Hey Wallabies! Beef up and win

French researchers analysed the body shape, age and experience of almost 2700 forwards and backs who played in Rugby World Cup matches from 1987 to 2007.

The data show rugby players selected for international teams grew in size over the two-decade period, and those teams with beefier forwards and taller backs had the most success.

Forwards and backs in high performing or winning teams weighed around two kilograms more than their less successful opponents.

Weight progressively increased for forwards and backs, while height progressively increased for backs between each World Cup series.

Rugby over the period was “a sport where heavy players become increasingly important”, the authors said.

“Although performance in rugby is complex and multi-factorial, simple factors such as mass and height are discriminatory in the armament race,” they said.

“In fact, teams with heavier