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Champions Cup final packs may be the heaviest ever

By Ian Cameron
Will Skelton and Ronan O'Gara (EPCR)

When it comes to heavyweight finals, it doesn’t come much heavier than Toulouse versus La Rochelle – literally.


Between the sides there are two players that tip the scales at 140kg plus, La Rochelle’s Uini Atonio at 145kg and Will Skelton at 140kg. Skelton is listed on the LAR website at 125kg but told RugbyPass recently that he is playing at around 140kg, having been as high as 157kg earlier in his career. In total, there are three 130kg plus forwards in both starting packs, when you include former All Black Charlie Faumuina, who is listed at 130kg.

Yet while the yellow and blacks boast the heaviest individual players, it’s Toulouse that have the heavier pack.  The average weight of a starting Toulouse forward is 118kg (18 stone 8Ibs) a man, or 944kg, according to their official club weights. By way of a yardstick, that’s a good 30kg heavier than the average international pack.

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La Rochelle average out at 117.25kg (18 stone 6Ibs) a man, with a total pack weight of 938kg.

Stade Toulousain also has considerably more bulk to call up from the bench with 125kg David Ainu’u, 130kg Joe Tekori and 123 kg Clement Castets to summon to the fray.

Both sides, as is broadly the tradition in the Top 14, have comparatively modestly sized backs in comparison with the Gallagher Premiership, Super Rugby or the PRO14. Levani Botia tops out La Rochelle’s back division at 103kg, while Toulouse’s heaviest back is former Connacht centre Pita Ahki at 96kg.

TOULOUSE: 15. Maxime Medard; 14. Cheslin Kolbe, 13. Juan Cruz MallIa, 12. Pita Ahki, 11. Matthis Lebel; 10. Romain Ntamack, 9. Antoine Dupont (capt); 1. Cyril Baille, 2. Peato Mauvaka, 3. Charlie Faumuina, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Richie Arnold, 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 7. Francois Cros, 8. Jerome Kaino. Reps: 16. Guillaume Marchand, 17. Clement Castets, 18. David Ainu’u, 19. Joe Tekori, 20. Thibaud Flament, 21. Selevasio Tolofua, 22. Baptiste Germain, 23. Thomas Ramos.

LA ROCHELLE: 15. Brice Dulin; 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12. Levani Botia, 11. Raymond Rhule; 10. Ihaia West, 9. Tawera Kerr Barlow; 1. Dany Priso, 2. Pierre Bourgarit, 3. Uini Atonio, 4. Romain Sazy (capt), 5. Will Skelton, 6. Gregory Alldritt, 7. Kevin Gourdon, 8. Victor Vito. Reps: Reps: 16. Facundo Bosch, 17. Reda Wardi, 18. Arthur Joly, 19. Thomas Lavault, 20. Wiaan Liebenberg, 21. Paul Boudehent, 22. Arthur Retiere, 23. Jules Plisson.


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