USA 7s team wing Carlin Isles is getting some notice as he prepares to play in his second World Series tournament.
The former track star impressed at the Goal Coast 7s, and while he is celebrating his birthday this week (the team nutritionists have OK'd a birthday cake), he is also clear that there's a target on him now.
“It was great to score that try and get that recognition and I hope to do that throughout my career,” said Isles, who saw one of his tries make the seven best from Gold Coast. “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.”
Isles is still getting used to the differences between rugby and football. Not all of the adjustment is hard.
“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, who was in the US Olympic track program. His speed in the 100 meters would have been good enough to make the semifinals of the 2012 Olympics, but he wasn't nearly fast enough to make the USA team, and decided to look elsewhere. “I wanted to be successful and I’m grateful it is working out, because I sacrificed a lot. 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."
The word on Isles is not that he's just fast - as mentioned on RUGBYMag several times, he has shown some field awareness and intelligence as a rugby player, as well.
“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," said Isles. “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.”