Video Mashup by Tom Compagnoni
New Zealand is renowned for having arguably the fiercest, most imposing squad in world rugby; huge, powerful, strong men playing with equal parts skill and size, brain and brawn.
The mythology around the All Blacks is immense, which is probably why this photo of Kiwi forward Samuel Whitelock went crazy viral over the weekend:
That's Whitelock with NZ prime minister John Key and it understandably got some people a bit scared.
"He's a giant!"
"He looks like Hagrid shaking hands with a toddler"
"How can we possibly stop him?!?"
Well, as it turns out, the Wallabies are up to the task -- at least, on paper. The team lists announced today for Saturday night's World Cup final paint an surprising picture, with no fewer than five -- FIVE -- Wallabies as heavy or heavier than the Whitelock behemoth.
A Huffington Post Australia analysis showed the average age of the Wallabies starting XV is 28.6 years old, compared to the positively ancient and dusty Kiwis at 28.86 years of age. The average height of both teams is exactly the same, at 187.6 centimetres tall.
The Wallabies' biggest player, Sekope Kepu, at 188cm and 125kg
The real kicker, however, is the combined weight of our teams. The Wallabies' starting side tips the scales at a total 1567 kilograms -- an entire six kilograms more than the All Blacks at 1561kg. Our forwards shade their rivals even more significantly, with our 918kg outweighing the paltry 891kg of the Kiwis; an average of almost 115kg to 111kg.
As for the imposing Whitelock, sure his giant 202cm frame is loftier than any Wallabies player (our tallest is Rob Simmons at 200cm) but his 115kg is matched or beaten by a handful of Australian players; James Slipper (117kg), Sekope Kepu (125kg), Kane Douglas (123kg), Simmons (115kg) and David Pocock (115kg).
The Kiwis definitely have the wood over Australia in recent matches, losing only one of the last five games between the trans-Tasman rivals, with the most recent game a 41-13 shellacking earlier this year.
But with these stats, maybe the streak is about to end.