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Athletics | SA Track & Field

Meghan Phillips © SuperSport.com

Phillips now set on scoring tries

Meghan Phillips who helped Tuks retain the Varsity Athletics-title through her speedy exploits has set herself now the challenge to try and help the Delta Drone TuksWomensRugby7's retain the Stanislas 7’s title in France.

It is a big challenge especially considering that Phillips has not yet played one sevens rugby game. Up to now she only attended eight-team practise sessions.

Still, Riaan van der Merwe (sevens head coach) can’t help but be excited about his latest convert’s abilities.

“Meghan has got speed and big match temperament, and that is two of the most important qualities to be successful in any sport. I think she is going to score a lot of tries.”

Van der Merwe’s confidence sprouts from what Philippa van der Merwe achieved last year while touring with the Delta Drone Tuks WomensRugby7's in France. The former sprinter scored six tries. What made it remarkable was that she also had played no rugby game until she arrived in France. She only trained twice with the team before going on tour.

Van der Merwe joked and said taking that performance into account; it could mean that Phillips possibly can score 12 tries because she has attended eight training sessions.

Phillips does not want to go on record making bold statements about her scoring try after try.

“I will be honest about being slightly nervous especially considering that I have never played a rugby game but at the same time getting the opportunity to play in France is exciting. The only thing I can promise is that I will give it my best. Hopefully, I won’t disappoint my teammates,” said the engineering student.

The reason why Phillips switched sporting codes is that she is always up to try something new. She admits that the prospect of being tackled does not bother her, but she still got to get her mind around to getting used to the idea of tackling other players.

“Running with the ball and getting tackled is all about adrenaline. Going for a tackle is a conscious decision. I will admit so far during our training sessions I have tried avoiding it.”

Phillips was the captain of the Tuks Varsity Athletics team. She and her 4x100m-relay teammates - Valeska Nel, Ria Moloi and Taylon Bieldt – was instrumental in ensuring that Tuks won overall. If it was not for them winning the relay at both meetings Tuks might not have retained the title.

Two weeks ago at the USSA Championships in Sasolburg, the relay team set a new meeting record running 45.39s.

For now, Phillips is set on playing rugby, but she hopes to next year to compete in athletics as well.

Delta Drone TuksWomensRugby7's will be playing the Stanislas 7’s (19-20 May) and the Centrale 7’s (22-23 May) in France before going on to play the Benidorm 7’s (26-27 May) in Spain.

Only five of the players who represented Tuks last year is again in the touring squad. However, Van der Merwe is quietly confident that the team will give a good account of themselves.

“I am impressed with how quickly the latest recruits mastered the finer intricacies of the game.”


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