Ireland and Leinster second row Ryan Baird is clocking some phenomenal GPS sprinting numbers, according to reports coming out of Ireland.
In a fascinating in-depth profile by Murray Kinsella on The42.ie, it is revealed that Baird has clocked over 10 metres per second on his GPS unit, a sprint speed most Test wingers would give their right arm for.
What makes that even more impressive? It wasn’t clocked in the controlled environment that is training.
It was clocked during a game.
A recent anecdote from Harlequins and England centre Joe Marchant can help put that figure in a bit of context. Marchant spent a season on loan with the Blues last year and was hugely impressed to see 6’6, 19 stone All Blacks forward Patrick Tuipulotu registering a 9.4 second on a GPS.
“Even the second rows [at the Blues] are absolutely rapid. Like Patrick Tuipulotu who is getting 9.4 metres a second in training.
“That’s ridiculous. If I’d got that in a session, I’d be like ‘yeah, sweet, I’d done my metres. Just a second row casually doing that.”
While Baird is a more modesty built 109kg on the same 6’6 frame, it’s a remarkable speed over the turf. It likely makes Baird the fastest Irish forward of all time, beating the 9.98 metres per second clocked by explosive former Ireland back row Stephen Ferris, himself an athletic specimen rarely seen on the island of Ireland.
It also puts him ahead of back three players like Jacob Stockdale [9.97 m/s] and Simon Zebo [9.85 m/s]. In a rugby union context, a 10 metre per second plus speed puts him in similar territory as Wales flyer Louis Rees-Zammit [10.1 m/s] and England’s Jonny May [10.49].
Despite having earned just one cap to date, Baird is widely considered one of the hottest forward prospects in Ireland and a potential long-term second row partner for fellow Leinster standout James Ryan, although Leinster have experimented with him at blindside.
At just 21-years-old, the public will hopefully get see him opening up on the gallops for years to come.
Who are the fastest men in rugby?
A breakdown of the sport's flyers and the times they've clocked ??https://t.co/hr2q7pnmo1
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 17, 2020
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