Do I have to be big to play rugby?

Do I have to be big to play rugby?

The Myth of Size in Rugby

Ever heard the phrase, "Size doesn’t matter"? Well, in rugby, that might just be true. It's a thought that frequently haunts my mind as I remember being a young lad, barely taller than the rugby ball itself, wanting to play this incredible sport. I felt like a kangaroo surrounded by wallabies, ironically being from Australia, feeling dwarfed by my peers who were gearing up to play rugby. I wondered, "Do I have to be big to play rugby?". The quick answer is 'No', and let me share with you why.

Dumbbells Aren't the Only Weights in the Game

In rugby, as in life, it's not always the largest mammals that pack the biggest punches. Sure, size can be advantageous in certain positions, but let's not forget that rugby is a game of strategy and skill as well. Even in the nooks and crannies of the scrum, a smaller player with better technique can often outwit a much larger opponent. This brings me to my first point, skill outweighs size in rugby. I remember a match in my youth where a friend, small but agile like a river otter, managed to dart around giants, not by brute force but by nimble footwork and quick wits. Let's not mistake the pitch for a gym; rugby is not a vanity show of muscles but a brilliant game of strategy and tactics.

Size Can be Deceiving

Remember David and Goliath? Well, rugby has its own stories packed with such metaphoric examples. A wise man, who also happened to be my rugby coach, once told me, "Rugby is a sport where everyone gets a chance on the field, regardless of their size or stature." This couldn't be more accurate. In one memorable game, we played against a team that had a player who was of monstrous size. The audience gasped, and players girded themselves in anticipation. However, as the game progressed, our nimble fullback, who could easily fit inside the larger player's rugby shorts, ran circles around him. So, let me assure you, size can often be deceiving.

Understanding Positions and Roles

Rugby is a complex game with varied positions, each requiring different skills. The brawn isn't the only attribute necessary here, as speed, agility, skill and a clever mind are just as valuable, if not more. Scrum-half or fly-half is a position often associated with smaller players due to the need for quick decisions and agile movements. Kickers might not be the largest boys on the field, but they indeed are the game-changers with their precise boot. So understanding the positions and your strengths can help you flourish in this game.

Creepy Crawlies and Rugby: Dichotomies or Similarities?

Just like the Echidna, one of Australia's smallest mammals, being among the most resilient, you may just find yourself a place in this sport that celebrates and nurtains the nature of diversity and inclusivity. To draw another parallel from nature, consider the ant, perhaps the most laborious creature, known for lifting up to fifty times their weight. Underestimating your opponents based on size in rugby can be as foolish as scoffing at tiny ants. Physical size may benefit in some situations, but courage, determination, skill, and teamwork often determine the outcome of a game.

Height and Rugby: Do They Really Go Hand in Hand?

The common perception of Rugby is a game of giants, upheld by pictures of towering players like Eben Etzebeth or Brodie Retallick. However, the great Shane Williams was no giant, standing at 5'7", but was named the IRB International Player of the Year in 2008. If you look at Australian rugby legend George Gregan, he's not exactly a skyscraper, standing at only 5'8". These athletes prove that you don't need to have a towering presence to make an impact in rugby.

Size Isn't Everything, Heart Is

In conclusion, while physical size can be advantageous in certain aspects of rugby - mainly in rucks, mauls, scrums and line outs- it is neither a necessity nor a stand-alone factor to determine a player's effectiveness on the field. What really matters is your skill, your heart, your desire to improve and keep pushing forward, and above all, your love for the game. So, asking whether you need to have size to play rugby, the answer is a resounding no! Rugby is a game that can be played by everyone and every body type, from the lean outrunners to the hulky forward lines, and it’s this diversity that makes rugby so much more interesting and inclusive.

So, don't let height or weight hold you back from giving rugby a shot. Remember, it's not the size of the player in the game, but the size of the game in the player!