Robinson: Sevens players are among world's fittest athletes
Former Rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson had nothing but praise for Fiji, whose sevens side won their record 17th Hong Kong crown after crushing South Africa 22-0 in Sunday's final.
"They're so good at passing the ball, from a pass off the ground to a flick pass," Robinson told The New Paper at an HSBC rugby clinic for young players at Yio Chu Kang Stadium yesterday.
"Everybody in world rugby watches Fiji and wishes they were as skilful as Fiji.
"If everybody had the secret to Fiji's success then we'd all be doing what they're doing."
The Englishman, who reached the Rugby League World Cup final in 1995 and won the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup, opined that stars from the 15-man game struggle in the sevens due to its gruelling fitness demands.
The 42-year-old said: "Some rugby union players, especially last year before the Olympics, tried to switch over to sevens.
"Guys like (dual-code international and Rugby World Cup winner) Sonny Bill Williams found it hard to cover all the space in sevens, and training and playing at high speed.
"Rugby union is a lot easier on the body. The sevens guys are some of the fittest rugby players and athletes in the world."
Robinson revealed that top teams such as Fiji and South Africa focus not only on physical recovery, but also mental recovery in between tournaments.
He said: "People don't realise players get a lot of bruising and yet they still have to keep going.
"I think it's important to not only be physically tough, but to also be mentally tough.
"It's a very short turnaround. They wouldn't want to waste energy on nervousness.
"Come game day, the body and mind need to be in top condition."
Robinson foresees a dynamic and extremely competitive Singapore Sevens this weekend.
He said: "Hong Kong has been there for years and has a lot of tradition, but to have sevens in Singapore is amazing.
"I'm sure that it will be extremely competitive.
"I think there has to be more young people in Singapore playing and understanding rugby.
"Hopefully, one day we'll see these kids play in the sevens."