whatever reason, was illegal. [/quote]

you can tackle a ball carrier who has jumped while running because it is illegal to jump as the ball carrier (with the exception of a diving try attempt). you might however be given a technical foul by the referee at his/her discretion (usually due to a devastating hit).

[quote]LA wrote:
GDollars37 wrote:

Jonah Lomu was another, Charlie Casserly scouted him at one point. How many international-caliber rugby players do you think could make it in the NFL? A dozen? Maybe double that?

Physically, in terms of strength and power, many of the high level rugby players would stand a chance.

I think that football skills would be more the limiting factor than physical attributes.

Then there is contact. Rugby contact and football contact are two different things entirely. The helmet/shoulder pads are every bit as much weapons as they are protection. There aren’t as many “woo hits” in rugby, because guys don’t lead with the head. Also, guys don’t get hit while airborne as much in rugby.

The tackling technique, rules and reasons for this between the two sports are completely different.
You would be idiotic to lead with your head while tackling in rugby. And in rugby you must at least attempt to use your arms in the tackle whereas in football you dont have to. Also if someone flies into you in rugby and knocks you down but doesnt hold you, you can get up and keep running.

And you can tackle someone airborne in rugby if they have jumped while already having the ball in their possession. If they are jumping to secure possession you can`t.

Andy Sheridan is something else. It’s a very small % of the population that can bench more than 200kg and he can do this as well as being able to make a huge contribution in carrying the ball and generally getting around the field. I dunno if folk have seen his physique, but there were a few shots during the RWC and he is ripped. Must be under 10% body fat.

a lot depends on the position and the teams ethos

the main two- four positions that can distinctly follow the american ethos are:

-wingers (most can)
-props (depends on loose or tight and team)

basically take london irish for example they have 2 280lbs/ 20st props very bog for the prem. they have a lot of license to trundle around he park rather than make a lot of rucks and runs. but take marcus horan who is only 230lbs. clearly a 50lbs differance in the position. horan is sick in the open, gets around like a mad man. it depends on team philosophy. they will give up a lot in the scrum with horan i dont care how technical he is, how short he is againt a guy 50lbs heavier he is having a hard time. but on average a prop is similar size to full backs id say. to give some weigt comparisions hedgecock of the NY giants is 266lbs or lorenzo neal of the chagers at 255lbs. which is bang in the middle of the upper and lower weights of props. but like i said it depends on whether the team want scrum and line out dominance or to win the breakdown or to have a balance of the two. i.e. heavy props = scrum and linout lighter props= breakdown dominance (as you will have more than just back row there). so clearly you see some players need enormous amount fo explosive strnegth and so can follow nfl workout.

wingers speak for themselves they are much like wr/ safety (i say safet over cb as they are generally bigger than most cb’s). as stated around 200lbs but take the volcano who at 245lbs. so would be a big wr. but generally these giys need speed over endurance and so can follow the explosive style of training some nfl players will follow.

take inside centres these guys are power runners and so can afford to drop some stamina for increased power. but again team philopshy.

2nd row and back row fowards are tottally and utterly uncomparable to anything in american football. yes MJ has player american football but take into account the dudes hands and frame over athletic ability. plus think of his name and the hype rather than he is he is the same athletic mould as vernon davis!

fly haves/ full back/ outside centrs/ scrum are such skill positions that athletism comes second albiet important. yes robinson could have played in the nfl and probably as a rb. or wilkinson and a safety or kicker. but where you play kyran bracken or peter stringer dont really see a place for them on an nfl pitch.

plus bear in mind in rugby we play both ways so have to have a double skill set plus whatever positional skills we need.

Article on Sheridan:

Here’s a video of the NZ prop Box Squatting 220kg x 3 plus the rest of the All Blacks working out. I admire NFL players greatly but I feel for all round athletic abilty rugby players are way ahead. Rugby League is the more intense of the codes as well with less stops in play, much more tiring!!

I can’t think of too many rugby players who are anywhere near as explosive as a guy like Devin Hester Devin Hester - YouTube


I watched this clip and you are right, this guy truely is dynamite. But I couldn’t help but thinking that he wouldn’t get half as far if it wasn’t for blocking in the NFL which makes it a lot easier to go on amazing rampages when compared to Union.

For example if crossing (blocking) was allowed in rugby then you would see a lot more explosive runners on the international scene. People like Dan Carter and Topsi Ojo are guys in good form at the minute who can break through the ranks aswell as Devin in my oppinion.

But this rule aside they are two different sports with their own merits which are both fantastic. Only bone to pick with the NFL is all the adverts…

I’m often surprised at the surprising variance amongst athletes - who excel - in Rugby Union.

There is a position for all sorts of athletes and a team can completely change their game to suit their own players or disadvantage their opposition.

That is the attribute that makes it such a great game of strategy. The coach becomes vitally important, and the line-up won’t always include the “best of the best”, but whoever the coach thinks will fit in with his strategy.

That said, I think the US could turn out some spectacular rugby players from within the NFL ranks if there were incentive to do it.

Did I just say I was surprised at the surprising?

I’m embarrassed about my embarrassing redundancy.

I may be wrong but I feel like strength is not a huge interest in the Commonwealth sporting circles. I can’t think of many international blasters coming from there.

I don’t want to speak for the entire Commonwealth, but we do tend to appreciate speed and athleticism more (whatever that means!)

I think there is still definitely a hang-over from the “getting big will slow you down” school of thought. It’s very common amongst Australian Rules players that I know.

Mind you, I’m stunned that rugby players aren’t considered “strong”. Maybe they just don’t BS about their lifts? The general public (here) wouldn’t relate to it if they did I guess.

I’m guessing half of the test rugby players from Australia, NZ and South Africa would be able to brag some impressive lifts. Similarly, Australian Rugby League players would also be able to boast some impressive lifts.

But their ability in the weight-room doesn’t prove much on the field, and that is what we’re looking at. Larkham suffered viral meningitis AND he was an ecto, but still one of the greatest players ever.

Americans seem to know stuff like how much so-and-so can bench, or what his 40yd time is. Our high schools usually don’t even have weight training equipment, most kids wouldn’t know how much they could bench.

Just a few thoughts: (background: im an experienced rugby coach with a history of working with pro players (no: anthony roberts))

The big difference in the athletic ability and strength is a combination of the demands of the sports and playing history.

Most rugby players start around 13, maybe younger. That means for at least 4-9 months per year they are partaking in extremely catabolic sport and are beat up 3 times per week. There is a heavy focus on endurance in younger players.

Once an athlete is identified as good, they are drug tested regularly, so probably 16+.

I know in Australia (can’t speak for other big rugby countries, but I imagine they are the same) the s&c philosophy is different that the states, mainly due to shortage of athletes. This is one of the first things they teach when going for an Australia S&C certification.

On the other side of the coin, gridiron players play a much shorter season. The average play is under 4 s, so high level conditioning isn’t all that important.

There is a strength training culture in the sport, unlike rugby. Some test rugby players don’t start weight training until they make a professional team eg 18-20 years old.

Kids train because they can benefit from playing gridiron, scholarships etc Maybe 5-20 rugby players from every year get anything from the sport ie go pro (In s14 nations at least).

The biggest thing holding rugby athletes back is the role of physios and other who limit their training. League players are far more aerobically based, but are STRONGER than union players. But they are not babysat and have their hands hold their whole career like rugby guys.

I can say that there simply hasn’t been a weightroom culture in Australia compared to the US.
There aren’t many schools in Australia that have a gym. Of those that do, there are only a few elite schools that provide a strength program for athletes to do, even on their own time.

When you’re competing in rugby you don’t get told you need to get bigger, or stronger by hitting the gym until you’re at a level that 99% of players don’t reach. This normally happens after high school.
If you don’t have people hitting the gym earlier in their playing career, and don’t have them being given clear direction in strength training until they’re already at an elite level, then of course they won’t be as big or strong as they could be.

New Zealand is a bit more progressive than Australia in this regard, in that they’ll often have their teams in the weightroom in high school, and I don’t know how it is in South Africa.

I personally don’t think that Rugby players can reach the size and strength of NFL players due to the demands of the sport, but they can definately narrow the gap a hell of a lot more. I look forward to the day when a 200+kg squat and a 250kg deadlift isn’t noteworthy in our goddamn national team.

It’s just a part of the game becoming more professional, and until we accept the weightroom being as much a part of training as passing the ball and skills work, we’ll still be playing catchup. We’re only now starting to see the results of our baby steps in that direction.

I can tell you for sure that league players are not stronger than union players

Yeah, it has to be remembered that rugby union has only been a professional sport for just over a decade.

I also liked the point about scholarships etc for playing NFL being such an important part of American culture.

My high school actually did have a York home gym briefly, but get this - it was on loan from one of the teachers, an American who had coached college basketball back home.

[quote]jbishop wrote:
I can tell you for sure that league players are not stronger than union players

Also, I guess it depends on who is playing which code on the day, too!

I found how much someone benches or generally performs in the weight room does not always directly correlate to their on field ability.
The school boy Australia A full back (which is all the rugby playing schools in oz combined 2nd string team) is from my school, and he pretty much sucks at the gym, and never trains. Yet he has an awesome fend that has made him the 2nd best school boy half back in the country, and is known for his awesome strength, yet he only bench’s 70 kilos.

Maybe its because he doesn’t really try his hardest at the gym, but I know that my fend (and I’m assuming fending uses many of the same muscle’s as bench press does) is’nt nearly as strong as his, and I bench 135 kg.