How is fastest measured?
Over short distances like 30 metres or over length of the field?
Michael Jennings has explosive acceleration and is regarded as one of the quickest over 30 metres but drops back at longer distances.
Jarryd Hayne is pretty quick although he has filled out a bit and lost some pace from what he had a couple of years ago.
Not many players have both blistering acceleration and the ability to go long distance.
Ben Barba and the Morris boys are no slouches in that category.
Some players struggle to get into their stride with a ball off balancing their sprinting style as well.
Rugby Union has the genuinely quick players these days at wing.
Brian Habana at his peak would smoke all of those guys. Carlin Isles that plays rugby sevens for the USA just may well be the fastest player in both codes currently.
One of the ideas for the Auckland nines this year is to have a sprint race on grass with all the genuine speedsters whether selected for the nines to play or travelling with the team lining up for a out and out speed fest ( as opposed to the half pie races where the Union Wingers smoked the Leaguees )
There are guys that are quick off the mark as you say, really the only ones that belong in a speed race to my way of thinking are the players that can sustain it over a hundred meters...the universal athletic speed distance.
Hayne , Flash Gordon , Morris's , Fisiahi......those five lined up would leave the rest of the field for dead.
Went off topic there.
The other thing about speed ( and this is especially relevant with Tomkins ) is that some athletes like him / Marshall / Johnson lose very little speed with direction changes unlike straight out sprinters......tis why they beat so many tacklers.
Edited by mt smart, 16 July 2014 - 01:47 PM.