sport news Meet the Six Nations superhumans: From the ex-slaughterman to a national judo ...

This year's Six Nations is almost upon us, where superhuman players will strike fear into their opposite numbers, be it with their colossal height, huge weight or Herculean strength. Even among the giants, powerhouses and big-hitters who will grace the northern hemisphere's premier international competition over the coming weeks - starting with France against Wales on Friday night - these players stand out for their extraordinary physical abilities...

Tallest Player: Devin Toner (Ireland) – 6ft 10in

The man mountain that is Devin Toner will front up once again for Ireland this year. The second-row wears a size 15 boot and towers above his opponents at 6ft 10in. 

Toner is of the mould of locks from yesteryear, prized for their beef rather than their dexterity and footballing skills in the close quarters.

Ireland and Leinster lock Devin Toner will be the tallest player in the tournament this year

Ireland and Leinster lock Devin Toner will be the tallest player in the tournament this year

Toner will tower over his opponents at 6ft 10in and will be, as always, a colossus in the lineout

Toner will tower over his opponents at 6ft 10in and will be, as always, a colossus in the lineout

The Irishman will be 1ft 4in taller than the smallest player at this year's instalment

The Irishman will be 1ft 4in taller than the smallest player at this year's instalment

Heaviest Player: Uini Atonio (France) – 24 stone

The La Rochelle prop is the heaviest player in the tournament, having tipped the scales at 24 stone (although he may be closer to 22 stone now). He is so big that he had to have his debut jersey - against Fiji back in 2014 - specially made for him as his frame was too large to fit into France's regular-sized tops. 

He weighs twice as much as the tournament's lightest player, Wales scrum-half Tomos Williams, and is heavier than the average adult male panda bear. 

Good luck stopping him.

Uini Atonio will tip the scales at 24 stone and will be the heaviest player in the Six Nations

Uini Atonio will tip the scales at 24 stone and will be the heaviest player in the Six Nations

The France prop had to have his jersey custom made when he made his debut against Fiji

The judo champion - Demba Bamba (France) 

Jacques Brunel was inundated with calls to include Demba Bamba in this year's Six Nations squad – and he answered.

The 20-year-old may be wet behind the ears — he made his debut only in November — but if he gets his chance in this campaign then watch out. 

He was national judo champion when he was 14 and claims the upper-body strength he harnessed in the sport is the reason he is such a terrifying ball carrier.

He could be France's next wrecking ball. 

Demba Bamba is a human wrecking ball and at the age of 14 he won a national judo tournament

Demba Bamba is a human wrecking ball and at the age of 14 he won a national judo tournament

The tighthead boasts incredible biceps and believes his judo helped him with his rugby

The tighthead boasts incredible biceps and believes his judo helped him with his rugby

Should he be unleashed by Jacques Brunel, he has the potential to cause chaos

Should he be unleashed by Jacques Brunel, he has the potential to cause chaos

The cow thrower: Jamie Bhatti (Scotland)

Jamie Bhatti built his solid frame outside the conventional confines of the gym. The Glasgow Warrior once spent five years lugging around cow carcasses as part of his job as a slaughterman.

'Poor cows, man,' he told the BBC. 'Standing killing cows all day. I'll have killed 100,000 cows and I remember thinking at the time, 'I can't be in here for the rest of my days. I just can't be'.'

From the abattoir to the Test arena, via a job as a doorman at Dusk nightclub in Stirling, the 25-year-old will hope to make a dent in this year's campaign after earning his Scotland recall.

Jamie Bhatti has earned a recall to the Scotland squad and is an extremely strong competitor

Jamie Bhatti has earned a recall to the Scotland squad and is an extremely strong competitor

The Scotland prop built his sizeable frame by lugging cow carcasses about in an abattoir

The Scotland prop built his sizeable frame by lugging cow carcasses about in an abattoir

The veteran giant: Sergio Parisse – 35 years, 134 caps

Sergio Parisse is a beacon of Italian rugby. At the ripe old age of 35, he is ripped to the hills and his 6ft 4in frame hits his opposite number like a train.

With 134 caps - the most of anyone in this year's competition - the No 8 has

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