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Meet the 'super-sized' 1000kg plus pack Racing could unleash against Leinster

By Ian Cameron
Tongan prop Ben Tameifuna. Photo / Getty Images

When it comes to forward packs, the Top14 increasingly don’t do small.

Toulouse and latterly LaRochelle have taken the concept of bigger is better to an extreme, and Racing 92 have in recent seasons followed suit. With the league largely centred around the mauling game, there is some logic to the approach.

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The evolution of professional rugby has of course seen an increase player sizes across the board, with an average international pack generally weighing in at over 900kg or 112.5kg a man. During this year’s Natwest Six Nations England, for example, regularly weighed in at 918kg or over and – in fact – Tier 1 international packs under 900kg are becoming more scarce.

The Top14 however is a different kettle of fish.

A theoretical pack constituted from Racing’s heavyweight stable of forwards would make your average International pack look more akin to a schoolboy team. With this in mind with a combined pack weight of 1004kg, the average man in our “Frankenstein’ Racing pack would tip the scales at 125.5kg (19 stone 11Ibs/276Ibs).

This weekend the Parisians take on the toast of the PRO14 and tournament favourites Leinster, a team that dominated the Scarlets around the breakdown with ruthless, bullying pick and goes. The Leinster pack that played that day weighed 897kg.

Of course this is a paper exercise, and this selection will not be picked by headcoach Laurent Labit, but all the same, an impressive prospect none-the-less.

Continue reading below…

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1 Census Johnston
6′ 2.5″, 135kg

While he more often lines out at tighthead, the Samoan veteran is equally adept at loosehead where he has played for both Samoa and Toulouse. The 37-year-old previously weighed in at 140kg but has spent the latter part of his career in the mid 130s.

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2 Wayne Ole Avei
5′ 10″, 115kg

The Wellington born Ole Avei has 34 caps for Samoa and comes to Racing via UBB.

3 Ben Tameifuna
6′, 134kg

‘Big Ben’ Tameifuna is listed at 134kg, but going on his current physique that might be a little shy of his real weight. In off season the Tongan has been as high as 149kg, and indeed weighed in at 148kg for the ‘Fight for Life’ charity boxing event in which he fought Willie Mason.

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Ben Tameifuna

4 Patrico Albacete 122kg
6’7″, 122kg

The 37-year-old may be in the Autumn of his career and playing less rugby but the Argentinian still boasts a solid 122kg of mass on his 6’7 frame.

5 Edwin Maka
6’5″, 147kg

One of the heaviest professional rugby players on the planet, like Johnson, Maka made his way to Racing from Toulouse, who fielded some massive packs under Guy Noves. Very hard to stop near the line.

6 Bernard Le Roux
6’5″, 112kg

The South African born French international is a relative lightweight in this pack at a modest 17 stone 9 pounds.

7 Boris Palu
6’4″, 112kg

With an impressive 93% tackle completion rate in 2018, Palu tips the scales at 112kg.

8 So’otala Fa’aso’o
6’5″, 127kg

Just 23-year-old, the former Samoa U20s backrow came to Racing via Counties Manukau and is already wreaking havoc in the Top14, barging past four defenders for a magnificant try just this weekend.

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finn 9 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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