Gloucester speedster Louis Rees-Zammit says he wants to race returning England star Jonny May to see who is the fastest at the club next season. May is returning to Kingsholm from Leicester Tigers, meaning the young Welshman will have his work cut out to claim to be the fastest man in the west.
May is the fastest man in English rugby and you might have to look to the Sevens code to find a faster rugby player. The 30-year-old has apparently clocked 37.71 km/h, or 10.475 metres per second.
Up until recently Rees-Zammit had not undergone any sprint training but yet he has hit 36.34km/h or 10.1 metres a second on GPS, suggesting a sprint off between the pair would be no foregone conclusion. In a wide-ranging interview on Welsh Rugby Union’s official website, Rees-Zammit says his speed is simply down to genetics.
“It’s all about genetics I guess. My dad is really fast and I get my pace from him. I’d never done any sprint training before this year and I’ve never done athletics.
“I’ve got a lot faster through doing some sprint training and Dan Tobin, the head of S&C at Gloucester, has been putting together loads of programmes for me, I’ve been doing sprint training after every session and I’m definitely getting faster.”
“Jonny’s a bit of a legend at Kingsholm. When he gets to the club we will have to have a race to see who’s quickest – and perhaps we could stream it live,” said Rees-Zammit.
“When Jonny comes back it will provide more competition for all of us and that can only be a good thing. I don’t worry about pressure, it’s all about working hard to get into the team.”
There was no mention of Charlie Sharples, Gloucester’s other sprinter. Sharples has clocked 4.82 seconds over 40 metres, which is indicative over a metre per second top speed of around 10mps.
Elsewhere the youngster admits he’s disappointed not to have won a Test cap for Wales at this year’s Guinness Six Nations. The 19-year-old was widely expected to have been given a cameo role and his lack of game time came as a surprise to many, with head coach Wayne Pivac relying on tried and tested outside backs throughout the curtailed tournament.
“It was disappointing not to get a cap during the Six Nations, but hopefully my time will come. When my chance does come I’ve got to take the opportunity and I’ll be ready for it,” he said.
Rees-Zammit, who came through the Gloucester Rugby Academy, made his debut for the senior squad last season.
“This season has been a good experience for me. I’ve got used to the Premiership both physically and mentally and every time I get the ball I know I need to make an impact,” he said.
“I take it game by game, training session by session. When I’m picked I just give it my all for the team.
“I know I have a lot of work-ons, but they will definitely get better if I keep working on them. Every training session I do extras.”
Reez-Zammit also says he didn’t find the step up to European competition this year to be too steep an incline when compared to the Gallagher Premiership.
“I didn’t really find any difference between the Premiership and European. The intensity was pretty similar and it wasn’t too different, even though I thought it was going to be,” he said.
“Kolbe is the best wing in the world and it was a good experience playing against him, although it was a bit annoying it got cut short because of the injury I picked up. I just wanted to show anything I could to everyone in front of the best wing in the world.”
In January he signed a senior contract, which came on the back of some incredible performances this season, as well as numerous achievements including becoming Gloucester Rugby’s youngest ever Premiership player, their youngest ever player in a European match, and the youngest player ever to score a hat-trick in the Premiership.
At just 18 years old, there’s no doubt Rees-Zammit has an exciting career ahead of him, even if he has to wait for his first cap.
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