Dubai Sevens: Carlin Isles ready to take on sprint star known as 'Quadzilla'
American set for battle against Trae Williams, who has just switched to rugby after recording the fourth quickest 100m time recorded by an Australian earlier this year
The fastest man in rugby, Carlin Isles, is confident he can stay ahead of the competition, even after the arrival of the Australian sprint star known as “Quadzilla” on the World Sevens Series.
Trae Williams will make his sevens debut for Australia at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, having converted from athletics earlier this year.
As a 100m sprinter, he clocked a personal best of 10.10 seconds last year, which was the fourth best recorded by an Australian in history.
But the 21-year old opted to switch to rugby, after being invited to train with the Australian sevens side by coach Tim Walsh at the start of this year.
It is a similar path to that previously trodden, with great success, by Isles for the United States.
Isles was the leading try-scorer on the world series as USA were runners up to New Zealand last season.
Unlike Williams, who had played rugby – or, specifically rugby league – while growing up, Isles was entirely new to the sport when he started out in 2012.
He has since become a key member of a USA side that has reached unprecedented heights in the recent past.
Last season, they finished ahead of rugby super powers New Zealand, South Africa and England in the world series.
The two players will come into direct competition at 6.12pm on Pitch One on Friday, when USA and Australia meet in the final match of their pool.
Isles is looking forward to the contest, and he hopes the Australian newcomer will be a success in sevens.
“I know about him, and he is a speedy guy, but I know that I am faster than him,” Isles said. “I hope he plays well. It would be good to get another sprinter out here to see how he does.
“He is kind of short, so I think he might be kind of shifty. I think he will do well.”
Williams, who has been described back home as having “the biggest legs in sport” and earned the nickname Quadzilla as a result, says he sees Isles as a role model.
“He is a really great player, one of the leading try scorers at the moment,” Williams said. “He has an athletics background as well, so we are similar in that category. I will try to work off what he did as well, but try to bring my own skills.”
While Williams is exclusively focused on reaching a good enough standard to vie for a place in Australia’s squad for the Olympics next year, Isles has dual ambitions for the year ahead.
He is attempting to hoping to compete for the United States on the track in Tokyo, as well as becoming a sevens Olympian for a second time, having played when the sport debuted in Rio in 2016.
“At the beginning, it was track and field for me, I never thought about rugby, ever,” Isles, 30, said. “I am trying to do two in 2020. Coach [Mike Friday] is going to let me do both. We have qualified for rugby, and I want to try and do track and field, too.
“I keep up the training. If I don’t, I will lose it [his track speed]. If you come from a track and field background and move to rugby, you will lose a lot of it.
“I always try to maintain it because it is something that I love. I love being fast, I love working on different aspects of my game. "When it comes to running fast, there is a lot to it. That is what allows me to be special, and I have to work at it."
Updated: December 4, 2019 02:10 PM