Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies turned a few heads recently when photos of him looking absolutely ripped in training did the rounds on social media.
With huge bulging biceps and toned abs, the 32-year-old was even compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger by fans – but he has some way to go to compete with one of his opponents at this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Fiji centre Josua Tuisova is already known across world rugby for being an absolute beast, standing at 5ft 11in and weighing in at 17.5 stone, with one of the most remarkable physiques in professional sport.
Nicknamed ‘The Human Bulldozer’, the new Racing 92 man’s massive upper body is only upstaged by his tree trunk legs, with his enormous calf muscles alone seeing him dubbed a freak of nature. That label is given further justification by the fact the 29-year-old can reach speeds of 21mph with the ball in hand, making him one of the most intimidating ball carriers in the world.
If that wasn’t enough to strike fear into the hearts of Wales players, then a training video published by the Fijian Rugby Union earlier this week ought to do it. The clip shows Tuisova bench pressing in the gym as he prepares for his games against Tonga, Samoa and Japan later, barely breaking a sweat.
However, there once was a time when he was actually banned from doing such a thing, with former team-mate Matt Giteau revealing that he was not allowed to lift weights when the pair were at Toulon.
Despite arriving at the club at around 14 stone (90kg), the utility back was taken out of the gym soon after a single pre-season delivered staggering results.
“Tuisova, they had to stop him doing gym,” the former Wallabies back said on RugbyPass’ ‘Gits & Genia’ podcast recently. “Because he just got too big. He put on 18kg in his six-month pre-season when he first got to Toulon.”
While coaches at the French club obviously did not want him to get too big, Tuisova’s insane weight gain has arguably been the making of him. Tearing it up for Lyon in the Top 14 over the last four seasons, he has proved largely unstoppable, sending defenders flying on his way to scoring 26 tries in 72 appearances.
Wales already know all about the Fijian wrecking ball, of course, having faced him in the pool stages at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, in a game where he opened the scoring after just three minutes.
Tuisova made his presence felt from kick-off that day, as he collected a pass off the back of a scrum inside the Welsh 22 and held off desperate tackles from Josh Adams, Dan Biggar and Josh Navidi to touch down in the corner in an impressive show of strength.
He was back at it again during an Autumn Test in Cardiff two years later. No try this time, but he will be remembered all too well by Ellis Jenkins for a crunching tackle that practically folded the Wales captain that day in two.
When the two sides meet again in Bordeaux on September 10, you would hope Gatland and co. will have thought of a plan on how to stop Tuisova. One thing is for sure, however – it’s not going to be easy.