Would you face this 30 stone heavyweight in a scrum?

He's a natural! Credit: Paignton Zoo

England's chances in the Rugby World Cup might be improved if they had this chap in the line-up.

Male Western lowland gorilla Pertinax lives at Paignton Zoo in Devon. He‘s around 6 feet from head to toe – modest for a professional rugby player - but he weighs in at a hefty 30 stone, and it’s pretty much all muscle.

Even the All Blacks might think twice about tackling him!

You wouldn't want to be up against this guy in a scrum. Credit: Paignton Zoo

Impressively, Pertinax follows a strict vegetarian diet that features peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, beetroot, kale, leeks, aubergine, chicory and parsnip.

Pertinax showed some fine ball-carrying skills, although his tendency to burst the ball could get him into trouble with the referee.

Senior keeper Alex Perry explained:

This is an excellent form of environmental enrichment – the balls are novel items and stimulate the gorillas to play. smeared a little honey on the ball, too, as an incentive. It’s great to have a locally-based company like Lovell help us out by donating balls.

Alex Perry, senior keeper