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Thursday Jul 18, 2013

The Fastest Man In Rugby: Carlin Isles short documentary

The Fastest Man In Rugby: Carlin Isles short documentary

A lot has already been said about USA Sevens speedstar Carlin Isles, but thanks to an excellent new short feature by Grantland, we get to learn a bit more about the former track athlete, including a first hand account of his humble upbringing.

Rio 2016 isn’t too far off and Olympic hopeful Isles still has his eyes firmly on the prize, despite having had to change the path some time back. After realising that to be the very best of the best in US sprinting was a mammoth challenge, Isles looked at his options.

“As I got closer to almost Olympic trials, there was a point where I felt like if I didn’t go to the Olympics, then what? I was being real with myself,” Isles said.

What happened next and how he came into rugby is quite a well known story, and since then he has enjoyed time on the IRB Sevens World Series circuit, learning and developing in the process.

He has been thrown in at the deep end however, and as USA Sevens captain Matt Hawkins explained, it’s not the ideal way to learn all the ins and outs of rugby.

“If we get guys like Carlin that can absolutely torch people on the field, we’d be stupid not to invite them into our family,” said Hawkins, who believes that some grassroots, lower grade rugby may well help to develop Isles’ overall game better.

“Carlin is trying to develop on the national team, and for a guy like him, that really doesn’t make sense. He’s not going to get the basics he really needs to learn and grow.

“I’ve seen the guys from football come and go. I’ve seen six or seven guys. They’ve got great talent, and rugby requires athletic talent. But it also requires intellectual talent. If I tell you tomorrow you’re going to speak Spanish, you can’t do that,” Hawkins added.

For now, it’s an uplifting story and an exciting one for US rugby fans, who take great pride in the plaudits Isles has garnered. Fans are realistic however, and while the emergence of a star is a wonderful thing, it’ll take time before he reaches his full potential as a well rounded player.

As can be seen in this great documentary short, he has the tenacity and raw talent to get there.

Time: 7:26
Credit: Grantlandnetwork


  • 11:42 PM 20/07/2013

    he is not a good rugby player... he it is only fast. If he would be in a 15 vs 15 match he would do nothing, he would not have so much space to run. Sorry if my english is not good im from Argentina.

  • facepalm
    6:27 PM 20/07/2013

    Phenomenal athlete (obviously) and an incredible advert for rugby in America but could I see him playing 15s? No. That said I heard somewhere Cuthburt only took up rugby at 17 and he's become a lion. So there's plenty of time for him to prove me wrong and I hope he does. Seems like such a great guy as well.

  • bennadore
    6:19 AM 20/07/2013

    Nice lad..

  • connachtfan
    12:57 PM 19/07/2013

    Nice lad, hope he progresses to Olympics!

  • 4lc4tr4z
    7:14 AM 19/07/2013

    Funny skill for VII. But could he stand tackles or find spaces in XV ? Toulon wanted to sign Carlin Isles as soon as this season, to learn the game alongside of Mitchell, Habana, David Smith or Palisson ; with a condition to loan him in second division for testing him at first. But that didn't make it.

  • bnations
    11:01 PM 18/07/2013

    Well, I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it an injustice, but it would probably suck. For the other teams ;-) Listen, in all forms of rugby, speed helps. A lot. Certainly in 15s, there's more place for technical skills and size to play a part; especially, as you move closer to the scrum. But speed still helps and can be the final criteria used to determine who makes the match day squad and who doesn't. Let us speak as men for moment and admit that there's no place for slow(er) guys in the 7s game. There just isn't. It was created especially for the speedy little ones to have a chance at the ball. So, "using fast players" is a feature, not a bug when filling the roster on a 7s squad. Any coach not accepting that will watch in despair as the tries rain down as their opponents "run sideways" for 14 minutes.

  • guy
    9:01 PM 18/07/2013

    Marketing potential? That depends on how you look at it. It would be wrong to give people the impression that you can be succesfull in rugby by just being fast. To some extend that works in 7s (lots of space) but basicly there is loads more to it.

  • welshosprey
    5:08 PM 18/07/2013

    It'd be a massive injustice to rugby if USA win the gold just by using fast players. From what I've seen, all Carlin does is run sideways

  • drg
    4:43 PM 18/07/2013

    Why what's Christmas got to do with anything?

  • guy
    4:26 PM 18/07/2013

    Great athlete! I wonder how he would do in 15's as a scrumhalf for example. Different ballgame, less space but he does seem to have the right attributes for it.

  • wow-jiffy-lube
    4:08 PM 18/07/2013

    The amount that this guy improves every time he steps on a pitch is phenomenal. He's learning every game and doesn't make the same mistake twice. A small guy but a remarkable athelete who's already a game-changer and just going to get better.

  • finedisregard
    3:37 PM 18/07/2013

    I'm warning you friends, there are a lot of very fast guys like this in the US that are doing nothing after they get out of college sports. Some of them weigh 250+. Not everyone can learn rugby but some of them will be able to. Elite athletes don't play rugby in the US. If they did, cancel Christmas!


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