Colin Hawley: Inside USA Sevens: Carlin Isles, big cats and finally beating Canada

Colin Hawley: Inside USA Sevens: Carlin Isles, big cats and finally beating Canada

It would be almost impossible to start my first column for UR7s going 'Inside USA 7s' without talking about one of our newest members on the squad, Mr. Carlin Isles, who has been proclaimed as the fastest man in rugby. Carlin is a massive talent and will only get better as he gets more time playing on the circuit. I thought his play and rugby prowess has tremendously improved and I am looking forward to being a part of his future development. The only downside is that Carlin fancies himself as a good singer, which is, sad to say, pretty off the mark. I am hoping his singing improves along with his rugby skill! For the most part, we thought that the tour was an improvement for the squad and a step in the right direction for this mixture of players. The hard part is that we are building our new team culture and setting the new standard for American sevens players. With that being said, all the players have to abandon their previous habits and conceptions of the previous regimes and buy into what we are trying to accomplish today. A task harder said than done but worth the effort.

Colin Hawley has made a real impact on the World Series since rejoining the USA 7s side this season. He takes us 'Inside USA 7s' to give us a feel for what it's like being on the World Series and the sprinting/7s playing phenom Carlin Isles and his development

It would be almost impossible to start my first column for UR7s going 'Inside USA 7s' without talking about one of our newest members on the squad, Mr. Carlin Isles, who has been proclaimed as the fastest man in rugby. Carlin is a massive talent and will only get better as he gets more time playing on the circuit. I thought his play and rugby prowess has tremendously improved and I am looking forward to being a part of his future development. The only downside is that Carlin fancies himself as a good singer, which is, sad to say, pretty off the mark. I am hoping his singing improves along with his rugby skill!

For the most part, we thought that the tour was an improvement for the squad and a step in the right direction for this mixture of players. The hard part is that we are building our new team culture and setting the new standard for American sevens players. With that being said, all the players have to abandon their previous habits and conceptions of the previous regimes and buy into what we are trying to accomplish today. A task harder said than done but worth the effort.

While results in Gold Coast and Dubai did not go our way, there were certain matches that gave us confidence when heading to South Africa specifically the game against the Boks in Dubai. We were narrowly defeated in the Bowl 14.22. They flew out of the blocks with two scores but I grabbed a score back early in the 2nd half to make it 10.7 and we were right in the game. We couldn't quite hold on to the ball to get the next score and though Carlin grabbed a 2nd score for us it was too little too late Mbovane and Dipenaar sealed the game with well worked scores. Though the defeat left us deflated we were bouyed by the performance.

Results in South Africa took a marked improvement with us qualifying for the Cup Quarter-Finals. Though we dissapointed in our game against Portugal, finally defeating rivals Canada and closing out the Zimbabwe game saw where we wanted to be on Day Two. Consistency is what now must drive for and that will be at the top of our agenda as we plan and train for Wellington and our home tournament in Las Vegas over the coming 6 weeks.

As for the series, the new interpretation of the ruck support seemed to shake up the playing field quite a bit. The referees were informed to strictly enforce sealing at the ruck on both sides of the ball and had a visual cue of the infraction if the player’s shoulders and head were below the hips at the ruck. The breakdown was a bit chaotic at first but teams eventually adapted and led to the scrum half playing the ball quicker due to the sealer’s, now, weaker foundation. It certainly showed the officials and laws can have an immediate affect on the game with the smallest of changes!

For a bit of fun, some of the guys actually went cage shark diving. I wasn’t among the group that had went but Hawkins, Edwards, Test and a few others said it was an amazing experience and recommends trying it if ever given the opportunity. The rest of the squad went to Sea View Lion Reserve and experienced the big cats up-close and personal. Here is a link to the video from the trip.

Now everyone has dispersed and will enjoy the holidays with their friends and families in their respective cities, all the while maintaining a strict fitness and weight lifting regiment provided by the staff. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Years!