Revolutionary 148kg fullback set to change rugby as we know it
As Leigh Halfpenny was fielding high bomb after high bomb on Saturday against England at the Principality Stadium, and subsequently getting smashed by the onrushing defence, he probably started to regret his life of discipline and dedication to remaining in peak physical condition and rather wished he had an extra 65kg to his frame like prop Ben Tameifuna has.
With plenty of people lamenting the fact that rugby seems to be increasingly kick-heavy, Bordeaux-Begles found a way to avoid fullbacks suffering the same fate as Halfpenny did in Cardiff, and that is to have a player the same weight as the entire kick chase fielding the ball. That is why all 148kg of the tighthead prop Tameifuna was used as a kick receiver against Perpignan recently in the Top 14.
This revolutionary tactic is not new though- Eddie Jones deployed such a tactic in the 2022 Six Nations, as France often found England’s Ellis Genge charging back at them whenever they kicked at the Stade de France. That actually worked reasonably well, but Tameifuna provides an extra 32kg of solidity at the back compared to the Englishman.
There are just three problems to what at first seems to be a watertight plan. First, getting to the ball with the pace of a 148kg prop. Second, being able to jump more than one inch off the ground which Tameifuna struggled to do. Third, the game of kick tennis basically ends there, as he is not kicking back.
Of course, this was not actually a tactic from the French outfit, rather it was probably just a case of Tameifuna getting caught in the back field while catching his breath. Confused and worried, the last thing he would have wanted was to do was field a kick, but it actually worked out alright, and Perpignan No8 Joaquin Oviedo would have certainly regretted ever chasing the kick in the first place.
Take a look:
Quand Big Ben lance sa reconversion en 15 avec réussite 😂 @UBBrugby pic.twitter.com/Canlq0D4Di
— TOP 14 Rugby (@top14rugby) March 2, 2023