ADVERTISEMENT

England's Carlin Isles-esque viral sensation reveals why he's off to the NFL

BY Stephen Brunsdon  ·  Tuesday Jul 21, 2020

There are always cases of “what could have been” with players, who perhaps didn’t reach the heights they were tipped to achieve or indeed opt to go a different path. Tyrese Johnson-Fisher is one of those figures.

ADVERTISEMENT

Johnson-Fisher first appeared on the scene thanks to a school rugby performance which caught the eye of England Rugby, which turned into a viral social media video.

Big things were expected of the then 15-year-old who was part of the Leicester Tigers Academy and subsequently part of the Bristol Bears squad last season.

A viral video aside, Johnson-Fisher was more of a sprinter with a passion for athletics before grabbing the attentions of several NFL sides in America.

Rugby was just one sport among many, as the now 20-year-old explained in a fascinating interview with the BBC.

“Rugby was not a sport that I was exposed to as young as many of my team-mates, perhaps I did not love it as much as they did. I was always really an athlete who was playing rugby.”

“My pass – short, medium and long – the timing of a pass, my hand-off, my high balls, my kicking, my game understanding, I only really ever understood football and athletics, not rugby.”

It’s a frustrating case of missed opportunity for the RFU, who with Johnson-Fisher, may well have boosted their own player pool with someone as naturally talented as him, as well as utilise the popularity of the viral video to build greater grassroots appeal of the game at a junior level.

But as Johnson-Fisher adds to the BBC, the stardom was somewhat imposed on him:

“Someone had sent me a message saying, have you seen this?” Johnson-Fisher said.

“For the next 30 minutes my whole Facebook timeline was blowing up with people from all different walks of life, saying ‘congratulations’ and I was still confused.

“I remember opening inboxes and I would get a lot of really nice messages, but I would also have people telling me that I would never be good enough, that I was only this and only that and it really did affect my mental health.”

It is clear in what Johnson-Fisher says that he was either not suited to rugby or simply wasn’t as passionate for the game as many of his contemporaries were. The raw skill and pace of the centre was evident, and his background and subsequent rise through the ranks was similar to USA’s Carlin Isles and Perry Baker – both of whom found professional careers in 7s after starting as sprinters.

Johnson-Fisher was quick to admit his overall game wasn’t perhaps as strong as the others, or Premiership material. But what if the RFU had used the USA’s model and progressed him through its successful 7s programme instead?

It does make you wonder.

Related Articles

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    Adam Radwan sets sights on Olympic honours...

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    Kyle Rowe’s remarkable journey from an...

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    Bath Rugby bolster squad with another young...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Bordeaux prop scores the ultimate front row try in the Top 14

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Northampton Saints youngster George Hendy seals the Premiership title

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Springbok centre tears it up in the Top 14 for a crucial hattrick

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    English winger leaves defenders in his dust for long range score in Top 14

  • 11 WEEKS AGO

    Five of the best tries from the Investec Champions Cup

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    England enforcer's tour could be over following red card vs Japan

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Pitch invader melted in thunderous tackle

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bath's Beno Obano shown red in the Premiership final

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    World Player of the Year BANNED heading into Paris Olympics following horror challenge during Madrid SVNS

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Debate surrounding ludicrous rugby league tackle leaves union fans baffled

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Highlights: Barbarians and Fiji display the exact nature of what rugby should be

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Japanese lock pulls off moment of brilliance to create first try against England

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Pitch invader melted in thunderous tackle

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Leinster prospect pulls off outlandish footballing skills in URC quarterfinal

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    Danny care binned for high tackle on Courtney Lawes

View All

Funnies

  • 5 HOURS AGO

    Rugby brotherhood on full display between three South African Rugby legends

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Former French star's 'tackle of the season attempt' goes viral

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Hilarious interaction between Simon Zebo and journalist

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Nick David unexpectedly shows up to semi final in full kit

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: The worst camera angle in rugby history

View All

Amateur

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    You Won’t See Many Better Than This Silky-Smooth Try From Llandovery RFC

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes As Caldy RFC Hand Ealing First Championship Defeat Of The Season

  • 99 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 99 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 100 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

View All

Player Features

  • 5 HOURS AGO

    'The nicest man in rugby' to exit Bath Rugby

  • 7 HOURS AGO

    Virimi Vakatawa to exit Bristol

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Ardie Savea scores a brace as local club benefits from world class talent

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Toulon bizarrely omit Kyle Sinkler's Bristol clips in signing video

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    The three standout players that drove England’s victory over Japan

View All