Welshman Aled Waters helped South Africa win the World Cup. Pic: Getty Images.

Wales’ World Cup Winner Aled Walters Is Now A Tiger With A Long Tale To Tell

By Steffan Thomas

Former Scarlets conditioning coach Aled Walters has revealed that getting out of Wales has opened his eyes to how players should prepare for top level rugby.

Walters left his home region in 2009 and has since travelled the world, establishing himself as one of the most well-respected strength and conditioning coaches on the planet.

Having spent time at Taranaki, the Brumbies and with Munster before helping South Africa lift the 2019 Rugby World Cup, he now finds himself with Leicester Tigers.

He acknowledges he wouldn’t have become the coach he has if he’d remained in Llanelli 12 years ago.

“It was uncomfortable initially going to New Zealand because things were done so differently to how they were done at the Scarlets at the time,” says Walters.

“Being part of the Welsh Rugby Union at the time there was a big emphasis on strength and what you do in the gym. It was very important to them.

“Then all of a sudden I found myself out in Taranaki in New Zealand and the boys have less of a gym culture. They just want to get fit to play. They want to play games rather than straight line running and all that sort of stuff.

Aled Waters is now with Leicester Tigers. Pic: Leicester Tigers.

“It made me appreciate every environment has got something pretty special and pretty unique. Being able to take that information and then grow as a coach is key.”

More recently Walters was the man responsible for ensuring South Africa’s forwards such as Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi and Pieter-Steph du Toit were not only physical enough to win a World Cup, but also athletic and comfortable with the ball.

Now, he hopes his experiences can benefit Steve Borthwick’s Leicester who he insists play a similar brand of rugby.

“You learn things and take different things from everywhere you’ve been, but the most recent challenge with South Africa was really how fit you could get the tight five,” Walters says.

“That was one of the big, big areas. How mobile could they be?

“They were big men but needed the ability to get off the ground, get off the ground quickly, and get into the next challenge and the next battle. That’s something I’ve been keen to bring to Leicester. There are a lot of similarities because we play a pretty similar game.”

At the moment Walters is purely focused on helping Leicester re-establish themselves as one main forces in English rugby.

 

The Tigers – once the benchmark for standards in the English game – have fallen away in recent years and had their brushes with relegation, but they remain the best supported club in the Premiership with average crowds over 21,000 with the biggest commercial structure.

But as a man who has embraced different cultures around the world, how would Walters feel about potentially joining Wales’ backroom staff in the future?

“I think as a Welshman I could only dream of coaching Wales sometime in the future,” he says.

“Is it a goal? Yes, at some stage but I know Wales have traditionally always been physically very well prepared over the last 12 years.

“I know I’ve got a long way to work and need to develop myself to be in a position for that if it came up in the future. Definitely at the moment, Leicester is my priority.

“When I left the Scarlets in 2009 the whole plan was to go to New Zealand and then come back to be head of strength and conditioning with the Scarlets.

“I’ve just been lucky with timing, going from one place to another and being in really good environments where I worked with good coaches.

“One thing has led to another. No, I couldn’t have envisaged someone from Llangadog ending up with South Africa and then coming to Leicester who are probably the biggest club in England.”

 

One thought on “Wales’ World Cup Winner Aled Walters Is Now A Tiger With A Long Tale To Tell

  1. What a, top man.. Mr Walters is and with Mr Borthwick as well no wonder we are turning this club around.. come on the Tigers.. let’s get back to were we belong and stay there.

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