Rugby's fastest player hungry for Dubai tries
Carlin Isles is hoping to pick up where he left off on the Gold Coast when he travels to Dubai as part of Alex Magleby's 12-man USA Sevens squad to compete at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.
The former sprinter, with a personal best over 100m of 10.13 seconds, has already made a name for himself as the fastest player on the Sevens circuit and scored one of the tries of the tournament on debut in Australia.
Magleby has now given him a further chance to continue his four-month rugby education, including alongside stalwarts Matt Hawkins, Colin Hawley, Shalom Suniula, and Zack Test and other fresh talent, Mike Te’o and Brett Thompson, for the second and third rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
“It was great to score that try and get that recognition and I hope to do that throughout my career,” said Isles, who celebrates his 23rd birthday this week.
“I see it as a blessing every time I represent my country and I enjoyed my debut a lot. I had so much fun and now I’m looking forward to Dubai.
“I’ve heard a lot about the tournament and I’ve heard it’s a beautiful place. I’m excited about going there and seeing what I can do.”
Such is the general pace of the Sevens game, it is rare for players to stand out, but Isles’ tries against Tonga and New Zealand showed to the rest of the Sevens world that he will exploit any space afforded him.
Sacrificing a career in track athletics
“When I see all the room on the pitch, it’s like Christmas to me. When we train, the width of the pitch is a little shorter, so I was like, ‘I can run all day around these guys’,” said Isles, whose best 100m time would have seen him qualify for the semi-finals at the Olympics in London this year.
“I wanted to be successful and I’m grateful it is working out, because I sacrificed a lot,” he admitted. “I had a track career and now I am playing rugby and for that I am very thankful.
“I learn fast and I work hard and adapting from track to a team sport was an easy thing for me.
“Tracking is just all about you and doing your thing, but I’m a team player and I know that with my gift I can contribute a lot.
“I found the speed of the game a little frustrating at first. There are a lot of things that you have to remember to do. It’s the little things and if you don’t do them right, you will have a problem. Rugby is very tough mentally as well as physically.
“I am finding it OK though. Of course, everybody needs to work on their game no matter how long they have been doing it, but I’m excited about what the future can bring.”
USA Sevens squad: Nate Augspurger, Nick Edwards, Jack Halalilo, Matthew Hawkins, Colin Hawley, Carlin Isles, Folau Niua, Shalom Suniula, Mike Te’o, Zack Test, Brett Thompson
Tickets to this year’s Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens are available now online through www.dubairugby7s.com and from selected Costa and MMI outlets, Virgin Megastores, Emirates Group Headquarters, dnata offices and at 7he Sevens.