USA 7s player Carlin Isles, regularly dubbed the fastest man in 7s rugby, played his first match of 15s Saturday, helping the San Diego Old Aztecs to defeat Back Bay 73-7.
”The way you use your body’s energy system in 15s is much different than in 7s, and I liked that I got to really demonstrate my speed when I played today,” said Isles. ”There was more recovery time between plays so I could explode when I got the ball, as opposed to having to sprint the entire game.”
Joining the Old Aztecs in the second half of their game, Isles, who can run 100 meters in 10.13 seconds, scored his first try off of a fast break in the 15th minute of the second half.
“It felt like there was a lot more contact today as well,” said Isles. ”That was a big change from 7s, but the adjustment wasn’t too bad because I like tackling and running into people.”
Back Bay, who played the game with a light bench, played with uncontested scrums against the Old Aztecs, who were launching powerful attacks off their scrums, with strong work by No. 8 Chase Burge.
The Aztecs established a strong lead in the first half, running up the in initial score with five consecutive tries. The first try of the game was scored in the third minute by fullback Jerry Fillman, followed by Burge, and then Fillman again midway through the half. Hooker Daylon Teel and lock Ron-Paul Dunnum of the Old Aztecs both scored before Back Bay was able to put points on the board with a try by flanker Kevin Estipular. The half closed with a scoreline of 29-7.
“Every fifty-fifty ball is an Aztec ball,” said assistant coach Greg Chronopolis during the team huddle. “That’s the aggression you guys have to play with!”
The Old Aztecs increased the margin of their lead in the second half, and the offensive backs were able to score most of their tries off of breakaways. Old Aztecs lock Bill Dow set the pace of the half, scoring in the first minute. Isles then suited up for the Aztecs and scored in the fifteenth minute, followed by the Old Aztecs other wing, Micah Kropp.
“Scoring breakaways has a lot to do with getting set up well by my teammates. We’ve been playing together for a long time so I’m used to running off of [assists from] Jarrod and Jaco. They’re great at getting me into space and then setting me up to succeed,” said Kropp.
“ At that point I just try to look for one on one match ups and try to catch the defense leaning a certain way. Then I can [fake them out] and then run in the other direction.”
Burge scored again midway through the half, followed by flyhalf and Head Coach Jarrod Faul. In the final ten minutes of the game, Kropp, Fillman, and scrumhalf Jaco Breytenbach drove up the final score, 73-7.
“We’ve been putting a lot of work into our fitness and that definitely pays off. We trained really well this week, and I think that’s what you’re seeing out on the field today,” said Faul.
Isles, who recently moved to San Diego to play at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, expressed that he would be interested in playing more 15s with the Old Aztecs in the future. However, when the Old Aztecs play Back Bay again next week, Isles will be in Hong Kong next leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Even so, expect to see him play some more 15s.
“I had a really good time today, and when I’m back in San Diego, I would love to play for the Old Aztecs again,” said Isles.