He’s just not big enough.
How many times have we heard that in rugby? From schools and club rugby, all the way up to provincial and international, the age old ‘he’s just not big enough’ has tarnished our game. A certain CJ Stander was once told he was too small to play international rugby and we all know how that went…
Recent cases include Munster academy prop Ben Betts who was apparently told he was too small to make it. Former England front row, Richard Cockerill seems to think otherwise and has given the young tighthead an opportunity with the Leicester academy.
The player’s over the years that seemed to give into that pressure have suffered. We can look back at Jerry Flannery, who’s career was destroyed by injury and to present day with Cian Healy. Players who are clearly carrying too much muscle mass, that is intern affecting their bodies and careers.
Keith Earls is another example of someone who has had a difficult time with injuries for the best part of his career. In a telling interview with the Irish Examiner today he has revealed the pressure of trying to keep his weight at a certain level caused these injuries.
“It took me up to last year to find my ideal weight, find what food agrees with me, constantly trying to be 95kg, but my natural weight now is 86-88kg. I think that’s why I kept breaking down, trying to put on weight, I was too heavy and my body wasn’t able to carry it.
Hopefully more cases such as Earls’ will surface and the game will finally realise that it’s not all about size.