Sun shining on rugby convert Tyrie Allen
Tyrie Allen is among a strong contingent proving that the World Tens Series has not only given players from both the 15 and seven-a-side codes of rugby a platform to shine but those from American football as well.
The inaugural World Tens Series, which has been hosted on island for the past two weeks and concludes tomorrow, comprises seven privately owned teams from around the globe, featuring world-class players combining the tactics of rugby 15s with the skills of sevens.
While stellar names from both codes such as Dan Norton, Ben Foden, Tom Mitchell, Rich de Carpentier, Collins Injera, Willy Ambaka, D.T.H. van der Merwe and Api Naikatini, have already shone, there are a host of former American football players also attempting to make their mark.
Among those is Allen, who came through the IMG Tiger Rugby Combine Series, set up to identify talent not yet recognised in United States and hand them a fast track pathway on to the world stage with professional rugby contracts.
As a result, Allen, a former running back at Nicholls State University was identified and earned a place among the Miami Sun roster, going on to play his part throughout the World Tens Series League.
“It has been a great transition over for me,” said Allen, who believes his transferable skill set has made the transition simple. “I used to be a running back, receiver and quarterback which transfers to rugby really well because you have that running option. I also played safety which also transfers over well to rugby.
“I think it’s a great transition for the American football guys because we’re usually big guys but we can also move quickly so we can be quite dangerous in tens.
“The biggest difference is probably the pace of the game. I feel with rugby you have to be a bit fitter because the game is continuously moving, there’s a lot less stoppages like in the American football.
“The transitions are also a lot quicker, if there’s a turnover in possession the game restarts immediately, it’s constant in rugby.”
The tournament also includes a number of players from the burgeoning Major League Rugby, a professional league and the highest level of rugby competition in North America.
Reflecting on the emergence of the MLR, Allen is confident rugby in the region will only continue to further establish itself, with it already being one of the fastest growing sports throughout the United States.
“I believe rugby in America is going to be huge,” he added. “Having an established league such as the MLR creates an
outlet for guys like me who have played American football and want to play a different sport with transferable skills.
“It’s a huge opportunity for America and I’m sure it will continue to grow with more people playing it across the country.
“We started our own rugby club in Florida, the South Florida Rugby Club and so there are groups trying to encourage guys into rugby and help grow the sport further.”