In fact, I was never sure if I was too big to be a real three-quarter, or too small to be proper forward. No doubt that is the reason why, first of all they made me play scrum-half, because I had little legs, then fly-half because my legs got bigger and bigger! I am the living proof that there is a place for everyone on a rugby field; the kids who are teased in school playgrounds flourish like spring flowers when they discover this sport.
Size can never be an excuse or a justification for refusing someone, in fact it is often an asset. When, as a three-quarter you are a little on the heavy side (I know what I am talking about, because at the first Rugby World Cup in 1987, I weighed about 93kg, at a time when most fly-halves tipped the scales at 70kg, defended like blind matadors and the inside cut was considered a dirty word), you can ingratiate yourself with the big fellas up front because they feel that their hard-won offering, the ball they provided you with, has a chance of staying alive, rather than being lost to the opposition through some fancy back move.
By way of explanation, in French rugby “les gros” (the fatties) is an affectionate term for the forwards, but it can also stand for “hog the ball” or “likely knock-on”. On the other hand, the “gazelles” or the “Pink Floyds” of the back division are theoretically more streamlined and slender, but also more fearful, not exactly CSR, attracted by all that glitters, including risks and wide open spaces.
Contrary to popular belief, and despite physical traits which distance us from the seats of higher learning, such as cauliflower ears, slightly twisted noses, scarred eyebrows, or eyes half covered by a large sweatband, I am convinced that it requires great intelligence to be a Great Forward. Although to be fair, this does not exclude a certain necessary dose of stupidity, as essential in the forward pack, I am told, as in Ivy League schools.