Three years ago, in April 2016, Alyssa Conley ran the fastest time the 100 meters women’s final at the Athletics South Africa Senior Championships at Coetzenburg in Stellenbosch and became national sprint champion.

Last week Conley returned to the Winelands, facing another massive challenge that will test her endurance, will power and speed. This time around, she reported to the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport, home of the Springbok Women’s Sevens team, where she started a trial with the best women’s rugby players in the country.

The change of scenery was massive, the change of code even more so. For the first time – after 21 years of sprinting on tartan tracks around the globe, Conley was going to run towards opponents on grass, and not away from them.

But that competitive mindset that saw her sprinting at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 for Team South Africa in the 100 and 200 meter races, again came to the fore as she tried out rugby for the first time.

Here is the full story on how Conley is trying to make the cross-over to Rugby Sevens and to get to the 2020 Olympics in a team sport, watch here.


There is also an overview from SA Rugby’s Strength and Conditioning Manager: National Teams, Tim Qumbu, on how they plan to manage Conley’s crossover that, if successful, will probably draw more athletes from other codes into women’s rugby.