Late last week, Worcester announced that they had given the 39-year-old Peter Stringer a six-month contract.
'Ordinarily,' Worcester Director of Rugby Gary Gold said, 'we wouldn’t go out and sign a 39-year-old.' For Stringer, who turns 40 before his contract runs out with the Aviva Premiership, they had to make an exception.
The former Munster man, who departed Sale in May after two years at the club, is still remarkably fit. In fact, Stringer says he's fitter now than he was 20 years ago.
Speaking to The Rugby Paper, Stringer explained what lifestyle changes he was made in recent years to ensure he can extend his career for as long as possible.
In the last five or six years I’ve concentrated on every element of my life with regard to diet and sleep. You look at all the little bits that make up your whole persona and that helps to motivate you.
I’ve taken eating well to a whole new level to prolong my career and make the most of it. I’ll regret it forever if I don’t do everything possible to make sure I’m in the right state of mind and physical shape.
I’m probably fitter now than I was 20 years ago. As long as my fitness scores are going up, I’ll carry on. I’ve looked for reasons to retire and I can’t see any.
I can only see myself playing rugby – everything I do is to make that last as long as possible. I love the game and I’m a bit obsessed at this stage with keeping fit. It doesn’t take any talent to do it. It’s just a matter of wanting to do it.
At a combined age of 77, Stringer will team up with his former Munster and Ireland teammate Donncha O'Callaghan. Like Stringer, O'Callaghan also abstains from drinking alcohol. It's something both of them believe is a factor in ensuring the longevity of their professional careers.
Gold also cited Stringer's teetotaller status.
You saw the other day with Federer – if you look after yourself well enough then age doesn’t matter; in sport, you shouldn’t discriminate against somebody’s age.
Everywhere Strings goes people raise eyebrows, because you don’t expect a 39-year-old to still be able to run the tests and keep up with the youngsters, and have the decision-making ability that he still has. But he’s a teetotaller, he’s always been a fitness fanatic and he’s got a tremendous work ethic.