Arkansas State’s roster for 7s Nationals read like a litany of All Americans – Shaun Potgieter, Dean Gericke, Zac Mizell, Pat Sullivan and Steyn Benade have all been named to a USA Rugby All American list of some sort. But it's a guy no one had heard of coming into Nationals who is our player of the week – Zinzan Elan-Puttick.
Elan-Puttick, born and raised in South Africa, where he went to school with former Arkansas State All Americans Danie Swanepoel and Nardus Wessels, moved to Dalhart, Texas, a tiny town outside of Amarillo, at the age of 16. He played football in high school (rugby wasn’t available) and took a scholarship at West Texas A&M, but left after his freshman year to play rugby at Arkansas State.
He shined last weekend, giving the Red Wolves another guy who could break lines on his own and finish off opportunities set up by others. In the final against Life, he broke pattern to score the try that put the game away. He scored five tries on the weekend, tying Gericke and Dylan Carrion for a team high.
"I think he probably could have very well been the best player for this tournament. He tackled like an absolute machine," said ASU coach Alex Houser of Elan-Puttick. "Super fit, played probably the most minutes of anybody. Then, obviously, his kickoffs were awesome, and he did well with his conversions, too."