Does Size Matter In Rugby

The rugby field appears dotted with players of varying builds and sizes. So it becomes natural to wonder whether there is a place for everyone on the pitch. However, rugby players are also known for being big and strong. It is time to do some investigating.

Does size matter in rugby?

Size does matter in rugby. The average professional rugby player is 6ft 1 and weighs 100kg. This is much larger than the average man who is 5ft 10 and weighs around 78kg. If you want to succeed in rugby you need the size to generate enough power to tackle, cleanout and take the ball into contact.

While you will find a variety of sizes on the rugby pitch all the players except the half backs are much larger than the average man. Even the average five eighth is 6ft 0 and has an impressive chiseled physique tipping the scales at 90kg. 

And while the average half back may resemble the average man on the street at 5ft 9 and weighing 82kg they are miles away in terms of muscle mass. The average rugby half back has bulging muscles and is capable of squatting 160kg and bench pressing 130kg with freaks like Will Genia lifting 150kg.

In the forward pack is where size is really important. The average rugby forward weighs 108kg at 6ft 2. This extra weight isn’t just put on through eating a few extra pies or slices of pizza. No, this weight is largely muscle developed through hours slogging away in the gym and sticking to restrictive diets where copious amounts of red meat are consumed.

There is one position on the rugby field which has always been associated with size, prop. Props are enormous men with the average professional nearly breaking the scales at 118kg. The ability of these men to attain this size while still showing so much athleticism on the rugby field is highly impressive.

If you have dreams of playing high level rugby you will have to accept that size is an important part of the game. Now while there isn’t much you can do about your height you can manipulate your body weight through strength and conditioning programs and diets. 

Even if you don’t quite have the height of the average professional if you can attain the correct body weight and the muscle mass required you will give yourself a decent chance of signing a professional contract. 

The key to building your physique and reaching the required size for professional rugby is consistency. You are not going to turn yourself into the hulk overnight. However, if you constantly lift weights and slowly increase your calories month after month after between 3 to 5 years of dedication you will be able to achieve a professional rugby physique.

Can You Play Rugby If You Are Thin?

Being thin is a disadvantage if you are playing rugby. Rugby players need the perfect blend of speed and strength. By being thin you may be faster than many other players but you are going to be a lot weaker. There is a reason the average rugby player is 100kg.

Many athletes think that just because they are naturally thin or have always been slender then that is the way their body will always be. This is not true at all. Athletes tend to have natural frames and body types but through training and following a specific diet you can manipulate your weight.

If you want to succeed at rugby you will have to transform your current slim physique into a Herculean statue. This process can be very enjoyable and is achievable through dedication and hard work. Many aspiring rugby players have started their careers undersized only to turn themselves into hulk like beasts.

How Big Do You Need To Be To Play Rugby?

You need to be big to play rugby, both taller and heavier than the typical man. The average professional rugby player is 6ft 1 and weighs 100kg. The average forward is 6ft 2 and 108kg while the average back is 6ft0 and 92kg.

Rugby is a size game. Rugby players need to be able to generate huge amounts of power and force during the contact phase of the game. When players are tackling, cleaning out, mauling or running into contact to be effective they need to be able display impressive amounts of power. 

If a rugby player can’t generate enough force they will be dominated on the rugby field. For example lets say a small weak 70kg player is trying to tackle a 108kg number 8 who is sprinting towards him. The chances of the 70kg player making that tackle are very low. The 70kg will not be able to generate enough force to contain the rampaging number 8 who will most likely send the smaller player flying backwards.

To compete on the rugby field you need to be big. However, as rugby also requires speed, agility and endurance you can’t be too big to the point where you are too slow and unfit. 

Rugby players need to able jog, run quickly and sprint for the whole 80 minutes of the match. The bigger you are, the harder that is to achieve. Also the heavier you are the slower you are. There is a reason the average Olympic sprinter is 80kg.

How big you need to be to play rugby at a high level is also influenced by your position as different positions have different roles. If we look at the average weight and heights of professional rugby players by position we can see exactly how big you need to be.

  • Prop – 6f 1 – 118kg
  • Hooker – 5ft 11 – 106kg
  • Lock – 6ft 6 – 116kg
  • Blindside Flanker – 6ft2 – 106kg
  • Openside Flanker – 6ft 1 – 104kg
  • Number 8 – 6ft 3 – 108kg
  • Scrum Half – 5ft 9 – 83kg
  • Five Eighth – 6ft 0 – 90kg
  • Inside Centre – 6ft1 – 92kg
  • Outside Centre – 6ft 1 – 92kg
  • Wing – 6ft 0 – 90kg
  • Fullback – 6ft 1 – 92kg

The above size is what you should aim for if you want to play professional rugby. These are averages and players’ sizes do fluctuate however, these figures give you an idea of the typical size needed to compete in rugby at a high level.


In rugby size does matter with the average player standing at 6ft 1 and weighing 100kg. These giants dwarf the average man who is only 5ft 9 and weighs 80kg. To succeed in rugby you need to be very strong and powerful. This is where all that extra weight helps. Players use their hulking to tackle, maul, cleanout and run the ball into contact. 

If you are a thin or undersized rugby player do not despair. You will have to develop your physique but many slender rugby players have successfully transformed their bodies through a combination of strength training and a calorie surplus diet. If you are consistent with your training and diet you will be able to achieve the physique required to play high level rugby within 3 to 5 years.

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