CAPE TOWN – There's just no substitute for pace.
One of the most beautiful sights on a rugby field is seeing a flyer hit full speed. There’s few things between the four white lines that beats that. Unless a sprint down touch or up the middle ends in a touchdown beyond the try line. That’s about as good as it gets.
When it comes to Sevens, you don’t have to sit through too many matches to be treated to such poetry in motion. And there’s no shortage of players who can offer it. This past weekend again showed just that.
The USA’s Perry Baker’s class showing which resulted in a try against Fiji was just that - class.
The way Rosko Specman ghosted Scotland to run in his try after announcing his presence in the form of two tries after coming off the bench the day before was fire.
The way Dan Norton scored his 300th try was superb. All of those were top moments. All of those moments involved raw pace.
🚀 Top 5 speeds | The Sevens Series is home to some of the fastest rugby players on the planet. Check out the top speeds tracked at this year's #Dubai7s— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) December 3, 2018
5️⃣ @speckmagic11 | @Blitzboks | 🔝 Speed 33 km/hr
Follow thread below pic.twitter.com/1TxdDHAsLD
And if there’s one thing South Africans can look forward to seeing during the Cape Town Sevens, it’s the Blitzboks’ Muller du Plessis putting those strides together.
If there’s one “newbie” who can turn on the gas, it’s Du Plessis, who will play in only his sixth tournament this weekend.
The former SA Schools player was the top try-scorer in Dubai at the weekend with seven five-pointersand finished one try ahead of World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Baker, Marcos Maroni (Argentina), Alamanda Matuga (Samoa) and John Porch (Australia).
The Blitzboks scored 19 tries in their six matches, and Du Plessis was the main contributor.
And while none of his tries was long-range or really did enough to show all of his pace, the Paarl Gimnasium product wants to do more for Neil Powell’s team in Cape Town this weekend.
“The experience of playing in Dubai was great. Every tournament I get to play in is a massive opportunity to grow and to learn, so it was good,” he said.
“I’d like to play a bigger role in our play this weekend if I do get the chance. I learnt a lot in Dubai and I enjoyed it a lot, so hopefully it adds to the positivity going into the Cape Town tournament.”
His hat-trick against Fiji was good. No doubt about that.
But if Du Plessis succeeds in playing that “bigger role” when South Africa try to shift into gear in Cape Town, we just might be treated to more hat-tricks and displays of pace at Cape Town Stadium.@WynonaLouw