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Does size matter in rugby?
Around the Academy:

From lean and lanky lock forwards to small and speedy scrum-halves, rugby players come in all shapes and sizes.

So, does the position you play depend on the body you were born with?

Does your shape dictate the number on your back?

A keen rugby enthusiast, physiotherapist Dean Conway has worked with some of the country's best sportsmen and women.

We asked him if size matters!

Jonah Lomu broke the mould when he turned up on the wing for New Zealand.

Standing 6' 5" tall and weighing in at 248 lbs (17st 7lbs), Jonah the Giant was of a stature more often associated with forwards.

But that didn't stop him doing his job. He was a devastating attacking player and ran in 37 tries during a Test career spanning eight seasons.

Although he wasn't the stereotype shape for that position, playing him on the wing proved a stroke of genius!

Compare Jonah's stature with that of pocket-sized Wales wing Shane Williams.

At 5' 7" tall and weighing 170lbs (12st 1lb), Shane lacks Jonah's power. But using his trademark sidestep as his main weapon of attack, he has run in an impressive 19 tries in 21 matches for his country.

They are completely different body shapes - but both great wingers.

Which just goes to show how the number you wear on your back doesn't necessarily depend on your size and shape.

Instead, what you find is the key components possessed by all rugby players - such as speed, strength, stamina and skill - have different priorities depending on which position you play.

Since rugby became a professional game, the difference in stature between backs and forwards is diminishing.

Players from one through to 15 are realising their body is their bread and butter.

Whatever their weight or height, what international rugby players have in common these days is they are all superfit and well-conditioned.

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Sizing up
It's in the genes
Horses for courses

Tall tales
Former Scotland lock Richard Metcalfe, who won 11 caps between 2000-2002, was over 7ft tall
At 6'10" tall, former Lions and England lock Martin Bayfield was one of the most recognisable players in world rugby, winning 31 caps between 1991-1996

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