Louis Rees-Zammit and Jonny Could are set to go head-to-head in a mouthwatering contest between two of rugby’s quickest gamers when Wales face England on Saturday within the Six Nations.
Each wingers have tempo to burn and have lit up the Six Nations with some devastating ending, Wales ace Rees-Zammit twice being awarded attempt of the spherical after a flying end within the nook in opposition to Eire and chip-and-chase in opposition to Scotland with England star Could seemingly defying gravity along with his airborne dive to the road in opposition to Italy.
Add within the combine that each gamers ply their commerce at Premiership membership Gloucester, the place they’ve come by means of the academy, and are additionally merchandise of the much-vaunted Hartpury School, and it’s a battle throughout the struggle to whet the urge for food for one among rugby’s biggest worldwide rivalries on the Principality Stadium.
And there’s one nice debate that’s dominating the dialog forward of their assembly: Who’s quickest?
Mark Cornwell coached Could when he was Gloucester academy supervisor and the Hartpury College head coach first got here throughout Louis Rees-Zammit when he joined their rugby programme as a 16-year-old.
And he believes the younger man often called ‘Rees-Lightning’ would shade a foot-race between the pair.
“Jonny’s lightning fast however I feel Zam in a straight line over an extended distance, he simply appears to glide and there aren’t many wingers who can stick with him.
“It will be shut. Based mostly on what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen, I might think about it will be Zam by a nostril.”
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Gloucester winger Charlie Sharples, who isn’t any slouch himself, trains alongside each and wouldn’t give a lot away however says they’re the 2 quickest gamers he has come throughout in his 13 years as an expert participant.
“We don’t actually have races in coaching and it’s not typically you’ve flat-out races with folks,” he mentioned.
“Jonny’s clearly very targeted on his pace, it’s one space of his recreation to offer him some extent of distinction however he’s been capable of keep that pace regardless of the nasty accidents he’s had.
“He’s positively not bought any slower and if something he’s bought sooner.
“Louis has bought a few years now to actually nail that S&C facet of issues and I’m positive we’ll seen him develop bodily and go the identical form of route as Jonny.
“He’s bought unbelievable pure pace which is one thing you possibly can’t purchase as a winger.
“You may actually solely take a look at who’s been in and across the membership and people two are the very best I’ve seen for positive.
“It’s while you see these kick chases they usually’re going after the ball, that’s while you see how briskly they’re.
“Having that acceleration as properly and ending skill to get to the road as shortly as doable in these brief distances is unquestionably necessary and one thing they’ve each bought in abundance.”
Information that has been made public exhibits Could to be the sooner man.
His finest recorded time is 23.68 miles per hour (10.59 metres per second) whereas enjoying for England in opposition to the Barbarians in 2018, whereas Louis Rees-Zammit clocked 23.48 mph (10.5 metres per second) in a recreation for Gloucester in opposition to Saracens final season, report MailOnline
However there are indicators that Rees-Zammit has bought sooner since then and will get even faster nonetheless.
The 20-year-old mentioned: “For the final 12 months, I’ve been doing dash coaching with Gloucester’s S&C coach Dan Tobin and I’ve bought sooner.
“There are plenty of quick backs at Gloucester and it will get you quicker every day, making an attempt to outrun them. It’s fairly aggressive. We’ve a little bit of enjoyable.”
At 30-years-old, Could has been considered one of many quickest rugby gamers in worldwide rugby for a very long time however he might have met his match.
“On an excellent day, I can nearly sustain with him,” mentioned Could.
“He’s extremely quick. As quick as I’ve come throughout. He’s nonetheless very younger, too, so has the potential to get faster as properly.”
In response to among the most up-to-date figures, Could is probably the third quickest participant on this planet proper now, with Rees-Zammit just under him.
Eire scrum-half Kieran Marmion has recorded the quickest time of 10.7 metres per second, adopted by Australia wing Jesse Mogg with 10.6. Christian Wade is claimed to be sooner than all of them having been clocked at 11.1 metres per second, however left rugby to pursue his American Soccer dream.
There are even sooner gamers within the sevens model of the sport with USA star Carlin Isles having recorded an unimaginable 100 metres time of 10.13 seconds.
Such is the fashionable recreation that each gamers will undoubtedly come infield often and be busy searching for work slightly than sticking to their wings within the pivotal Six Nations conflict, whereas if it turns right into a kicking battle Could and Rees-Zammit may not get a lot ball however it will actually make for a beautiful sight to see them go toe-to-toe with one another.
“I anticipate them to not permit the opposite get on the skin. That’ll be of their minds, I’m fairly positive. It’s a mouthwatering prospect,” mentioned Cornwell.
Sharples describes England’s Could and Wales’ Rees-Zammit because the “outdated bull and the younger calf”, saying: “It may very well be fireworks or it might fizzle out a bit however one factor’s for positive, they’re each very fast.”
“They complement one another properly after they play for Gloucester however it is going to be an attention-grabbing match-up this weekend.”
Whereas there are clear similarities between Could and Rees-Zammit’s journey to the highest, the path to worldwide stardom has actually occurred a lot faster for the Welshman.
Cornwell first noticed Could enjoying for Hartpury Underneath-18s thirds, and noticed a uncooked expertise he believed might make the grade at Gloucester.
It took plenty of “laborious graft” as Sharples put it for him to turn out to be among the best wingers on this planet he’s right now and England’s second highest ever attempt scorer with 32 in 63 appearances, likening him to a wild horse that has been tamed, whereas for Rees-Zammit “the whole lot he touches in the mean time appears to show to gold.”
Rees-Zammit had utilized to review at Hartpury when his title come up in a dialog Cornwell had with their Underneath-18s head coach.
“I used to be sat subsequent to Wayne Thompson within the workplace and he had some footage on his laptop computer of Zam enjoying for Cardiff,” mentioned Cornwell.
“He mentioned, ‘what do you consider this child?’ He confirmed me this footage and Zam was principally operating rings round each participant within the recreation.
“He was on a very totally different stage. He was scoring particular person tries from 50, 60, 70 metres in each clip that I noticed.
“I bear in mind taking a look at Wayne and saying ‘wow, you’ve bought to stay him within the elite Underneath-18 staff as quickly as doable as a result of he’s an enormous expertise’.
“He was key to the Hartpury Underneath-18s age success, he scored tries all around the pitch and simply transferred what he was doing in that footage to the Hartpury Underneath-18 programme.”
Cornwell had hoped Rees-Zammit would play senior rugby for Hartpury within the English Championship however his rise has been so fast that he grew to become Gloucester’s youngest ever Premiership participant in 2019 and by the tip of the 12 months he was taking the league by storm earlier than incomes his first Wales call-up forward of the 2020 Six Nations – all as an 18-year-old.
He now has 4 tries in six Wales caps and is being tipped to be named within the British and Irish Lions squad for the sequence in opposition to South Africa this summer time.
That’s an honour that has to this point evaded Could, however it is going to be very a lot the grasp in opposition to the apprentice when the 2 meet on Saturday.
Having coached them each at a younger age, Cornwell sees similarities.
“They’re each lightning fast and that was one of many first stuff you discover,” he mentioned.
“They’re balanced runners to allow them to step off each toes and never lose the tempo and that’s clearly a key half.
“They’ve bought different talent units. Each have gotten nice imaginative and prescient, nice palms they usually’re each of a bodily stature that might allow them to play worldwide rugby.
“Jonny’s bought 10 years’ expertise on Zam and that counts for lots as a result of Jonny’s been by means of among the hardest video games Premiership clever and internationally and Zam’s bought that to sit up for.
“What they’ve each bought the power to do is rating wonderful tries that different gamers take a look at and say ‘how?’ His dive for the road in opposition to Italy, there aren’t many wingers who have gotten the athleticism to try this.
“Zam has bought heaps to work on nonetheless however he has that incredible skill to do what he did final weekend in opposition to Scotland, which is end.”
So far as head-to-head battles go, this one guarantees to be a belter.