IT was the reality check – kick up the butt – that Hamilton prop Faavae Sila needed.
The Hawks tight-head did a scrum session against the Country Eagles at their training camp in Newcastle before the National Rugby Championship in September.
Sila held his own but received some sage advice from Eagles coach Darren Coleman.
“He told me that I had to lose a bit of weight if I wanted to go somewhere in rugby,” Sila said. “There is no room for fat boys in the NRC.”
It was a drum, Coleman’s younger brother and Hawks coach Scott, had been beating for two seasons.
Sila was tipping the scales at 136 kilograms. Now down to 120kg, the powerful Kiwi will anchor the Hawks scrum against Wanderers in the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union grand final on Saturday.
“I knew I had to do something. I was getting too big,” said Sila who was a part of the NSW Country train-on squad this season. “I tried to have a big off-season and get into shape. I have dropped 16kg and now get around the park more. Shannon Mackie (Hawks strength and conditioning coach) has pushed me hard.”
Scott Coleman believes Sila “could be anything” if he applied himself.
The 23-year-old, one of a production line of players who have joined Hamilton from famed Auckland rugby nursery Wesley College, is in his fourth season at Passmore Oval.
“He is probably the second best tighthead in the comp behind Alain Miriallakis,” Coleman said. “He has a really good rugby brain, and his skill set is amazing. When his mind is on the game, he is unbelievable.”
Sila will play opposite NSW Country bench front-rower Ben Christensen on Saturday.
“I reckon we can get them at the scrum,” he said. “I have learned heaps since I have been here. Knowing my role and that I have a job to do at the scrum – tick all the boxes before I get in there. Especially at tight head, I try to lead the scrum.”
Hamilton are aiming to be the first side to win consecutive premierships since Maitland in 1998-99.
“Going back-to-back, being a part of that would be special,” Sila said.