'Neither of us has ever had a drink of alcohol so I don’t know if that’s got something to do with it'

Peter Stringer explains the secrets to playing until 40.

Peter Stringer and Donncha O'Callaghan in 2005.
Peter Stringer and Donncha O'Callaghan in 2005.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

HIS CONTRACT WITH Worcester Warriors will take him beyond his 40th birthday but Peter Stringer feels fitter now than he did two decades ago.

The former Munster and Ireland scrum-half, having spent the last two seasons with Sale Sharks, has signed a six-month deal with Worcester to provide cover for Francois Hougaard while he’s on Rugby Championship duty with South Africa.

Stringer, who turns 40 in December, will link up with 38-year-old ex-Munster colleague Donncha O’Callaghan at the Aviva Premiership club as he prepares for his 20th season of professional rugby.

Due to his longevity, Stringer has been likened to tennis legend Roger Federer — who won his 19th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, at the age of 35, earlier this month — by Worcester Warriors director of rugby Gary Gold.

“In the last five or six years I’ve concentrated on every element of my life with regard to diet and sleep. You look at all the little bits that make up your whole persona and that helps to motivate you,” Stringer told The Rugby Paper.

“I’ve taken eating well to a whole new level to prolong my career and make the most of it. I’ll regret it forever if I don’t do everything possible to make sure I’m in the right state of mind and physical shape.

“I’m probably fitter now than I was 20 years ago. As long as my fitness scores are going up, I’ll carry on. I’ve looked for reasons to retire and I can’t see any.

“I can only see myself playing rugby — everything I do is to make that last as long as possible. I love the game and I’m a bit obsessed at this stage with keeping fit. It doesn’t take any talent to do it. It’s just a matter of wanting to do it.”

Stringer and O’Callaghan won two Heineken Cups during their time together at Munster. The Cork pair will be reunited at Sixways, where O’Callaghan is set for a third season since departing his home province.

Worcester will be hoping for better fortunes this season, having finished second from bottom in England’s top flight after winning just five of their 22 games in the 2016-17 campaign.

Stringer said: “Donncha is one of the fittest guys I’ve come across and neither of us has ever had a drink of alcohol so I don’t know if that’s got something to do with it.

“Donncha said it would be good to have another set of lungs to shout at guys when direction is needed. He felt I could help that link between backs and forwards.”

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