Fat Rats kick on
By STEVE SPINKS
IT would be an imposing sight.
Seven rugby union players all weighing more than 110kg ready to do damage.
Unfortunately, these massive men lose some of their menace when you realise they have the combined pace of a geriatric sloth.
Meet the Southern Cross University X-Rats Fat Rats, one of the teams taking part in the 15th annual Tooheys Railway Friendly Bar Byron Bay Rugby Sevens this weekend.
The Fat Rats are a team within a team.
For 10 years SCU old boys have been returning to Byron to relive past glories under the guise of playing for the X-Rats.
As the years have gone by and the girths grown bigger, a prestigious club has formed within the ranks of the former SCU players.
"You have to be over 110kg to make the side," X-Rats player and Fat Rats originator Dave Graham said.
"It started as a way to overcome Inverell at a sevens comp. They were becoming a bit serious."
Seven 110kg monsters promptly took the field, received the ball and mauled the ball forward.
They came within a metre of the try-line, gave away a penalty and then received a pummelling as the fleet-footed Inverell team scored try after try.
"The aim is to have a rolling maul for seven minutes so they don't get the ball," Graham said.
"It doesn't always work."
With 35 X-Rats heading to Byron Bay this weekend, Graham reckons he won't have any shortage of Fat Rats when and if the opportunity arises.
The X-Rats are one of only a handful of teams that head to Byron knowing that winning is not on the agenda.
Many teams are now travelling great distances in the hope of claiming the $3000 on offer.
"I can't see why you would play full-on," Graham said. "It ruins your day when you get smashed."
The X-Rats are also traditionally the best-dressed team at the tournament.
This year's kit includes T-shirts, caps, jerseys, shorts, socks and a deck chair.
And the deck chair is the secret weapon. "If some teams become a bit serious we may just kick off to them and sit back on the deck chairs and enjoy the view," Graham said.