Jacks by Jack

By Jack Connelly

I’m Jack Connelly.. Your average rugger from around the block and current content writer for the Free Jacks. I thought it would be fun to kick things off by shining the spotlight on rugby’s worthiest players. And no, I’m not talking about the handsome guy with great hair with the double-digits on his jersey (we all know that guy). I’m talking about the one who does the heavy lifting, the one who always walks off the pitch a little bit dirtier than everyone else, our ace in the hole, our queen of hearts, our props. 

It’s true — Props are born to be props. You don’t get that spectacular physique solely through those hours spent in the gym, it also requires a strict diet plan. And while the actual diet may vary from prop to prop, one thing remains the same among all our 1’s and 3’s, it’s instinctual.

We spoke with Benjamin Cardone, former prop for the Sacred Heart men’s rugby club in Connecticut, to weigh-in and offer insight to his strict diet plan and answer some questions on the subject.

When I approached Cardone, I told him I was writing a piece revolving around the diet of a prop. He responded by saying: “for the past two nights, I’ve had a cheeseburger on an everything bagel, with all kinds of toppings.” It was at that moment where we had found our perfect candidate for the topic. 

Mr. Cardone separated his diet into five sections — Fruits/vegetables, fats, dairy, protein and carbohydrates. To gain a little more perspective on his diet, we asked him questions pertaining directly to the food groups he listed. 


  • What would you say to people who say props don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables?

“That’s a common misconception. We eat more than enough fruit. That’s the problem. The mass quantities often outweigh the positive health effects.”

  • What kind of fruits and veggies do you like?

“I’ve always liked oranges and bananas. More recently I’ve grown fond of the dried strawberries in my Special K cereal.” 


  • How much more dairy does a prop need vs. a normal person?

“Probably a solid thirty percent more at minimum. Some people may find dietary shame in using whole milk, to those people, I say the shame is on you.” 


  • A diet rich in protein is important because…

“Protein helps you power up. Aside from it being my favorite aspect of the diet plan, protein does a body good. keep your muscles strong and keep your wit in the scrums.”

  • What do you think about vegetarians?

“I love them. I think highly of them. It’s more of a working relationship I have with the vegetarians.. They eat the greens of my plate, I eat the chicken cutlets of theirs. Everybody wins.” 


  • How do you choose which fats you put into your body?

“Well, I don’t. I’m pretty lenient on where I get my fats from. They sort of just come to me.” 

  • Do you even know why fats are good to have in your diet, or are you just happy about the fact?

“I’d say I’m more just happy about the fact. No complaints here.” 


  • White or Wheat?

“Cinnamon raisin.” 

  • What’s your opinion on spiked seltzers?

“They’re refreshing on a hot summer day. However, I don’t love the way they look in your hand. I prefer beer.” 

  • What’s your pre-match meal?

“The night before a match I usually subconsciously make pasta. I always heard stories of runners eating pasta the day before a race. If it’s good enough for Boston City marathon runners, it’s good enough for me.” 

Follow up

  • Tell me one thing that’s different about your diet vs. everyone else’s?

“I guess the level of frequency at which I eat the same foods over and over again. Living on your own, having to cook for yourself, it can be tough. And all the foods I know how to make are horrible for me. It can get pretty out of hand.”

  • Any word of advice for any fellow props out there looking to start their own diet plan?

“Yeah. Don’t put too much thought into it.” 

To all of our props out there — Thank you for doing all of the hard work while the backs run passing lines. We appreciate you. 

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