During their 44-8 demolition of France in the 2019 Six Nations, England kicked out of hand no fewer than
It wasn’t just some random out of options aimless thing either. It was a tactically calculated display. Part of the reason behind this strategy is that top tier rugby attacks are increasingly having to face well-organised defensive lines of oversized players. There’s precious little space immediately in front of ball-carrier from any given phase nowadays but acres of it behind the often impenetrable wall.
Every year pro rugby players get a little bigger without sacrificing pace or power during the 50-80 minutes they spend on the park. It’s always been a rough contact sport but it has also maintained a good balance between specialisation and general ability. In so doing it has catered for players of all shapes and sizes.
Has pro rugby reached or is it fast approaching the point where the players are just too big and the diversity / character of the sport is in danger being reduced to something very monotonous (like Rugby League)?
A way to overcome this might be the introduction of weight classes similar to what’s found in tug of war teams.
What would it mean to the sport if the pack of eight forwards had to weigh in at under 850 kgs as a combined total while the seven backs were only allowed a joined weight of 600 kg altogether?
Those sort of restrictions would still allow for some pretty big players to continue to ply their trade. However it could have far reaching effects for the old school ball-in-hand attractiveness of the game. Otherwise kicking out of hand is destined to become the future of rugby attacking play – Aussie Rules step aside!
If you thought 850kg was big what about France’s massive test pack against Wales in 2019 which inched international rugby forward packs closer to eventually tipping the scales at ONE TON.
|FRANCE TEST FORWARD’S NAME||H||W|
|AVERAGE HEIGHT / TOTAL WEIGHT||193cm||978kg|
Injuries are part and parcel of rugby. Every player understands the potential consequences of putting their bodies on the line. The collisions of bigger and bigger sized players can only point to one trend: more injuries, longer layoffs and probably shorter careers.
Here’s a link the a great article that inspired this blog. https://www.rugbypass.com/news/one-of-the-games-greatest-minds-believes-rugby-needs-radical-change?fbclid=IwAR0wF2VLbly_A7X2Aqi-Y42yqYuRt3o1U1uwkEQYbaMMsmAv4Q2Db3JkraE