By Luke Kirkness, NZ Herald

When it comes to tipping the scales, no one in World Rugby comes close to Ben Tameifuna.

The Tongan tighthead prop, known for his barnstorming runs and back-breaking tackles, listed a whopping 153kg playing weight in the Rugby World Cup statistics.

Some distance behind Tameifuna in second was former Sacred Heart College student and current Wallabies prop, Taniela “Tongan Thor” Tupou at 135kg.

And while Tonga was still searching for its first 2019 Rugby World Cup win, they could take pride in two other victories.

The small island nation, ranked 16th in the world, boasts the heaviest player and heaviest forward pack at the World Cup.

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The average weight for a member in Tonga’s forward pack was 118.53kg, according to Weight Watchers Australia which crunched the numbers.

Uruguay had the lightest World Cup forward pack, who were on average 13kg lighter than the Tongan’s at 104.81kg.

New Zealand’s average was 113.76kg and the overall World Cup average forward weighing 112kg.

The body mass index for many of the forwards in Japan would be considered unhealthy, according to body mass index calculations.

However, BMI’s weren’t always accurate when it came to professional athletes.

It didn’t distinguish between fat and muscle, so those with large muscle masses often had high BMI, even though their body fat was in the healthy range.

Those with weight around their waist and healthy BMIs at the highest risk of death from any cause, compared to those with higher BMIs and weight elsewhere.

“If I had to choose between making sure my BMI or my waist-to-hip ratio are within the ‘normal’ range, I would go for the latter,” University of Sydney associate professor Emmanuel Stamatkis said.

“A high waist-to-hip ratio most likely means high amounts of abdominal fat, and we know this comes with quite serious health risks.”

New Zealand’s heaviest player was Ofa Tu’ungafasi at 129kg, closely followed by Atu Moli at 127kg and Angus Ta’avo at 124kg.

Ardie Savea punches well above his weight of 95kg, the lightest member of New Zealand’s forward pack and the only one under 100kg.

But the lightest forward in the competition was Kwagga Smith, from South Africa, who weighed a relatively small 80kg.

This article first appeared on and was republished with permission.

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