“Pound-for-pound, he’s the strongest.”
The United Rugby Championship has kicked off, and the best and brightest Irish rugby players will be in action for their provinces, and clubs. The strongest, too.
The hard pre-season slog is almost a thing of the past, as the focus narrows on the next game on the slate and the battle plans required to get the job done. For some players, though, it will mean less time away from the gym racks and big weights.
We asked four leading Ireland stars to name the strongest of their teammates, and shame a few others that all about the show, with a mere sprinkling of go.
Andrew Conway, Munster
The Munster winger says Dave Kilcoyne ‘doesn’t think like a normal human being’ but, in fairness to the prop, he is ‘right up there’ for strongest in the gym.
“Whenever he gets a good score, he goes around telling everyone, ‘I got this, I got this!’ The big guys are always at it, but I’d say Killer is right up there. Pound-for-pound, he’s the strongest.”
Dave Kilcoyne during an Irish rugby squad gym session, in 2019. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)
As for the biggest gym-bunny, or lad most likely to be doing multiple bicep curls, Conway says ‘there’s loads of them’.
“There’s always a lot of them around the bicep rack, especially the older lads, which is disappointing as they should be past that by now. Conor Murray has miserable biceps. He does. In fairness to him, he is persistent and he’s been constantly working on them. He’s fighting a losing battle, unfortunately.”
Iain Henderson, Ulster
“Strongest in the gym is probably Marty Moore,” says the Ulster captain. “He’s definitely up there. Nick Timoney loves the gym. He’d be a candidate for the biggest lifter.”
“Per pound, it would probably be Michael Lowry. He’s incredibly impressive with what he can do, for the size of him.”
Nick Timoney pictured during an Ulster Rugby gym session. (Photo by Robyn McMurray for Ulster Rugby via Sportsfile)
Jack Carty, Connacht
“Dominic Robertson-McCoy,” says the Connacht captain. “Definitely not Mack Hansen. He’s definitely the weakest.”
Dominic Robertson-McCoy during a Connacht Rugby squad training session at The Sportsground. (Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile)
Jack Carty has a rapid response when asked for the guy throwing the most shapes around the Connacht gym. “Jordan Duggan, I’d say. He’s a lifter first, and a rugby player second. He loves being in the gym and he’s in incredible shape, to be fair.”
Josh van der Flier, Leinster
“It would be between Andrew Porter and Cian Healy,” says the Leinster and Ireland flanker.
“I’d say Andrew Porter might have it, at this stage. It’s always a close battle between the two of them.”
Andrew Porter during a Leinster Rugby gym session. (Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile)
The Leinster gym posers lost a number in their ranks, during the off-season. “I would’ve said Adam Byrne,” van der Flier comments, “but he has moved to Connacht now. Probably Andrew Porter again. He’s not vain, at all, but I can picture him in the gym, after training, doing a load of bicep curls.”