Carlin Isles takes scoring prize in HSBC World Sevens Series awards

By Machuki Sundaa

USA Sevens star speedsters Carlin Isles was the main winner during the post-HSBC World Sevens Series Awards after scoring 52 tries over 10 tournaments in the 2018/19 season.

Not only was it one of the most competitive seasons yet but also served as a route for qualification to the Olympics with the top four teams earning places at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

four spots reserved for the top teams in the series said World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.

“This has been the biggest and best season on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series yet,” World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said on the body’s official website.

“Every player involved in the HSBC Rugby Sevens Series is a tremendous athlete, world-class performer and an incredible ambassador for the sport and we can’t thank you enough for the commitment and passion that you demonstrate all season-round. You are brilliant role models and play a monumental part in the success and growth that we have seen in rugby sevens over the years.

“The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Awards are an opportunity for us to celebrate the very best in the field, and with four different round winners and top four teams being the first to book their spots at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, there’s a lot to commend as another season draws to a close.”

Isles was given the Gilbert Top Try Scorer award for the second season in a row as he helped USA to second place in the final standings behind Fiji.

“I am very grateful for this. I thank my teammates and to do it back-to-back is amazing,” said Isles. “I train hard and work hard too, and I am ready for any moment so for me it was great to get this.”

DHL impact player and Rookie of the Year went to Fiji’s Vilimoni Botitu and Meli Derenalagi, respectively. Botitu racked up 356 points with 124 tackles, 24 breaks, 49 offloads and 159 carries.

Botitu said to World Rugby: “It’s always my friends and family back home that helps me to play well on and off the field. I am very humbled to win this.

“It means a lot for me and the work we did in training. I want to thank my teammates for helping me to win this and the motivation they give me. It’s my first series so I am really happy to win this.”

USA’s Danny Barrett won the UL Mark of Excellence award for his display of athleticism in their match against New Zealand in Cape Town sevens.

World Rugby quoted Barrett as saying: “I am definitely very aggressive with my style of play, I grew up with brothers so being the runt of the litter you kind of have to fight for scraps. My style of play brings a different element to the game, so it is great to be able to play like that.

“It was pretty awesome for me as I still watch SportsCenter (ESPN) every night, so to have my moment on there was pretty awesome. I always dreamed to be on that show and have something that I have done be recognised on there.”

Mike Friday who led the USA to second place took Cap Gemini coach of the season, saying: “It’s very humbling but it’s a real team effort. I am just the person at the front. The team behind the team is key.

“Our goal was Olympic qualification, breaking the stranglehold of traditional superpowers. We were aiming at that. We were in it until last but one game. Fiji earned that win and we can grow again so there is plenty more to come from us.”

The Fair play award went to France and the TAG Heuer don’t crack under pressure award to Pol Pla and Spain for their win against New Zealand in Vancouver.

Seven players were recognized for their performance and named in the HSBC Dream team, Ben Pinkelman, Stephen Tomasin, Meli Derenalagi, Aminiasi Tuimaba, Jerry Tuwai, Folau Niua and Vilimoni Botitu.

Main photo: World rugby

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