Super Rugby Pacific: Slimmed down Caleb Clarke hopes new diet reaps onfield rewards after disappointing 2023

After returning for Super Rugby pre-season a week early, Blues back Caleb Clarke feels he's already reaping the rewards of a more concentrated off season.

Clarke returned from last year's World Cup with the All Blacks determined to better himself and his mindset, as he searches for consistency in 2024.

After a disappointing 2023 by his own admission, Clarke knew changes had to be made.

"I spent time in France in my reflection times - I call them quiet times," Clarke told Newshub.  

"I just knew there's more, I know there's more in me."

That review began with his diet and his exercise.  

Clarke's dropped almost eight kilograms since last season, now weighing in at 103kg.

Caleb Clarke soars for the corner for one of three tries against Yokohama Canon Eagles.
Caleb Clarke soars for the corner for one of three tries against Yokohama Canon Eagles. Photo credit: Getty Images

"I haven't been something like that since year 13," Clarke joked. 

Clarke says his weight had been causing him stress throughout the World Cup.

"For me, seeing a number on a scale was a big thing," he said.

"I remember on my day off I'd eat maybe one meal, then go sauna at night and then just pray I was at the right weight they wanted me to be at."

Clarke accepts that was an unhealthy mindset.

"If I wanted to stay away from that, I just needed to get food right, get nutrition right," he noted.


"It's not about the number on the scales, it's about how I'm performing and how I'm feeling each day."

And if his first hit out of the year is anything to go by, Clarke is clearly reaping the benefits.

In the Blues' second Japan hit-out, the wing ran in a hat-trick of tries, including a diving effort that will live long on his highlight reel.

Clarke's off-season commitment hasn't been lost on coach Vern Cotter.

"He's actually asked a few questions of himself, and where he needs to go to become better," Cotter said.  

"He's brought a competitive edge to himself."

Clarke will be among a star-studded line-up named for the Blues' final pre-season hitout against the Chiefs at Auckland's Onewa Domain on Friday.

All Blacks Rieko Ioane, Finlay Christie, Mark Telea, and Dalton Papali' have all been selected for their first run of the pre-season, with Cotter pledging to give the majority of his squad a run with different starting XVs named for each half.