Rugby: Speedster Eddie Osei-Nketia gets fleeting taste of sevens

New Zealand Rugby's talent scouts finally have their hands on teen sprint sensation Eddie Osei-Nketia.

The national 100 metres champion sees a future in sevens, once his track career is over.

You don't often see him with ball in hand, but his physical talent is so special, NZR is courting him anyway.

"He's 99 percent fast-twitch muscle fibre," marvels sevens talent identification manager PJ Williams.

"I've never seen an athlete [like that] walk through our doors in rugby, ever. We never probably will see one again."

They've invited the 18-year-old, who runs 10.1s over 100m and no longer plays schoolboy rugby, to this week's sevens combine in Auckland.

He clocked 36kph in testing - faster than any current All Black - but NZR knows it must wait indefinitely for his services.

"I'm trying to learn more as I go as a sprinter," he told Newshub. "Trying to learn the game, learn the people and learn everything that is rugby, so that one day, I can make a switch and be on top of the game."

Osei-Nketia's focus is qualifying for next year's Olympics and eventually 100m gold.

Eddie Osei-Nketia wins the NZ 100m title
Eddie Osei-Nketia wins the NZ 100m title. Photo credit: Photosport

This week was about building the relationship. He's an example of rugby's realisation that it can't only look within its dwindling numbers for its next star.

"We would love to have really close relationships with all our other sports, and if they don't quite make it or if they finish a sport, to have a transfer programme to come into ours," says Williams. "We think sevens can do that.

Strangely for the 1.90m/98kg speedster, endurance would be the thing that sets him apart in sevens.

That's why Americans Carlin Isles and Perry Baker have switched so effectively from athletics.

"He's on the wing, he's got 80 to go," says Williams. "Other guys will slow down and his max speed is able to be maintained for longer."

So continuing athletics training will make him more useful, when and if he does switch. Still,l there are no guarantees.

Osei-Nketia's always in a hurry, but rugby must now wait for him to arrive.