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'He probably squats more than me and I bench more than him.'

By Ian Cameron
Cian Healy and Andrew Porter

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“He probably squats more than me and I bench more than him – call it even.”


That was Cian Healy’s response when asked who could lift more, himself or fellow Ireland prop Andrew Porter.

Porter’s prodigious gym strength – and Healy’s before him – have been the talk of Irish rugby circles for years. The numbers they have been putting up would look more at home within the powerlifting community than in ranks of a field sport.

Exactly how much rugby players lift is generally subject to more than a smidge of conjecture and buckets loads of rumour. For the most part, the best anyone can go on is taking them at their word.

It is understood is that Healy’s holds the bench press record in the current Ireland camp. As fellow loosehead David Kilcoyne’s bench press PB is 187.5kg, we can infer that Healy likely benches at least 190kg.

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In fact Healy told in 2015 that he benched 190kg and squats 300kg. Being that that figure was given four years ago, he could well have bested it since.


Meanwhile, multiple sources have Porter squatting 350kg, or nearly three times his own bodyweight; a figure that tallies with Healy’s claim that Porter squats more than him.

While these figures are impressive in their own right, bench presses approaching or even exceeding 200kg are become more or less the norm in professional rugby union.

England’s Andrew Sheridan famously had a PB of 225kg on the bench, while Samoan backrow Alfie To’oala benched 210kg at London Welsh – a figure equalled by Sale Sharks prop Will Griff John. A mention should also go to former Wallabies winger Alistair Murdoch, who benched 230.5kg, albeit after he retired from the game.

Porter’s reputed squat PB of 350kg – however – would be an outlier even in the world of heavy lifting frontrow forwards.


Meanwhile, Healy has the small matter of the All Blacks in a World Cup quarter-final to think about.

“Do-or-die game. I think everyone understands that and knows the position we are in and the opportunity of what we have to do. It is not a case of looking to get people to buy-in.

“Everyone wants in. Everyone is trying to get in. That’s going to cause big challenges for the coaches, to pick that team, because everyone has put their hand up. Everyone wants to be involved.”

One imagines bench pressing records are the last thing on this loosehead’s mind.

Press conference with Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby in Tokyo ahead of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand

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