Quadzilla: is Trae Williams Australia Sevens’ answer to Perry Baker and Carlin Isles?

By Alex Dudley

The fastest man in Australia could soon be frightening the life out of countries around the world; but this time on a rugby field instead of the athletics track.

It has been announced that Trae Williams – nicknamed “Quadzilla” because of the power of his thighs –  has retired from athletics with immediate effect to concentrate on a career in rugby sevens. Will he Australia’s answer to US speedsters Carlin Isles and Perry Baker?

Upon announcing his decision, Williams, who runs a 10.1-second 100 metres, spoke to ABC. He said: “I’m really excited about this new adventure with the Aussie sevens.

“I’ve always loved rugby and to be able to potentially chase an Olympic dream through rugby is something I never expected. I wanted to grab this opportunity with both hands.”

Australian sevens coach Tim Walsh was thrilled at the prospect of linking up with Williams. In a statement, he said: “We’ve identified that a key area we need to improve on is adding more speed to our squad and Trae is the combination of speed and physical ability.

“Physically he is in excellent condition to convert into sevens and what he will potentially offer us in terms of speed out wide will add to what we offer on the world stage.”

The USA Sevens has emerged as a world force, largely because of the speed afforded by Baker and Isles. With a strong core of players, the US are able to keep the ball and send it out to their fast men out wide and at speed, almost always resulting in tries.

The 22-year-old Williams has enjoyed a stellar career on the track which included a fourth-place finish in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and recording the fastest time over 100 metres by an Australian for 11 years.

However, his decision to turn his back on the sport wasn’t taken lightly, but in the end, his decision to sign a deal with Rugby Australia until 2021 will be greeted by excitement from Aussie fans.

It has been a difficult season for Australia in the HSBC World Series; as they currently sit in seventh place in the rankings and are desperately in need on a spark to realise their Olympic dreams. Williams could be that X-factor which is needed to get the country to next summer’s Japanese games.

The CEO of Athletics Australia, Darren Gocher, was clearly disappointed at losing the sprinter. Speaking to governing bodies official website, he said: “It’s a shame that we have lost Trae from athletics.

“We wish him all the very best in the next steps of his sporting career and thank him for the enormous contribution he has made to Australian Athletics.

“While we are saddened to lose him, it demonstrates the importance of athletics as a foundation sport, to the broader Australian sporting landscape,” he said.

Williams will at the London Sevens to support his new teammates as they take on Wales, Spain and USA in Pool D.

Main photo credit: Facebook/YouTube

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