The Fattest Players in Rugby History

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistOctober 16, 2013

The Fattest Players in Rugby History

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    Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

    These days, the modern rugby player has evolved far beyond the stereotype it used to be as the demands for the perfect athlete have produced a more agile, leaner build from numbers one to 15.

    Even the front row, the area most famed for having those most rotund in its midst, has become home of a much sleeker-looking inhabitant over the last few decades.

    However, not all abide by the rising trend of metamorphosis and we still get our fair share of, shall we say, jollier players.

    Down the years, rugby has certainly had its share of fatter players to support the stereotype of it being not as athletic as other disciplines, the biggest of which are recorded ahead.

    Looking deeper than simply sheer weight or size—as muscle can often account for a lot of that—here we’re aiming for the true fatties, those whose fat-to-muscle ratio is not what it should be, either due to position or simply health concerns.

    If you feel we've missed any giants out or disagree with the rankings, let us know in the forum below.

Honourable Mention: Andy Goode

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    Matt Cardy/Getty Images

    Andy Goode has to get a quick mention here, merely for never adapting to the rule that a fly-half is meant to be among the slickest and sleekest of rugby positions.

    Though he'll have undoubtedly come up against adversity in his long career due to his size, the glove-donning Adonis has nevertheless remained in the top tiers of European rugby, never truly allowing his bigger-than-average gut get in his way.

    At least not figuratively, anyway.

5. Joeli Veitayaki

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    Darren England/Getty Images

    In his prime, Joeli Veitayaki weighed in at a monstrous 130kg—or just over 20 stone for those still using the Imperial system.

    The Fijian earned just shy of 50 caps for his country but was more renowned for his stints at Northland and also Ulster.

    However big he may have been, though, Veitayaki was a testament to the old adage that size isn't everything.

    No prizes for guessing just which of the three Fijians is Veitayaki in the picture above. 

4. Mathieu Bastareaud

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    While he perhaps isn't of the same sheer mass as others included on this list, Mathieu Bastareaud is given special dispensation for being as fat as he is while playing in a position that calls for something a little less conspicuous.

    Admittedly, the French centre will have a considerable amount of muscle mass on his frame, too—it just so happens that there's a decent layer of something more lamentable on top of it.

    Regardless, Bastareaud goes about his business in direct fashion, trucking opponents on a very regular basis with incredible efficiency.

    So odd is the back's shape for his role that he's even lined up as a No. 8 on occasion.

3. Richard Bands

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    As the video above will testify, the fatter stars in rugby can also be some of its fastest as Richard Bands soars toward the try line against New Zealand to record one of the best front-row scores of all time.

    Despite his size, the South African regularly showed a tendency to get about the pitch with the guile of someone smaller.

    Nevertheless, Bands goes down as a sizeable lump, weighing in at 120kg according to the official South African rugby website.

2. Fosi Pala’amo

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    David Rogers/Getty Images

    There's big and then there's simply too big. There's a very good chance that Fosi Pala’amo was the latter. 

    Having claimed a handful of appearances for his national team, the Samoan made a cameo at the 2007 Rugby World Cup despite having been called into the squad late without playing any warm-up games.

    At his heaviest, the former Leinster prop would cause tremors with his 145kg frame and is likely to remain one of the biggest players ever to grace the international stage.

1. Bill Cavubati

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    If there's any boot you'd want coming down on you less in a ruck, it's that of Bill Cavubati.

    Widely regarded as the heaviest player ever to have featured at international level, the former Wellington and Hurricanes prop was a marvel to behold, often eclipsing even the biggest of opponents lined up against him.

    The Fijian rugby union states on its website that Cavubati weighed 160kg at his heaviest, almost two times the average weight of today's player, although other reports claim he was closer to 165kg.

    Considering the player was only 6'2", not the biggest of players by any standards, that's a lot of meat to be lugging around the pitch.