11 Rugby players that are almost definitely taking steroids

11 Rugby players that are almost definitely taking steroids

These Rugby Players Look Jacked

As the IRB Rugby World Cup kicked off in the U.K in 2015 it is clear that since the Union code became professional 20 years ago in August the players look juiced up on steroids.

It is not uncommon to find players tipping the scales at over 300lbs!

Not only are they weighing colossal amounts but their bodies have to endure 80 minutes of constant tackles, rucks, mauls and running.

So they need to be incredibly strong whilst maintaining ‘athleticism’ and in some cases it just all seems too clear and obvious that tipping the scales of hundreds of lbs yet still maintaining a six pack requires a little more than a good nutrition and fitness program.

Now, let me be clear here that I am only speculating about this.

Steroid Suspicions

Drug charges in higher tier rugby are low overall and it is barely ever in the media spotlight, not nearly as much as high or dangerous tackles are speculated about anyway.

What seems to be a little more common are the doping bans in the tiers of rugby just simmering beneath the upper echelon of the elite.

It is debated that because it seems to be so difficult to reach these upper rungs on the ladder, players will do almost anything and risk everything just to get a sniff of Premiership rugby.

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And when there are headlines such as “Rugby Union is the dirtiest sport in the United Kingdom” [1]

and “How many rugby players use steroids? It’s more like how many don’t” …it starts to get you wondering. [2]

To put this into perspective, the current England U18’s squad weigh 2lbs more per man than the English Men’s Squad in 1991.

the u18 england rfu squad is heavier than the mens england squd of 1991

That does pose some serious questions.

Has the body managed to develop so much more over a period of nearly 30 years?

So, without further ado let’s have a look at 11 professional rugby players from around the globe that may well be getting a little too much meat and veg during meal times:

1.  Manu Tuilagi

Manu Tuilagi running with the ball
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Manu is a bit of a unit, look at those quads, his neck and traps. It usually take 3 men to stop him and weighing in at 245lbs and being able to bench press 415lbs for reps I am not surprised!


2. Sonny Bill Williams

sonny bill williams running with the ball
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No list wouldn’t be complete without New Zealander Sonny – an accomplished sportsman.  He has played rugby for both codes and also boxes.  He is 240lbs also has about 6% body fat too!  Just eating clean, bro?

3. James Haskell

james haskell posing topless in a gym or suana
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A Brutus of a man who is an advocate of eating vegetables!  Weighing in at 251lbs and bench pressing 418lbs for reps must mean a shit ton of broccoli!

To be fair to James (his IG is pretty hilarious) he has a popular fitness and training program called the ‘Introduction to Becoming and Remaining Rugby Fit’.

His love of JCB heavy machinery is obviously having some sort of effect considering the mighty tackle he put in against Australian David Pocock.


4.Mathieu Bastareaud

Mathieu Bastareaud charging through the welsh defence
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What can be said about the Frenchman other than big fucking bastard?  He tips the scales at 265lbs and is utterly light on his feet with incredible athleticism.


5. Bill Cavubati

Bill Cavubati doing sprint training
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Bill’s strength and size was MASSIVE in his pomp. Reports of a 462lbs bench press and being 364lbs himself, this is a force to be reckoned with.

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6. Will Skelton

6. Will Skelton towering over other players
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The giant from Down Under is 335lbs, and literally shakes the opposition off of him.


7. Andrew Sheridan

Andrew Sheridan fighting Australian rugby player
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An English Rose with some serious thorns!  He bench presses 469lbs! If you’re wondering, it’s the man with the tape around his head.


8. Sebastien Chabal

Sebastien Chabal looking jacked
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Hairy and muscular, his six pack even bursts through his shirt, I wouldn’t mention the battle of Waterloo to him in a hurry!


9. Jamie Cudmore

Jamie Cudmore breaking tackle
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See the size of those muscles?  See how jacked he is and how lean he is too?  He also weighs 260lbs!

That’s some serious lumberjack work he must be doing in his native Canada. Hmmmm…

Mind you he is a bit of a wild one so I’ll let this drop, okay?


10.  Opeti Fonua

Opeti Fonua knocking a player out
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At a staggering 330lbs this guy is a unit, there’s a great video of him absolutely brutalizing an opposition player putting a guy at 6’6″ and 264lbs on his ass!

That is no easy feat.


11. Pierre Spies

Pierre Spies doing the farmers carry
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Pierre is cut, look at him. He is also veryyyy strong and heavy muscling in at 244lbs and able to perform weighted pull ups with 110lbs hanging beneath him.

Oh, he can run the 100m in a smidge over 10 seconds! 10 fucking seconds!

Your thoughts?

There is no doubt that the modern game of rugby has transformed. It was played by men who had real jobs and then would play on Saturdays in stadiums dotted around the UK and many countries of the former Empire.

Now it is a professional game.

This involves lots of training, measured recovery and nutrition to get the best from the players.

Many people would simply say that this is it. Effective training, nutrition and recuperation has created a new fast and modern game that wasn’t attainable before the 1990’s.

This has created a far more competitive game, however, size is not everything…

In the 2015 Rugby World Cup it was Wales who had the heaviest average squad of players who were knocked out at the quarter final stages by South Africa.

The average player weight for Wales was 233lbs, whereas the World Cup winners were the New Zealand All Blacks who had a player average weight of 211lbs.

This is the average weight per each 31 man squad.

Now, these figures only account for those playing Rugby Union and not Rugby League.

Rugby League is a slightly different game and has been considered ‘professional’ since 1895 when it was formed regarding the payment to players.

Since its formation in Northern England the style of play has evolved to produce a much faster game with less pauses in the game play.

Instead of 15 players per side on the pitch they have 13 players. The average player weight for the National Rugby League Telstra Premiership contest in Australia is 220lbs.

That is the mean player figure across 16 teams with squads of around 30 players.


[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/11859913/Rugby-uncovered-Union-is-the-dirtiest-sport-in-Britain-and-its-doping-problem-is-growing.html

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/26/rugby-steroids-olympic-games-rio

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Ben BA(Hons), PGCert

Ben established this site to be a free resource in 2015. Since then it has gained over half a million visits. He has always been interested in sport and he started playing rugby at the age of 6 represented his town, county and school. Ben also enjoys cycling, has started skiing and is in the Army Reserve representing his Regiment as part of the 150 Regimental Shooting Team. He holds a bachelor's and postgraduate degree in sport exercise & nutrition.
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