Brian O'Driscoll has spoken out about the growing obsession amongst young rugby players about getting as big as possible. In an interview with the Telegraph, O'Driscoll yearns for a bigger emphasise on developing skill, and for size to be a secondary thought.
He spoke about his own reluctance to go to the gym, saying it is a "necessary evil", but he never loved it the way the young guys do.
It is an important element of fitness to be able to lift heavy weights and be strong and more powerful, but just not losing sight that it is only one aspect. You have got to be aerobically very fit and you have to have very good skills. I don’t just know if that balance is there at the moment.
I can see that at the academies in Ireland, where there is a huge focus on scores in the weights room, as opposed to whether they can throw a 10-metre pass on the run.
They should be rugby players becoming athletes, not athletes becoming rugby players.
This sentiment was echoed by Connacht's new All Black Mils Muliana on his arrival in Galway, and O'Driscoll thinks that New Zealand have the balance between skills and size better than most. He views them as firm favourites for next year's World Cup.
He acknowledges that the Polynesian element within the squad might mean that the New Zealanders are naturally more powerful, but he views their upbringing with a ball in hand, and the fitness methods also using rugby balls, as reasons why the New Zealander's skills are far superior.