Isa Nacewa reveals Leinster's fastest player and no-one else in Ireland surely comes close
At his fastest, Usain Bolt averaged 10.44 metres per second for the 100 metres. A Leinster winger pushes that close.
Rugby players are rarely required to run 100 metres. If they're doing well on a carry they may scoot, or truck, it over 10 metres.
Out and out speedsters are not common in the modern, attritional game but you'll find the best of them in the back threes of most sides.
In a 2015 interview with Munster's Head of Fitness Aled Davis, he explained how the 40-metre dash provides keen competition within the squad. He told us:
"In the past, we may have considered speed over 40 metres an important metric but we would rarely set that up in training due to the [potential injury] risks involved... We now prioritise accelerations and deceleration over that straight, 40 metre burst.
"It would probably surprise you to see who our quickest players are, in those short bursts. There are a few backline players in the top five [for speed] but a couple of forwards. Whereas runners need steady speed over certain distances, rugby players focus on being efficient and effective over those first couple of strides."
Simon Zebo regularly tops the Munster speed charts but the emergence of Alex Wootton has provided him with some keen competition. Up at Ulster, Tommy Bowe recorded 9.7 metres per second in preseason [his fastest time logged in four years] but he still fell short of Jacob Stockdale [9.97 MPS]. Rory Scholes of Connacht once registered 10.0 MPS when he was with Ulster.
Those times are all fantastic but Leinster's Barry Daly has blown them all out of the water.
The 25-year-old winger has scored four tries in three games [one start, two sub appearances] this season, including a hat-trick in the away loss to Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. Leinster backs coach Girvan Dempsey has tipped Daly for success in the past and those comments were mirrored by captain Isa Nacewa.
Ahead of last season, Nacewa told us:
"Barry Daly has come in off the back of a successful UCD and Ulster Bank League campaign. He has come in, grabbed his opportunity and has run faster than every other back on the training field."
We knew he was fast from his Leinster outings but we did not know quite how fast he had clocked in the sprints.
Nacewa told SportsJOE Live, sponsored by Lottoland, that Daly was undoubtedly the fastest in the Leinster squad. He said:
"Barry Daly, hands down. When you run a 10.5, which is faster than all the others, yeah, he's hands down the fastest."
That's 10.5 MPS at his very top speed. Compare that to the fastest time Bolt ever ran at 100 metres and his average MPS was 10.44.
Bolt's top speed, in terms of MPS, was recorded at 12.27 MPS so Daly has a ways to go before we enter him into any Olympic trials. Still, it would not be a bad idea to get him an Irish singlet and a pair of spikes and see how he gets on at Santry.