Hmm

England will unleash one of the fastest back-three units in the history of the game against Australia on Saturday after Jonny May revealed he had just clocked a sprint record that was faster than Usain Bolt’s average speed when the Jamaican set his 100 metre world record.

May was in a state of shock after he recorded a personal best of 10.49 metres per second in a 40-metre speed test last Saturday, which would equate to a time of 9.53 seconds over 100 metres. Bolt’s world record is 9.58 seconds, which he set in 2009.

How do they do a 40 metre speed test? Is it a standing start? Or accelerating to a mark then measuring speed over 40 metres?

26 thoughts on “Hmm”

  1. They do both. They also do 10m and 20m tests (for the obvious reason that most runs in rugby are over those sorts of distances).

    Speed isn’t everything. Jason Robinson wasn’t flat out the quickest, but he was very quick + elusive. Watson would be a lot better player if he save his footwork until he was almost within the grasp of the oppo, instead of sidestepping pointlessly 10m away.

  2. Speed off the mark is most important, though – that’s why they are so keen on explosive power, squats, jumps etc. There are quick locks who can just about keep pace with most wingers, but it takes them a long time relatively – by the time they’re up to speed, the winger is under the posts.

  3. Jason Robinson was quick from a standing start and for the first 20m; but could be overhauled over 50m.

    Jonny May is properly quick but if he was capable of beating Usain Bolt he’d be running against him. And be Britain’s richest sportsman.

  4. And on the same metric, if Usain Bolt ran the 1500m, he could do it in 2:23.7. Cutting more than a minute off the current world record.

    Oh wait, no he couldn’t.

    Because running different distances is… erm… different, which is exactly why there are running races at different distances, and they’re won by different people who are often built very differently.

  5. Rob: Eh, I dunno. I assume the IOC’s drug testing policies constrain Bolt’s pharmacological stack quite a bit. One would assume English rugby’s are a bit laxer.

  6. acceleration……….

    There are pro-footballers in the US doing similar things over 20m or 40m.

    Most Olympic 100m sprinters don’t reach top speed until around the 50m mark. Usain Bolt wasn’t going at top speed until after the 60m mark. It’s why he used to pull away over the last 30 or so metres.

    On the other hand a fat lardy (such as Murphy) would be going at top speed after maybe 2 or 3 feet. It just wouldn’t be a very high speed.

    “May was in a state of shock after he recorded a personal best of 10.49 metres per second in a 40-metre speed test”

    In comparison, Bolt’s best was around 12.29 meters/second which he got to around the 66m mark.

  7. I’m pretty sharp over five metres, especially if there is a sausage roll at the end of it. If I extrapolate that to the 100m I could do it in…oh, I can’t work it out. Whatever.

  8. Hasn’t it been known for years that the quickest men at the Olympics are the triple and long-jumpers for a few metres during their run-up? I think Jonathan Edwards had some record along these lines. Meaningless, of course: 100m sprint is a 100m sprint, not a 40m sprint.

    Interested,

    Jason Robinson wasn’t flat out the quickest, but he was very quick + elusive.

    Indeed, and back in his RL days it was acknowledged that both Wigan and GB had the phenomenally quick Martin Offiah on one wing and the phenomenally elusive Jason Robinson on the other: they were the only positions where we had a decisively better pick than the Australians.

    Watson would be a lot better player if he save his footwork until he was almost within the grasp of the oppo, instead of sidestepping pointlessly 10m away.

    And May would be better if he used his pace to run forwards rather than sideways.

    I hope England absolutely smash Australia this weekend.

  9. Interesting how players side-step these days, really overtly and obviously, and don’t simply sway the hips. A side-step is slower and much more easily spotted. I’ve seen some players almost come to a stop in front of a player and then leap sideways like a cat.

    The true greats just glided past with barely any notice of which direction they were going in.

  10. @abacab

    After seeing a race over 300m (or something) where the world record had stood for ages because that distance wasn’t run, I realised there is a gap in the market.

    I am, as far as I know, the world record holder over 12m 32cm as this distance isn’t officially run all that often.

  11. The true greats just glided past with barely any notice of which direction they were going in.

    Look at the old footage of Jonathan Davies (he with the big nose, not the modern one with the scrum cap). My word was he quick and elusive.

  12. Bloke in North Dorset

    “The true greats just glided past with barely any notice of which direction they were going in.”

    Although mercurial Danni Cipriani at his best just glides past defenders with minimal detectable sideways movement, but they always fall for it. Elliot Daly is another when he gets going.

  13. I’ve just completed 0.01m in 0s, the fact I was already at the start and the finish thanks to my non-zero size meaning I started and finished at the same time. That’s the equivalent of completing 100m in 0s. I have infinite speed; indeed, infinitely faster than the speed of light.

    Bolt’s top speed of 12.42m/s is a world record. 10.49m/s is not even close to that world record. Furthermore, 10.49m/s only equates to a 100m time of 9.53s if he’s already at full speed at the start and keeps it up over the entire 100m (which he can’t). So Usain Bolt ran 100m 0.05 seconds slower, from a standing start, than he could run it if he somehow managed to keep his top speed up from a running start. Who gives a fuck?

  14. “The true greats just glided past with barely any notice of which direction they were going in.”

    David Campese……..

  15. “There are quick locks who can just about keep pace with most wingers” That’s one reason why I liked seven-a-sides and relay races: I had time to reach my top speed before receiving the ball/baton. It’s wonderful to run in a try from 40 yards or so, pursued by disbelieving backs.

  16. There are quick locks who can just about keep pace with most wingers, but it takes them a long time relatively – by the time they’re up to speed, the winger is under the posts.

    I think the fastest man in the game is currently Beauden Barrett; if not, he’d certainly be in the top five. He is deceptively fast, really doesn’t look it, but bloody hell he can shift.

  17. Not withstanding, Bolt’s record stands.

    Lessee, if Bolt can run 100 meters in 9.58, that equates to 38.32 in the 400, a world record!

    ‘Which would equate to a time’

    You can’t do that. Sports writer Gavin Mairs should know better.

  18. Paul Rain,

    You know rugby is an olympic sport right, so the IRB has to comply with IOC regulations in its testing?

    More generally, Usain Bolt is not being used here as a realistic comparison but in his more common role as a lazy journalistic trope (albeit maybe in this case aided by rugby players, a group fully capable of a lot of lazy tropes…).

  19. warning: pesonal opinion on speed merchants in rugby.

    Yes when you have a two man overlap speed on the wings increases your opportunity to try conversion rate, but if your wingers are out and out speedsters they’re never going to be the best defensively. viz Elliot and the lions. (i still love him though)

    Counter intuitively the way to use speed on the wings is through the boot. Speed guy puts pressure on the fullback when in position. He spills it more. When out of position a kick with a fast runner getting there first can cause havoc.

  20. Rugby is far better tested than Athletics.

    1) the sport isn’t as corrupt. The IOC is corrupt from top to bottom, but some RUs are pretty clean.

    2) athletes can disappear for long periods to dope in peace, but rugby players can’t

    3) the sport is dispersed with players not just competing at one level. Top international athletes are screened from other trainers in particular.

    We’re already seeing Unions starting to drug screen at schoolboy level. They want to stop it, not just feel obliged to.

  21. If I remember correctly, Geoff Capes was the fastest member of the UK athletics team over 50m and was considered for indoor 60m events.

    Never happened though

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