Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town - As if the task of just beating the Waratahs in a make-or-break Super Rugby clash in Sydney on Saturday isn’t enough, the Stormers face another potential obstacle in the shape of a freakishly-proportioned lock for the home side.
The Waratahs, fresh off their 72-10 thumping of the Kings in Port Elizabeth, on Thursday named an unchanged starting XV for the meeting with the under-pressure Capetonians, but their bench is infused by the novel presence of a certain Will Skelton.
Skelton, 21, will make his debut in the competition if he gets onto the field at Allianz Stadium, but simultaneously also become one the heaviest players in Super Rugby history: he tips the scales at a formidable 135kg, and also 2.03 metres.
According to the Waratahs’s official website
, Skelton is set to become the second heaviest presence in the competition after burly Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna (137kg).
It could not be established at the time of writing whether either man has previously been eclipsed in weight in the competition – at one stage the heaviest customer was thought to be former Reds and Rebels front-row icon Rodney “Rodzilla” Blake, at 132kg.
The Highlanders’ loosehead prop Jamie Mackintosh tips the scales at 128kg, whilst the heaviest active current South African player listed in profiles appears to be versatile Cheetahs and Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen at 127kg.
Last year’s IRB Junior World Championship-winning second-rower Paul Willemse, who is injured and ruled out of the Bulls’ present plans, is also down as 127kg, according to ESPN scrum
, although some sites have him just as beefy as Skelton at 135kg.
One consolation for the Stormers is that if Skelton does get on the park, one of the touring team’s players will look down on him, the uniquely tall Andries Bekker from his 2.08m - although he will give away some 13kg in bulk as the South African is around 122kg.*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing