Jacob Stockdale comments about finding the right weight will ring true with so many
"When you're young and you come out of school, you're maybe thinking bigger is better."
As many players - amateur and professional - would attest to, finding the right weight to suit your game can be a struggle. A learning process. Trial and error.
For Conor Murray, it took him a couple of years, as a pro, to find weight that he was happiest with playing at. "It was the weight I felt I could be most effective at and play my best rugby at," he said. "That does take a bit of time and it is another area you have to figure out as an individual."
At the beginning of the 2017/18 season, Stockdale spoke to us about his first footsteps in the professional game and building on his fast start for Ulster and Ireland. He most certainly did, setting a Six Nations tryscoring record as Ireland won a Grand Slam and tying Tommy Bowe's record for most tries (20 for province and country) in a season.
During that chat, the Lurgan native spoke about bulking up too much when he first came into the Ulster academy:
"In my first year out of school, I put on about 14 or 15 kilos [approximately two stone]. So I went from 93 kilos to about 107 and I was far too heavy at that point. I had to strip back a wee bit."
We had the opportunity to sit down with Stockdale again, for Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby, and [from 3:00 below] he spoke very well on his ideal position in the backline and finding the optimal weight to suit his game.
"I was injured for a good bit of my academy career," said Stockdale.
"In my first year there, I had a groin injury and tore ligaments in my ankle. And the S&C (strength and conditioning) staff were like, 'Yeah, let's just see how big we can get you'.
"I went into the academy at 93, 94 kilos, which is heavy enough for a schoolboy and I went to the (Under 20) World Cup that year and I was 107. But I was far too heavy and far too fat!
"So the next year, I trimmed down to around 102 kilos and I've been there or thereabouts since. I'm much more comfortable at that."
"When you're young and you come out of school," he continues, "you're maybe thinking bigger is better. Like, the bigger you are, the more tackles you're going to break. And sometimes maybe that's not the way.
"It's about being more powerful and fitter. In the middle of a game, if I'm at 80% of my maximum fitness, I'm going to do better than someone who may be 10 kilos heavier and at 30% of their max fitness."
Stockdale says the lesson he learned from his early yo-yoing was that being 130 kilos may work for Nemani Nadolo but it was up to himself to find the best weight to do the most damage with.
CHECK OUT THE FULL JACOB STOCKDALE INTERVIEW HERE: